In brief: Walmart has agreed to sell its on-demand video streaming platform Vudu to NBCUniversal-owned movie ticketing company Fandango. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Rumors of Walmart shopping the service around date back to October of last year so it’s not entirely surprising to see a sale finally materialize.
In announcing the deal, Vudu said nothing about its experience will be immediately changing – movie and television libraries are safe and you’ll continue to have access to all of your Vudu apps across your preferred devices. In the months ahead, however, Fandango will explore the possibility of integrating Vudu with FandangoNow.
Walmart acquired Vudu in early 2010 for a reported $100 million, bolstering it over the years with the addition of TV shows and even its own branded streaming hardware. Walmart added thousands of free movies and television shows to the platform in 2016 but even still, the service never really seemed to garner the same level of traction as rivals like Netflix and Hulu.
For Fandango, the acquisition could really help right now considering movie theaters are by and large all shut down due to Covid-19 containment strategies. But even before today, the company has already taken steps to pivot, foregoing the theatrical launch of Trolls World Tour in favor of a streaming release.
That was a big success, as the company recently said the film was the most pre-ordered title in its history, the most rented digital title on opening day and the best-selling movie during its first three days of digital release.