Fandango is looking for a new way to mint money from moviegoers.
The NBCUniversal-owned company next month will launch another extension to its core online movie-ticketing business with Fandango FanShop, an ecommerce site that will sell a selection of T-shirts, hats and other apparel, prop replicas and collectibles, and even access to special events tied to theatrical releases.
FanShop’s initial menu will include merch from a handful of upcoming theatrical releases, including Disney-Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”; Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman”; and Universal-Illumination’s “Despicable Me 3.” In some cases, Fandango will be the exclusive licensee for products that will be available only through FanShop, according to president Paul Yanover.
The ecommerce portal is rolling out as a standalone site, FandangoFanShop.com, but the point isn’t to compete with sector giants like Amazon.com and Walmart, Yanover said.
“This is tactical — we want to surprise and delight people,” he said. “The mission here is, How do we create a programmed fan experience through merchandise? We are going to curate the best products, working with studios and filmmakers, and present those in conjunction with movie titles.”
FanShop may or may not turn into a significant new revenue stream. Regardless, for Fandango the move into merchandise sales gives it a toehold in yet another aspect of a movie’s lifecycle.
The company is best known for its movie-ticketing service, which covers 28,000 screens nationwide. To complement that, Fandango has steadily built out properties covering both sides of a film’s theatrical run. Last year it bought Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster from Warner Bros., after acquiring the Movieclips YouTube channel in 2014. To grab post-theatrical consumer dollars, it bought transactional video-on-demand service M-Go in early 2016, and rebranded it as FandangoNow.
FanShop could at some point include DVDs or Blu-ray discs, but the core products will be apparel like T-shirts and hats and collectibles. Yanover also called out Fandango’s plans to offer exclusive events, like attending a movie premiere, a celebrity meet-and-greet, or a set visit. The company is still figuring out how such “scarce events” will be offered; for example, shoppers may be entered into a sweepstakes with a product purchase. In the next few months, FanShop will also feature dedicated hubs for popular movie franchises.
Fandango plans to promote FanShop across the company’s network of sites. Eventually users will be able to purchase movie tickets and merchandise in the same transaction on Fandango, as well as buy merchandise with Digital HD movies on FandangoNow. The company also plans to offer bundles that include movie tickets and merchandise as special promotions.
In addition to bulking up U.S. operations, the company has also expanded into Latin America. In December 2015, Fandango acquired Brazil’s biggest online ticketer, Ingresso.com, and last December acquired Peru-based Cinepapaya (which it has rebranded with the Fandango name).