Founded in 2004 and acquired by Walmart in 2010 for $100 million, Vudu offers about 10,000 movie and TV titles through a free streaming service. It also offers some 150,000 titles for rent or purchase, including new releases. While the retail giant did not quite attain ambitious initial goals for Vudu, it did manage to achieve considerable scale, with its app installed in some 100 million devices.
The news was confirmed Sunday night in a blog post on Vudu’s website. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Comcast and NBCU had been reported to be in talks earlier this year to acquire Vudu, a deal that gives the company another streaming outlet as it rolls out Peacock, which just went live last week for Comcast subscribers.
Fandango, which began in 2000 as a movie ticketing venture backed by several exhibition circuits, has evolved into a much broader consumer offering even as it continues to provide ticketing and movie information. It launched FandangoNow, a transactional VOD platform, in 2016 after acquiring streaming outlet M-GO.
The Vudu acquisition fits the larger direction of things at NBCU, especially with theatrical moviegoing sidelined by COVID-19. The entertainment division, working in tandem with Philadelphia-based colleagues in broadband and pay-TV distribution, recently has pivoted to streaming for major film releases including Trolls World Tour. After bypassing theaters, the animated sequel posted the best single-day and opening-weekend rental totals in company history.
Separately, Comcast in February bought Xumo, an ad-supported streaming service. Its strategy for orchestrating the overlapping efforts of Peacock, Fandango, Xumo and Vudu, is still coming into focus. One more organizational layer is Sky’s streaming expertise, which was a key motivation of Comcast’s $40 billion acquisition of the UK satellite operator in 2019.
In a post on its website, Vudu said it will continue to operate as a separate brand, coexisting with FandangoNow for the near term. “Our priority is to ensure that Vudu customers and partners are given the highest level of service during this time of transition,” the post said. “So, there will be no immediate changes to either service. In the months ahead, we will explore ways to bring great online entertainment experiences to our valued customers.”