Fandango Buys Vudu from Walmart – What Does This Mean For Both Services?

We use Vudu as our primary redemption method for digital titles

Walmart has sold Vudu to Fandango for an undisclosed sum. We didn’t use either service that much, so impact to us will be minimal. Also, it seems that Fandango isn’t going to change that much — at least immediately — how Vudu operates.

Walmart says Vudu customers will have uninterrupted access to their Vudu library. They’ll also continue to be able to use their Walmart login as well as their Walmart wallet to make purchases on Vudu, the retailer notes.

Walmart is selling its on-demand video service Vudu to Fandango | TechCrunch

One of the bonus features we really enjoyed as part of our unlimited monthly theater pass through Regal — on hiatus presumably until theaters reopen — is getting digital redemption codes for movies we see 90 days or so later. We’ve talked about this feature as being value-added (see: Regal Moviegoers, Claim Your Digital Copies) and not requiring any additional money.

As for watching movies, Vudu has offered “free” movies as long as you’re willing to put up with some ads. They aren’t as obnoxious as Crackle, more like the IMDB service. I’m OK with a couple ads here and there, but vastly prefer no ads. I remember Hulu’s ad experience not being too saturated either. When you see a 90 minute movie stretched into over 2 hours because of ads, that is way too intrusive.

So, I’m sort of marginally in support of ad-supported “free” movies and TV show services. Would much rather have them like Netflix, Amazon and the other premiums subscription services that have either zero ads or only a small amount of ads for their own original content. I actually like a few ads for originals to keep me reminded what’s coming soon.

As for Fandango, they had a couple of nice early access movie offers, one of which I took advantage of (see: Be the First to See Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep 8 Days Early – Wednesday 10-30-2019 – Through Fandango (LIMITED TIME OFFER — HURRY!)) — so hope they continue to offer those. That’s about the only way we’ll likely be buying tickets for movies through them going forward.

Fandango made a lame attempt to capture the 3D VR market of Oculus, but never really added that many titles, which makes me wonder just how committed they are to “new” things (see: Watching Movies on Oculus Go) they dabble in. Let’s hope that they treat Vudu with a little more excitement and interest.

Vudu isn’t going to be a major player in the crowded streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max, etc), but it could grow its footprint in the VOD market. This might be the primary reason why Fandango wants them, so that if VOD blows up as more day and date titles are being released, they are there to capture a bigger piece of that pie. When we paid $19.99 recently for Trolls World Tour, it was Vudu that got our $$.

Do you use Fandango and/or Vudu very much right now? What do you think of this news? Pretty much a non-event?

Which Streaming Service Are You Watching Most During The Pandemic?

Netflix and chill.

That’s the answer right now. It was #2.

#1 through most of last year was Amazon Prime Video. Roku third. Then Vudu. Then DCU (mostly for Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman TV series). We don’t have any other paid streaming subscriptions at the moment.

While everyone’s spending a lot more time at home streaming video, Netflix is taking more than its fair share of viewing. Thirty-five percent of people are watching more Netflix than any other streaming service, according to a March 29 survey from Morning Consult. The next closest competitor is Disney’s Hulu, at 10%. Disney+ came in at 4%.

Netflix Is Winning the “Streaming Wars”

Netflix specializes in and has popularized on the internet binge watching and right now the 7-part mini-series, Tiger King is the poster child of success on the platform:

The only live TV available to people is the news, and that doesn’t provide any escapism. Netflix was never invested in live TV. Executives have reiterated they don’t want to be in that space. Tiger King,with its instant meme-making moments and its availability to more than 167 million subscribers, gives Netflix an advantage in a world where live TV has all but diminished.

Tiger King is a viral success because Netflix rules the jungle

I tried watching Tiger King, but honestly the subject matter wasn’t for me. I’m not big on wild animals in captivity stories. This isn’t a review and there probably won’t be one here, so we’re going to miss out on joining in on the popularity. If you liked Tiger King, you’re welcome to tell me about it in the comments section. My Twitter has been raging and I’ve read other bloggers talking about it, but reader views are welcome here.

Back to why Amazon isn’t #1 right now, because there’s a better public service announcement than trying to get a little Tiger King love from the masses.

WARNING: Hacking is on the rise during the pandemic

Recently, our Amazon Prime account was hacked and compromised. If you aren’t using two-factor authentication for Amazon, use it. In fact, use two-factor authentication on every important website involving any kind of commerce activity. Your banking naturally, Google, Amazon, etc.

Yes, beware, hackers are out there. I called Amazon and notified them that someone was up to no good (we knew right away there was a problem) trying to make unauthorized purchases through our Amazon account (that we’ve had since mid 2000s).

Alas, they locked down our account and that was the end. That’s been well over a month ago and our Amazon Prime came up for renewal and could not renew since everything was disabled. We reached customer service the middle of last month and they said our account had to be “sanitized” first before it could be restored.

Their sanitation department is either out or severely limited. I understand.

Call Amazon and you get a message that right now due to the virus their customer service has been impacted. I email and get no answer. I understand.

So, whenever this is over we’ll get the account restored, but in the meantime, the established Amazon account I’ve had for over 13 years is disabled and locked.

My wife started a brand new Amazon account. She ordered some items through there, in fact. We’ll probably have to setup Amazon Prime Video through there to be able to start streaming through there again.

Your turn.

Please share your streaming story during the pandemic. What streaming service are you watching the most right now?

VUDU Rental Redos Requires Not Going To Happen Customer Service

Walmart owned streaming video service, VUDU, is offering a new service that sounds worthwhile at first: if you don’t like a movie you rented and started watching in the first 30 minutes you can get a refund.

The rub?

In order to take advantage of a “redo,” you need to call or email Vudu’s customer service team within the first 24 hours of stopping the movie. Then, your account will be credited with the amount you originally paid to rent the movie. 

Vudu offers ‘rental redos’ in case you hate a movie

The added feature would be more useful if you could simply press a “cancel rental” button within the first 30 minutes of a terrible movie (admittedly, there are a very small percentage of movies this would apply to), but having to call or email service is not going to be something most people want to bother doing. This feels like the type of service a company adds for marketing, not earning more market share.

Not surprising as the rumor is that Walmart is trying to sell VUDU. That article also noted that Sony’s Playstation Vue, the TV streaming and video service is shutting down at the end of January 2020. I missed that in the news, but gamers are probably most interested in gaming, not streaming TV and movies.

On January 1, 2020 VUDU is “quietly dropping” support for their disc-to-digital option. Even after reading the article several times, I’m not completely sure what this means? No new blu rays we buy can we convert and have an owned version through VUDU?

If VUDU goes away what happens to the library of owned titles we have there? This is where owned digital libraries become not so permanent. Maybe Wal-Mart will continue to support this if VUDU does sell or they shutter the service?

Am not buying any new movies through VUDU due to these reasons: they just don’t seem as stable and competitive as Amazon Prime. I’m fairly certain Amazon isn’t getting rid of their Prime Video service any time soon.

But they could.

Where is VUDU among the competition?

I watch a few movies on VUDU here and there, but otherwise it’s a low priority watch at the current time. They do have some decent movies free with ads, if that’s your thing, but I’d rather watch the streaming channels we subscribe to that have plenty to watch that don’t have ads vs. wading into channels that are offering free with ads movies and TV shows.

How often do you currently use VUDU?

2019 VUDU- Thanksgiving and Black Friday 4K UHD 50% Off BUY – LIMITED TIME OFFER

Vudu – Thanksgiving Sale

For those of you not out and about this morning in the United States, braving the Black Friday crowds, there are some online Black Friday deals worth mentioning. These are, of course, very time sensitive, so if you’re viewing this post after Black Friday 11/29/2019, no idea how many of these prices, if any, will hold up. Also, all prices in $USD.

If you are planning on buying movies and have a 4K-capable TV, there are some good deals at Vudu for Black Friday. Look for the orange header on the movie titles to find scattered other HDX format movies on sale as well, but didn’t see any that were 50% off. There were a few sales that stuck out to me. The movies below are all to buy price (streaming), not rent for HDX format:

  • IT (2017) $7.99
  • Alita: Batle Angel $9.99
  • Deadpool $6.99
  • Deadpool 2 $7.99
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming $5.96
  • Minions $6.99
  • Diehard $7.99
  • Despicable Me 2 $6.92
  • Long Shot $7.99
  • Hellboy $6.99
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1) $5.00
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $5.99
  • The Peanuts Movie: $4.99
  • The Martian $4.99
  • Wonder Woman $7.99
  • How To Train Your Dragon $6.99
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2 $6.99
  • Pitch Perfect $6.99
  • Kong Skull Island $6.99
  • Olympus Has Fallen $4.99

Again, this list is incomplete, just some titles I surfed around and noticed were decent deals, $5 is a pretty good price point to buy a movie these days. Although there are places selling physical media (Blu-ray and DVD) for $5 or less, so keep that in mind.

You might also want to check out Amazon Prime Video. They are having sales on buying movies too. They have some channels on sale with prices slashed for the next three months (none of the main premium ones yet, maybe those will be saved for Cyber Monday deals?): CBS All Access, Epix, britbox, Bet+, Nickhits and more.

See any good deals to buy channel streaming subscriptions (especially premium channels like HBO, Showtime, etc), movies and/or TV seasons on streaming or physical media? Use the comments, let us know.