A decade or so ago, families used to make a Blockbuster run to pick up several of the latest movies to watch over the course of a weekend. The video store chain is now a distant memory and with its extinction, a way of renting movies has largely disappeared.
That may be changing. FandangoNOW, an on-demand video service, has deals in place with most of the major studios that will allow it to create packages of movie rentals. They’ve labeled the offering “binge bundles,” and describe the service as a way for consumers to watch multiple movies for a lower price. Sony, Paramount, Lionsgate, and Universal are just a few of the companies that are participating in the program. It launches on Labor Day weekend with more than 100 bundles.
The slate features several hit franchises such as a collection for fans of adventures featuring CIA analyst Jack Ryan (it includes “The Hunt for Red October,” “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger,” and “The Sum of All Fears”), as well as the “Hotel Transylvania” trilogy,” “The Twilight Saga,” and the Spider-Man collection, featuring all six wall-crawler movies, spanning the Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland iterations.
There are also bundles that are united by a common theme, such as a faith-based offering with films such as “Miracles from Heaven” and “Heaven Is for Real,” and a Seth Rogen double feature that boasts munchies-inducers such as “Pineapple Express” and “Sausage Party.”
In recent years, studios have primarily focused on selling digital versions of films, but Cameron Douglas, Fandango’s home entertainment vice president, said that more needs to be done to enhance the rental market.
“There’s a lack of impulse renting in the digital space,” said Douglas. “In the old days you’d visit a video store and walk away with two or three rentals at a time. We haven’t been able to replicate that digitally.”
If the service works, the model could be embraced by other retailers. It may also help bolster a home entertainment service that has never fully recovered from the decline of DVD sales and the lackluster debut of Blu-ray. Disc sales plummeted 14% last year, falling to $4.7 billion, while brick-and-mortar rentals and kiosk rentals declined a combined 17%, dropping to roughly $2 billion, according to data by trade organization Digital Entertainment Group (DEG). Video-on-demand has been the one saving grace. In 2017, spending on electronic-sell-through, which totaled just over $2 billion, was eclipsed by VOD. On-demand topped digital sales by $67 million for the year.
The company plans to increase its selection as more studios sign up. There’s an interesting value proposition taking place. By renting in bulk, prices can start for as low as $1.50 per movie. Renting individual films from streaming services can cost as much as $6 a pop. Consumers will have 30 days to watch all of the movies in the bundle, and 48 hours to finish each title once they start viewing a film.
FandangoNOW is owned by Fandango, the movie ticketing giant.