Tech Crunch reports Vudu, a Walmart owned on-demand video operation has come to an agreement to be purchased by Fandango, a company that sells movie tickets online as well as renting and selling TV shows and movies. The agreement will eliminate one of the many on-demand movie distributors. It has not been mentioned whether the combined company will operate under the name Vudu or Fandango.
Walmart spokesmen said that Vudu customers will still be able to access their digital library and it has been reported that both Fandango and Vudu will continue as separate brands for at least the near future.
Vudu launched years ago as a concept for a set-top box that would deliver on-demand movies through its own service. This was before the boxes all had thousands of apps. The concept never took off leading the company to instead market Vudu as a stand-alone app on Roku and other set-top boxes. The company also later introduced a short-lived streaming stick with the same concept of being a Vudu player but the idea fizzled again.
Fandango came to on-demand video from a different direction after hitting the market in the early 2000s as a ticket buying service for movie theaters. It was one of the first options that allowed users to get tickets in a digital cue and claim them onsite. Later the company found its way into on-demand video and is featured prominently on Roku’s home screen showcasing both a Movie and TV Store.
The big question we have at the Streaming Advisor is will Vudu’s popular free ad-supported movie selection be brought over once the companies are officially combined and even more, will it all be folded into one operation or will say Fandango revert back to being a ticketing service and allow Vudu to be the video side of things? Walmart says it will continue to focus instead on its root business of retail and grocery sales which have come even more into focus during the current pandemic.
“We will continue to invest in areas where we have the greatest strength and are in the best position to serve our customers today and in the future,” a Walmart spokesperson noted in a statement, referencing the sale. “Pickup and delivery are great examples of how we’ve invested to bring digital and physical capabilities together to better serve our customers, by offering more choice and convenience. We’re focused on serving customers through these type of omni-retail experiences and we’re actively prioritizing our investments to maximize our strengths and serve them in new ways,”