Fandango purchases Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster

February 25th, 2016




Ticket-selling service Fandango, owned by cable giant Comcast Corporations, is diversifying its online movie offerings agreeing to acquire the digital movie businesses Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. Entertainment.


This agreement will be bringing two Hollywood studios together online. Comcast bought Fandango in 2007, while Warner Bros. acquired Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes in 2011.


Rotten Tomatoes, whose “Tomatometer” has garnered the website a loyal following of over 20 million monthly visitors, aggregates movie reviews and valid review scores immediately after the movies premiere, according to The Wall Street Journal.  Flixster, Rotten Tomatoes’ relation’s website, allows users to share and discover new TV shows and movies, as well as rent or buy digital movies.


On the other hand, Warner Bros. Entertainment, the film studio owned by Time Warner, will remain a strategic partner. They will receive a minority stake in Fandango, the companies said on Wednesday Feb. 17 according to Bloomberg.


The terms of the deal, however, were not fully disclosed or official until Feb 18. The Wall Street Journal reported that both Warner Bros. and Fandango have been negotiating agreements about this equity deal since December 2015.


“From learning about new movies to getting to the movies to the home entertainment experience, this gives us the chance to create a consistent, one-stop shop, high quality experience for the entire movie cycle,” Fandango President Paul Yanover reported to USA Today.


In addition, USA Today reported that Fandango President Yanover that it makes since for Fandango to acquire Rotten Tomatoes because of how complimentary both their businesses are.


Besides this most recent purchase of Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango purchased the streaming service M-Go in January 2016 and plans to re-brand it later this year as part of its digital network, according to Bloomberg.


Fandango’s acquisition doesn’t include Flixster’s video streaming service. However, Flixster plans to switch its users over to Fandango’s video service later this year and shut down its own service by the end of this year.


Flixster provides for Fandango a similar proposition to content already offered by Fandango around movie information and show times, but for a largely different audience. Flixster will allow Fandango and loyal followers to connect easier and find more ticket options reported Bloomberg.


Fandango President Yanover told USA Today that this recent deal will lead to new services, including “super tickets” for major film franchises like “The Avengers” or the “Fast and Furious” movies.


Another new feature that will be introduced will be a bundling option, allowing viewers to buy a bundle that includes a movie ticket, a previous movie from the franchise, and a pre-purchase copy for the home entertainment version of the movie.


Fandango reached 40.3 million people in the U.S. in January, according to Bloomberg, while Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes together have 19.4 million visitors.


Combined, the three online companies would be a close second online company to Inc.’s IMDb, which has 73.8 million unique visitors last month. Flixster and Fandango together have more than 100 million mobile app downloads, according to the Bloomberg.


Editor’s Note: Information from Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today was used in this report.