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NBCUniversal’s Fandango buys Vudu from Walmart

With more Americans streaming more movies and shows than ever during the pandemic, the long-rumored sale has finally gone through.

NBCUniversal’s Fandango buys Vudu from Walmart
[Photo: Erik Mclean/Unsplash]
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With over 300 million Americans being urged to stay at home by their elected representatives, it’s no surprise that a recent study found that the average person is streaming eight hours of content a day.

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What also may not surprise anyone is that Fandango, the movie ticketing service owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, is making a bid to grab more streaming service market share by snapping up Vudu from its parent, Walmart. Although rumors have been swirling about this sale for months, the deal was finally announced today, albeit with undisclosed terms. A report from Variety noted that Vudu has “an installed base of more than 100 million devices in the U.S.” and that Walmart acquired Vudu in 2010 for a reported $100 million.

Although there’s a high demand for movies and TV series currently, Walmart’s more established Vudu has increasing competition from NBCU’s recently launched Peacock, Apple TV Plus, and Disney Plus. Walmart’s plan to position Vudu against Amazon Prime by offering original series juxtaposed with interactive purchasing options also hasn’t gained traction.

For its part, Fandango has its own streaming service, FandangoNow, which was capitalizing on films released direct to video rather than to movie theaters shuttered by the pandemic. Deadline reported that Trolls World Tour was the service’s most successful pre-order and rental, although the company didn’t provide figures.

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Vudu customers will still be able to use their Walmart logins to access purchases and rentals for the time being. However, a statement from Walmart about the sale noted that the company “will continue to invest in areas where we have the greatest strength and are in the best position to serve our customers today and in the future.”

A Walmart spokesperson suggested that pickup and delivery are where the company best brought “digital and physical capabilities together” for omni-retail experiences. It may not take long for Fandango to pick up the reins and transition Vudu’s back end to its own platform.

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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