August 5, 2021
NBCUniversal has merged its FandangoNOW on-demand movie and TV platform with Vudu, the video streaming service it purchased from Walmart last year. FandangoNOW customers will be able to transfer their accounts and collections to Vudu, which uses Roku Pay as its in-app payment system. In a revenue-sharing deal, the new Vudu-branded offering will serve as Roku’s official film and TV store. Fandango executives concluded that Vudu had a stronger brand and that the merger would help to “rapidly innovate and make bolder, faster enhancements to benefit consumers and partners.”
Variety reports that, “Fandango acquired digital-entertainment provider M-GO in 2016 from Technicolor and DreamWorks Animation, which it renamed FandangoNOW.” FandangoNOW “inherited M-GO’s deal with Roku to be the default movie and TV store on Roku’s platform, originally inked in 2013.”
Roku vice president of content partnerships Tedd Cittadine said the company is “thrilled to continue our long-standing partnership with Fandango.” The consolidated Vudu service has “more than 60 million registered users and offers more than 200,000 new-release and catalog titles to rent or buy,” including what Fandango says is “the largest collection of 4K Ultra HD titles” and thousands of free-with-ads titles.
The NPD Group said that Vudu is available in 75+ million U.S. TV-connected device households on platforms/devices including “Samsung, LG and Vizio smart TVs, the Roku platform, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and TiVo.”
The Verge reports that, as a result of the merger, “Vudu will now become the default portal for rentals and purchases on many Roku devices, where FandangoNOW has long been the digital store for movies and TV content.” Vudu will also “continue to support Movies Anywhere and the high-quality video streams that made Vudu popular among home theater enthusiasts.”
It adds that, “the switchover from FandangoNOW to Vudu on Roku home screens should happen automatically,” and the Vudu app icon will now list “Fandango” beneath it. Fandango’s digital network includes “Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, and Movieclips,” and the company claims that Movieclips is “the number one movie trailers channel on YouTube.”
Vudu was an early adopter of “high-bitrate streams combined with early and comprehensive support for Dolby Vision, Movies Anywhere, and unique programs like ‘disc to digital’.”