Digital movie sales and rentals are finally starting to gain traction, thanks to such innovative digital retailers as FandangoNOW, which is being inducted into Variety’s Home Entertainment Hall of Fame on Dec. 4. A business unit of Fandango, which sells movie tickets, FandangoNOW furthers the company’s mission of ubiquitous movie access by letting consumers buy, rent and watch movies online and on mobile devices.
It’s a challenging business, given the continued dominance of Netflix and the other subscription streamers, but the latest numbers provided by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group show significant gains. Digital movie sales alone grew 18% in the third quarter of 2018 and for the first time nearly offset the decline in disc purchases, while online rentals rose nearly 10%.
“We want to serve movie fans wherever and whenever they want, in whatever window the content is in,” says VP of home entertainment Cameron Douglas, who is accepting the award.
Called M-GO prior to its acquisition by Fandango in 2016, FandangoNOW serves millions of visitors a month, with more than 80,000 new release and catalog movies, next-day TV shows, and a growing library of 4K titles. The business is split fairly evenly between electronic purchases and rentals, Douglas says, and the service’s heavy push into 4K has resulted in 20% of transactions coming from the uber-HD format (when available).
FandangoNOW plays up the fact that it offers consumers the chance to stream fresh movies not yet available on subscription services such as Netflix. Instead of relying on algorithms, its entertainment options are curated by human beings and sister company Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer scores and editors’ picks.