Last year, movie ticketing and discovery business Fandango, a division of NBCUniversal, bought the on-demand video streaming service Vudu from Walmart, after the retailer had failed to capitalize on the service it had first acquired in 2010 for $100 million. Today, Fandango is taking the next steps with Vudu by merging the service with its existing streaming platform, FandangoNOW. The newly combined service will continue to use the name Vudu and will feature over 200,000 new release and catalog movies and TV shows to rent or buy without a subscription, as well as “thousands” of free-to-stream titles.
The company tells us it chose to stick with “Vudu” as its name because it’s already a popular brand with a loyal following and is significantly larger than the FandangoNOW service.
Despite the changes coming to the service, existing FandangoNOW customers won’t lose access to any of the content they already purchased. Both their movies and TV series will be automatically transferred over to the new Vudu service starting today.
Currently, Vudu’s on-demand library competes with Apple iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play/YouTube, as well as similar services from various telecos. In particular, these types of services appeal to those who want to watch new releases and have the option to own favorite movies and shows — rather than subscribe to services where such content comes and goes as licensing deals expire.
At launch, the newly merged Vudu will include new releases like “F9: The Fast Saga,” Pixar’s “Luca,” “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” “Peter Rabbit 2,” “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” “A Quiet Place Part II,” Disney’s “Cruella,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “In the Heights” and others. Next Tuesday, it will also gain access to Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” — the title that’s now the subject of a breach of contract lawsuit filed on behalf of actress Scarlett Johansson, who’s suing Disney for sending what was supposed to be a theatrical release directly to its streaming service Disney+ on opening day.
Many titles are available in 4K Ultra HD and support formats such as Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, the company notes.
Vudu already has a large, built-in audience for its movie and TV marketplace. Fandango claims the service has over 60 million registered users and reaches “millions” on a daily basis.
By way of its expansive platform support, it’s capable of reaching over 75 million U.S. TV-connected device households, per NPD Group data. This includes Vudu’s support for Samsung, LG and Vizio smart TVs; the Roku platform, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, PlayStation, Xbox, Tivo and others.
Following the merger and rebranding, the new Vudu service will also take FandangoNOW’s place as the official movie store on the Roku platform, where consumers can rent or purchase using Roku Pay.
Vudu joins Fandango’s existing digital network, which will continue to include Fandango’s movie ticketing business, MovieTickets.com, Flixster, Movieclips and Rotten Tomatoes. While the merger of the two services at least clears up some overlap within the Fandango division, NBCU parent company Comcast continues to have its own overlap issues when it comes to streaming. Comcast acquired ad-supported streaming service Xumo in February 2020 and, via NBCU, runs the year-old streaming service Peacock. As of yet, it hasn’t made any moves to centralize those efforts.