BREAKING: Fandango is set to acquire Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which includes the professional movie critic rating tool the Tomatometer, from Warner Bros. Entertainment. The move solidifies the advance movie ticket vendor and movie news site as premier digital network for all things movies, providing consumers with showtimes, ticketing, reviews and movie/TV news. This is the perfect marriage of brands that complement one annother other with their services. At this point, no cuts in staff are expected.
Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes have a monthly unique visitor reach of 20M. With this acquisition, Fandango’s monthly audience reach swells to 63M. Warner Bros Entertainment in taking a minority stake in Fandango as part of the deal and will serve as an ongoing strategic partner. Fandango will continue to operate as a unit of NBCUniversal.
“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans, and we look forward to growing these successful properties, driving more theatrical ticketing and super-serving consumers with all their movie needs,” Fandango President Paul Yanover said in a statement. “Our new expanded network will offer unparalleled capabilities for all of our exhibition, studio and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience with innovative marketing and ticketing solutions that benefit from original content, home entertainment products, ‘super tickets,’ gifts with purchase and other new promotional opportunities.”
When it comes to measuring the overall critical response to a new movie, Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer aggregator is the industry standard. studio PR and marketing executives quite often will pull their hair out if a film’s Tomatometer score charts low as it typically impacts a film’s box office results, particularly on adult-skewing dramas and art house films.
Flixster is a leading website and mobile app for discovering movies, with more than 50M app installs. It provides consumers with movie information, audience and critic ratings as well as reviews, courtesy of the Tomatometer. Fandango reports that it will be extending its ticketing capabilities to the Flixster app in the coming months. Together, Flixster and Fandango’s mobile app downloads total more than 100M.
“Combining the expertise and assets of Fandango, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will create an incredible resource for consumers to fulfill all their moviegoing needs,” added Thomas Gewecke, Chief Digital Officer and EVP Strategy and Business Development at Warner Bros Entertainment. “Bringing these properties together into a single, integrated portfolio creates an opportunity to truly accelerate innovation in movie discovery and ticketing, making moviegoing an even more compelling experience.”
Flixster Video, the home entertainment and digital video redemption service, is not included in the transaction but is expected to transition its users to Fandango’s new VOD service later this year, and will sunset thereafter.
In January, Fandango acquired M-GO, a leading digital distributor of new release and catalog movies to a wide variety of connected, over-the-top and mobile devices including Android, iOS, Samsung, LG, Roku and others. With M-GO, Fandango plans to work with move theater chains and studios to build streamlined solutions for “super tickets” and other theatrical ticketing and home entertainment products. M-GO will be rebranded later this year and become part of Fandango’s digital network.
Last year was a banner year for Fandango, with 81% growth in U.S. ticketing and 1B visits to its website. Fandango Movieclips added 4M new subscribers to its network of nearly 13M and generated a total of 4.5B video views, a 54% annual increase.
Fandango also made its first move internationally into Latin America, acquiring Brazil’s largest online ticketer, Ingresso.com, in November. Brazil has a leading moviegoing population, accounting for 40% of Latin American box office in 2014, according to comScore.