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NBCUniversal in Talks To Acquire Streaming Service Vudu from Walmart

21/02/2020 9:58pm

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By Lillian Rizzo and Patience Haggin 

Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal is in advanced talks to acquire streaming-video service Vudu from retail giant Walmart Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Vudu, which Walmart bought in 2010 for more than $100 million, allows consumers to buy or rent movies or shows. In 2016 Vudu launched a free, ad-supported service that includes thousands of movies and TV shows.

The financial terms the companies are discussing couldn't be learned. The discussions may not result in a deal, the people said.

A Walmart spokesman said the company is constantly having strategic discussions, but declined to comment further. An NBCUniversal spokesman declined to comment.

The acquisition talks come a few months before NBCUniversal launches a new streaming service, Peacock, which will include an ad-supported version for $4.99 a month and an ad-free tier for $9.99. The service will debut in April to Comcast and Cox Communications Inc. customers and to all consumers in July.

Vudu's ad-supported service would serve as a complement to Peacock, the people familiar with the matter said. Vudu's online movie-rental service would support NBCUniversal's movie-ticketing and rental business, Fandango Media LLC, which is said to have more than 30 million online and mobile monthly visitors.

Vudu's movie-rental business is said to be about seven times the size of Fandango's by revenue, according to a person close to the situation.

Walmart says Vudu is installed on more than 100 million devices across the U.S.

In 2018 Walmart considered expanding its video-streaming ambitions by launching a subscription-supported service separate from Vudu, to compete with offerings from Netflix Inc. and Inc., but the company chose not to enter such a crowded, competitive market, said a person familiar with the matter.

Media giants have been looking to acquire ad-supported streaming platforms to complement the subscription streaming services they are launching. Fox Corp. has expressed interest in buying the online video service Tubi, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Fox and Journal parent News Corp share common ownership.

Last year Viacom Inc., which is now part of ViacomCBS Inc., acquired Pluto TV, a free, ad-supported service, for $340 million.

NBCUniversal's parent, Comcast, is separately in exclusive discussions to acquire Xumo LLC, a free, ad-supported video-streaming service, the Journal previously reported.

Xumo would be aligned more with Comcast's Xfinity cable platform, known as X1, as well as the company's streaming device, Flex, said another person familiar with the matter. The X1 cable box serves as a one-stop shop for Comcast pay-TV subscribers, since it includes both cable programming and access to numerous streaming applications such as Netflix.

Flex is targeted at cord-cutters that remain broadband subscribers. Last year, Comcast began offering Flex to its broadband-only subscribers at no cost.

Write to Lillian Rizzo at and Patience Haggin at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 21, 2020 16:43 ET (21:43 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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