Miles Mouvay

Fandango acquires Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster

The movie ticketer-turned-MCN continues its buying spree, with its most recent acquisition bringing its reach to 63 million monthly visitors.
February 18, 2016

Movie ticketer and MCN Fandango has made another step in its quest to become a destination for “all things movies” by acquiring both Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes.

The company announced Feb. 17 that it has signed an agreement to acquire both properties from Warner Bros. Entertainment. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed at press time.

Flixster is a site and mobile app for discovering movies and learning more information on their favorite movie titles. The app has been downloaded more than 50 million times, according to Fandango. Though Fandango has placed an increased emphasis on original video and video on demand since its acquisition of the Zefr’s MCN Movieclips in 2014, Flixster Video, which provides a transactional VOD service for users, will not be included in the deal. However, according to a press release from Fandango, Flixster plans to transition its users to Fandango’s incoming VOD service, and will shut down the service sometime later in 2016.

Rotten Tomatoes is a popular online aggregator for movie reviews, combining critical reviews and certifying movies as “fresh” or “rotten” according to its “Tomatometer” ranking system.

Fandango has not announced any major plans to overhaul or make significant changes to the services, but company president Paul Yanover said in a statement that the reach of both sites will be of significant value to Fandango. Together, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes reach an audience of more than 20 million unique monthly visitors, according to a company press release. This will bring Fandango’s reach to 63 million monthly visitors.

“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans,” Yanover said. “Our new expanded network will (allow) our exhibition, studio and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience.”

As part of the deal, Warner Bros. Entertainment will take a minority ownership stake in Fandango and serve as an ongoing strategic partner. Fandango will continue to operate as a unit of NBCUniversal.

The acquisitions come only weeks after Fandango’s purchasing of online distribution service M-Go, which it will use to bundle ticket purchases with digital downloads (for example, users who buy a ticket for a movie sequel can purchase a digital download of its prequel at a discounted price).

In the past year, Fandango has made big moves to extend its portfolio to more than just ticket sales. Many of its efforts have focused on original video, with the launch of series such as I Love Movies, Mom’s Movie Minute and Movie 3Some, as well as a branded campaign featuring Saturday Night Live alum Kenan Thomposon (pictured).

Fandango reported that in the past year, it has seen a 54% increase in video views across its network, and has seen an 81% increase in ticket sales year-over-year.


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