Today’s news is that Fandango has bought Vudu. It has been expected that someone would be buying VUDU for a while now. In fact who would buy Vudu been a discussion for about a year now.
Multiple companies have openly talked with Vudu about buying the service after Walmart lost interest because it would take to much money and effort to compete with Prime Video. They tested free video to see how it would do, with some exclusives made for them, which they also made free. Walmart decided that the cost would be high and effort higher and now Walmart wants to focus on it’s core business and is selling Vudu to Fandango.
So how did Walmart end up owning Vudu in the first place if they never took it seriously in their minds. It in 2019 was a company worth over $100,000,000 and profitable but to Walmart this would qualify as a small side business.
Walmart bought a hardware set top box called Vudu that was $399 retail before roku was heard of by anyone. It only did PPV and movie purchases, no apps at all, and unbelievably allowed you to stream movies and shows with no disc (it has been pointed out by a multiple people that at this time 2007, it was a download then play format rather than streaming). This was almost unheard of outside of cable on demand.
It was almost unheard of at the time to stream anything or have any “real” content available online paid or free (this was before netflix was promoting it had streaming, and Youtube was very new) and with the $400 entry for a box and $20 per movie (or $6 per rental) back when you still had Blockbuster for $3.99 and Redbox had just shown up with $1 movies it barely moved many units but was profitable and Walmart bought it just because they sold TV’s and it had super high margins per movie rental.
Likely Walmart figured they could compete with Safeway’s/Von’s video rental store within a store if they needed too quickly and cheaply with this new service called Vudu. Then once Roku became popular they had Vudu simply make apps for other hardware and shut down the Vudu hardware except for a $25 streaming stick with only Vudu on it which was actually almost always free at walmart with a tv or after credits.
Walmart never cared that much about Vudu, they even offered Redbox in store rather than doing it themselves and branding it Vudu for the promotion and additional leverage in obtaining the best content for Vudu at the best price.
Now Fandango owns it and the future is currently still the same for Vudu. Today Fandango announced they have no changes currently in store for Vudu customers or Fandango app customers either. So only time will tell what will become of Fandango’s Vudu app.
Update: it has now been 24 hours and we are getting word that Fandango is considering very very slowly moving it’s Fandango customers over to the better branded in their mind Vudu (and much larger user base), and eventually only have Fandango do theater ticket sales and promotions again.