In a major shift in the online movie space, digital consumer platform and ticketseller Fandango
, a unit of NBCUniversal, is acquiring from Warner Bros. Flixster
, the largest movie community on the web, and leading critical aggregator Rotten Tomatoes
(Back in 2010, Flixster bought Rotten Tomatoes from IGN Entertainment, a division of News Corp, which got a minority stake in an all-stock deal. Rotten Tomatoes was growing its own social community, but grew with a boost from the bigger Flixster.)
The combo of the three movie sites turns Fandango/Flixster/Rotten Tomatoes into a much bigger colossus with a global movie audience of some 63 million unique monthly visitors (per December 2015 comScore) and more than 100 million mobile app downloads. The new combine will reach readers across multiple platforms on the Internet (including social networks) and via mobile apps for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices.
Burgeoning online ticketseller Fandango —whose U.S. ticket sales grew 81% in the last year— can now work with Flixster, the leading brand for user ratings and reviews, and Rotten Tomatoes, the leader for critical consensus and reviews (with fresh and rotten Tomatometer scores) plus a huge combined database of movies, trailers and videos, and local movie showtime information and theater maps, offering consumers a comprehensive resource for movie information, theatrical ticketing, video content for movie discovery, and home entertainment. Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which reach 20 million unique visitors per month, will remain consumer-facing brands.
Fandango is describing the new combine as the “ultimate digital network for all things movies,” which will “serve the entire movie lifecycle.”
Warner Bros. Entertainment, current owner of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, will take a minority equity position
in Fandango and be an ongoing strategic partner. The addition of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, along with Fandango’s recent acquisition of on-demand video service, M-GO, will expand the company’s theatrical ticketing business. M-Go digitally releases new and catalog movies to over-the-top (OTT) and mobile devices including Android, iOS, Samsung, LG, Roku, and others. Fandango plans to work with exhibitors and studios to build streamlined solutions for “super tickets” and other theatrical ticketing and home entertainment products with M-GO, which will be rebranded as part of Fandango’s digital network.
The idea is for movie theaters and distributors and their promotion partners to grow their ability to innovatively reach consumers who are making moviegoing decisions online, often via mobile devices. Website Flixster boasts a mobile app for discovering movies, with more than 50 million app installs. Fandango will be extending its ticketing capabilities to the Flixster app in the coming months. Together, Flixster and Fandango’s mobile app downloads total more than 100 million.
Flixster Video, the home entertainment and digital video redemption service, is not included in the transaction. Those users will be transitioned over to Fandango’s new video on-demand service later this year.
In 2015, Fandango received more than 1 billion visits. Fandango Movieclips
added 4 million new subscribers to its network of nearly 13 million, and generated a total of 4.5 billion video views, a 54% increase year-over-year. Fandango also acquired Brazil’s largest online ticketer, Ingresso.com, in November 2015. Brazil accounts for 40% of Latin American box office in 2014, according to Rentrak. The country represents the largest market in South America and the world’s 11th largest theatrical market, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA predicts that Brazil will constitute the world’s fifth largest market by the end of 2020.
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