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Report: NBCU Could Acquire Vudu From Walmart in Attempt to Bolster Fandango

Jason Gurwin

NBCUniversal may be shopping for a companion to Fandango and Peacock. The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart, which owns Vudu, a service to purchase and rent movies and TV shows, is in talks with NBCUniversal, who is looking to acquire the service. NBCU, which owns movie ticketing site Fandango and Fandango NOW (which is similar to Vudu), could be looking to combine the services. In October, it was reported that Walmart had been looking to offload the on-demand video service.

According to the report, Vudu is “installed on more than 100 million devices”, while Fandango Media has “more than 30 online visitors.” Amazon Prime Video and iTunes are still the dominant players in video rentals and sales, but by combining Vudu and Fandango NOW, NBCU could see this as a way to reach a larger audience.

Walmart acquired Vudu in 2010 for $100 million, which recently added a free ad-supported content to their service. This could be used as a way to expand the content available on Peacock, NBCU’s streaming service that will soft-launch in April. Peacock, which will be free to Comcast and Charter customers (and $5 to everyone else), will also feature synthetic linear feeds similar to those on Pluto TV and XUMO.

Vudu, founded in 2004, has a catalog of more than 24,000 titles and over 8,000 television shows. It also has licensing deals with major studies, including MGM, Paramount, Lionsgate, Sony and WB, as well as Filmrise/Screen Media, Kino Lorber and Magnolia Pictures.