Movie ticket seller Fandango, a unit of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBCUniversal, agreed to acquire Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes from Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX).
Three weeks ago, Fandango’s nascent rival Atom Tickets raised a $50 million Series B funding round led by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE:LGF), Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS), and 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA).
In January, Fandango acquired M-GO, a leading digital distributor of new release and catalog movies to a wide variety of connected, over-the-top (OTT) and mobile devices including Android, iOS, Samsung, LG, Roku, and others. 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.
With this acquisition, Fandango’s combined audience reach will grow to more than 63 million unique visitors per month. 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.
“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans, and we look forward to growing these successful properties, driving more theatrical ticketing and super-serving consumers with all their movie needs,” said Fandango president Paul Yanover.
Known as a highly trusted measurement of quality, Rotten Tomatoes is the most popular online aggregator of theatrical and in-home movie and TV reviews from professional critics and fans. Rotten Tomatoes offers the most complete guide to what’s fresh, through its Tomatometer rating, which represents the percentage of positive professional reviews for a given film or television show.
Flixster is a leading website and mobile app for discovering movies, with more than 50 million app installs. Consumers can find valuable movie information and check out audience and critic ratings and reviews, courtesy of the Tomatometer. 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.
“Bringing these properties together into a single, integrated portfolio creates an opportunity to truly accelerate innovation in movie discovery and ticketing, making moviegoing an even more compelling experience,” said Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer and EVP, Strategy and Business Development, Warner Bros.