Walmart has agreed to sell Vudu, its video streaming service, to NBCUniversal’s Fandango on Monday for an undisclosed sum.
“While there will be many more exciting things to share in the months ahead, nothing about the Vudu experience is changing — your movie & TV library is safe, and you will continue to have access to all your Vudu apps across your favorite devices,” Vudu said in an announcement on its website.
Vudu, which Walmart acquired for $100 million-plus in 2010, has offered a free ad-supported streaming service to its users since 2016, along with the option to buy and rent movies and shows. Those services, installed on 100 million devices, could be seen as a complement to NBCU’s Peacock streaming service — which will feature both ad-supported and ad-free subscriptions when it rolls out nationwide in July.
Comcast, NBCU’s parent company, has already been busy this year on the acquisition front. In late February, Comcast bought Xumo, the ad-supported streaming service that offers 10,000 free movies and shows. That same month, reports emerged NBCU was looking at acquiring Vudu.
Interest in these smaller streaming services has increased as the AVOD market has grown exponentially. Ad revenue from AVOD hit $3.8 billion last year, according to Magna Global estimates, marking a 39% increase from 2018. And in 2020, the industry is expected to increase another 31% to hit $5 billion in sales. (It’s worth pointing out that’s still well short of the $70 billion advertisers spend on old school TV ads each year.)