US streamer Vudu – the AVOD and TVOD platform owned by retail giant Walmart – has been acquired by NBCUniversal’s cinema ticket purchasing service Fandango.
Vudu is currently accessible in over 100 million US homes with an app that has been downloaded more than 14 million times.
The service, which offers an AVOD component as well as allowing users to purchase and rent shows, had been in talks with NBCU for several months and yesterday Vudu confirmed that it had been acquired in a blog post. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
“While there will be many more exciting things to share in the months ahead, nothing about the Vudu experience is changing – your movie & TV library is safe, and you will continue to have access to all your Vudu apps across your favorite devices,” the post read.
“Vudu will continue to deliver an amazing experience, and we promise that the future will bring more new features, offerings, and other benefits as we join the Fandango family.”
While Vudu does have an AVOD aspect, this is not of interest to Fandango, which is looking to compete with the rental capabilities of iTunes and Amazon rather than streamers like Netflix and Tubi.
A spokesperson described the acquisition as “a combination of scale for our on-demand streaming service and the addition of Vudu talent.”
They added: “Vudu has a strong brand presence and customer base. So right now, we’re focusing on making sure that during this transition Vudu customers are taken care of and likewise on the FandangoNOW side. Both businesses will exist for the time being.”
The deal comes at a time when Hollywood studios are experimenting with renting out their latest big-budget releases in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down cinemas worldwide.
NBCU itself made the move to bring films such as The Invisible Man and The Hunt – which had their cinema runs cut short – to TVOD platforms, while it circumvented cinema distribution altogether for kids film Trolls World Tour.
Disney, meanwhile, has announced that Artemis Fowl, a film initially scheduled for a late-May cinematic release, will be available on its Disney+ streamer from 12 June.