Fandango Acquires Flixster, UltraViolet Platform Not Included17 Feb, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Movie ticket service Fandango acquired Flixster.com and ratings service Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango, which is owned by Comcast, bought Warner Bros.-owned Flixster in an undisclosed equity deal that makes the studio a minority owner of the ticket service.
Flixster Video, the home entertainment and UltraViolet redemption service, is not included in the transaction, but will transition over time registered users to Fandango’s new video on-demand service bowing later this year.
“No one will lose access to their content. Details not finalized, but no one will lose access to content,” Jim Noonan, SVP of worldwide strategic promotions and communications, at Warner Bros., said in an email.
Although Flixster was one of the first websites to accommodate cloud-based UltraViolet code redemptions, other UV-compatible digital platforms include Walmart’s Vudu.com, Best Buy’s CinemaNow, Kaleidescape, Cineplex.com, Nook.com, and SonyPicturesStore.com, among others.
Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, contends studios prefer to sell movies with digital copies stored in a cloud-based locker, and maintaining those content rights isn't particularly complicated.
“They may migrate the database from Flixster to another vendor, or white label it with Amazon Web Services. But they aren't going to stop offering cloud-based digital rights to consumers,” Pachter said.
Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer and EVP of strategy and business development at Warner Bros., said combining Fandango and Flixster creates an opportunity to accelerate innovation in movie discovery and ticketing.
Indeed, the two services generate about 60 million unique monthly visitors, according to January data from comScore. Rival Amazon-owned IMDb had nearly 74 million unique visitors.
Last month, Fandango acquired M-Go, the digital transaction movie (and UltraViolet) platform co-founded by DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor. With M-Go, Fandango plans to work with exhibitors and studios to build streamlined solutions for “super tickets” and other theatrical ticketing and home entertainment products. M-Go will be rebranded later this year and become part of Fandango’s digital network.