Vudu is now in the process of being acquired by Fandango. It had been known that Walmart was likely to sell Vudu, which makes the buyer the more surprisingly part of the deal.
Almost exactly two months ago, a report came through suggesting Walmart might be selling Vudu to NBCUniversal. The two were said to be in advanced talks and it seemed like if the deal went through, it would mark a major move by NBCU, especially at a time when it is gearing up to release its new Peacock streaming service.
Technically, that has now happened, albeit not in the way many might have expected. It has now been confirmed that Vudu has been sold by Walmart to Fandango. While not the same actual buyer, Fandango and NBCUniversal are both owned by Comcast, and so in a roundabout way the same overall company now owns Vudu, even though the sale went to Fandango and not NBCU specifically.
Regardless, this still represents a major move, considering Fandango’s position in the digital movies and TV market, and it also likely ensures that Comcast further cements its place with another digital and streaming tentacle. Beyond the confirmation of the acquisition, no further details on the deal were provided.
What happens to Vudu now?
As to be expected, Vudu says nothing is going to change. Vudu explains that users don’t have to worry about the acquisition and that their “movie & TV library is safe.” In fact, the announcement suggests that Vudu users should actually be excited about the deal, thanks to the “new features, offerings, and other benefits” that will be coming to the service, through its new association with Fandango.
Irrespective of whether anything does change, it has become clear that there’s a taste for existing players in the digital video market to buy up existing services. For example the acquisition of Vudu by Fandango follows on from Fox buying Tubi and Comcast purchasing Xumo. Not to mention, all three of these deals come on the back of ViacomCBS picking up Pluto TV in early 2019.
While all of these services are different, the one aspect they all have in common is a position within the AVOD market. Over the last couple of years, the AVOD market has become a great opportunity for growth, thanks to its appeal of free to stream content.
Even though Vudu is primarily a digital rental and purchase store, for some time now it has been offering users the option to watch movies and episodes for free through the use of ads. That’s probably something users can expect Fandango to look to grow even more now that it has acquired Vudu.