NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, has agreed to acquire Vudo from Walmart. Confirmation of the sale was announced on Vudu’s website on Sunday night.
For those unfamiliar with Vudu, it is essentially Walmart’s version of Netflix. Walmart acquired the free streaming service way back in 2010. Though not as popular as Netflix, Vudu is reputable and offers a large lineup of programs. Currently, there are roughly ten-thousand free options available for streaming. Additionally, some 150,000 other titles are available for rent or purchase. Vudu fell short of initial expectations but was still rather successful. To date, the free-to-use service is installed on upwards of 100 million devices.
The move makes sense for Comcast and NBCUniversal. Streaming services have become the preferred means of entertainment for many in this day in age, and the field is very profitable. On top of that, NBCUniversal just launched an original streaming service, Peacock, earlier this month.
Acquiring Vudu Fuels Comcast’s Bigger Picture
Vudu will join Peacock under NBCUniversal’s Fandango division. You may remember Fandango from countless movie theater commercials. With over twenty years of experience, Fandango has diversified beyond its original service. While still providing ticket and theater information, Fandango began its on-demand network, FandangoNow, back in 2016. Likewise, Fandango oversees several media-based subsidiaries (Flixster, Movies.com, Rotten Tomatoes).
Though its obvious that Comcast and NBCUniversal are pushing in a digital-streaming direction, their grand plan is still hazy. Before the Vudu agreement, Comcast assumed the internet-based TV service Xumo back in February. With Vudu and Xumo now in play, Comcast is the parent company to many successful streaming outlets. One might expect that a few of the services might join forces. This, however, doesn’t seem to be the case.
Competition Or Partnership?
Through a blog post, Vudu stated that it would continue to operate independently. This is a bit puzzling when considering that it will be under the Fandango umbrella. For now, direct competition with FandangoNow doesn’t seem to be a concern.
Comcast’s vision will inevitably become more evident in the coming months.