Movie ticketing website Fandango has acquired the popular film review website Rotten Tomatoes and ticketing app Flixster. Previous owner Warner Bros. will take an equity position in Fandango and become an ongoing strategic partner.
The move is a smart one for the NBCUniversal-owned Fandango, but it will be interesting to see how or if this will affect Rotten Tomatoes. The site is used by millions of moviegoers to help them determine which movies they should and shouldn’t see. Being owned by a company that is interested in selling tickets, to every movie, might not align with the goals of a consumer advisory site like Rotten Tomatoes. But then again, being owned by a mega movie group like Warner Bros. also seemed like a possible conflict of interest, and Rotten Tomatoes still managed to function rather independently of the entertainment division.
Read the full Rotten Tomatoes Fandango Flixster press release after the jump.
Rotten Tomatoes Fandango Flixster Press Release
FANDANGO CREATES ULTIMATE DIGITAL NETWORK FOR ALL THINGS MOVIES WITH ADDITION OF ICONIC MOVIE BRANDS FLIXSTER AND ROTTEN TOMATOES
Union of Best-in-Class Digital Properties to Serve Entire Movie Lifecycle, Reaching More Than 63 Million Unique Visitors Per Month — Plus More Than 100 Million Mobile App Downloads
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Current Owner of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, to Take Equity Position
in Fandango and Become Ongoing Strategic Partner
LOS ANGELES (February 17, 2016) – Fandango, the nation’s leading digital platform serving consumers across the entire movie lifecycle, announced today it has signed an agreement to acquire Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which includes the world famous professional movie critic rating tool, the Tomatometer™, from Warner Bros. Entertainment. The addition of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, along with Fandango’s recent acquisition of on-demand video service, M-GO, will expand the company’s theatrical ticketing business and create the industry’s premier digital network for all things movies.
Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which reach 20 million unique visitors per month, will remain consumer-facing brands. With this acquisition, Fandango’s combined audience reach will grow to more than 63 million* unique visitors per month and offer consumers the most comprehensive resource for movie information, theatrical ticketing, video content for movie discovery, and home entertainment. 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. “Our new expanded network will offer unparalleled capabilities for all of our exhibition, studio and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience with innovative marketing and ticketing solutions that benefit from original content, home entertainment products, ‘super tickets,’ gifts with purchase, and other new promotional opportunities,” he added.
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.
“Combining the expertise and assets of Fandango, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will create an incredible resource for consumers to fulfill all their moviegoing needs,” said Thomas Gewecke, Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Warner Bros. “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.”
Flixster Video, the home entertainment and digital video redemption service, is not included in the transaction, but is expected to transition its users to Fandango’s new video on-demand service later this year, and will sunset thereafter.
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.
Fandango had a record-breaking year in 2015, with 81% growth in U.S. ticketing and for the first time in a single year, Fandango received more than 1 billion visits. Fandango Movieclips added 4 million new subscribers to its network of nearly 13 million, and generated a total of 4.5 billion video views, a 54% increase year-over-year.
Fandango also made its first move internationally into Latin America, acquiring Brazil’s largest online ticketer, Ingresso.com, in November 2015. Brazil has a leading moviegoing population, accounting for 40% of Latin American box office in 2014, according to Rentrak. The country represents the largest market in South America and the world’s 11th largest theatrical market, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA predicts that Brazil will constitute the world’s fifth largest market by the end of 2020.
*Fandango and Flixster’s combined non-duplicated audience, according to comScore December 2015.
Fandango, a unit of NBCUniversal, is the nation’s leading digital destination for all things movies, reaching over 49 million unique visitors per month, according to comScore, and selling tickets to more than 27,000 screens nationwide. Fandango provides consumers with movie information, original content and the ability to buy tickets in advance, by printing tickets at home or as mobile tickets on their smartphones. Fandango’s award-winning mobile app has garnered more than 51 million downloads and is available on Apple’s iOS devices and Google’s Android platform. The company operates Fandango Movieclips, the No. 1 movie trailers and movie-related content channel on YouTube, a dedicated website (http://www.movieclips.com) and mobile app for iOS and Android. Fandango powers movie trailer and video channels on Samsung devices, Hulu, AOL, Facebook Notify and Watchable. It also provides ticketing to IMDb, Yahoo! Movies, Moviefone, MSN and others. Movie fans can find Fandango on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fandango and on Twitter @Fandango.
About Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated Studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD and Blu-ray, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, and broadcasting.