Cable TV leader Comcast Corp agreed to buy online movie ticket seller Fandango for an undisclosed sum. Tech blogger Michael Arrington cites unnamed sources that 'Comcast paid $200 million, or perhaps a bit more. We’re also hearing Fandango revenue is in the $50m/year range, split roughly evenly between ticket sales and advertising.' Comcast also announced that it plans to launch Fancast, a new Web site that will "leverage its experience as the nation's largest buyer of video content, serving nearly 25 million cable customers and 11.5 million broadband customers, to expand its existing video-centric websites and create a new online destination". Fandango was founded in 2000 by 7 of the 10 largest movie exhibitors, including AMC Theatres, Carmike Cinemas and Cinemark Theatres, plus Accretive Technology Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. It has exclusive partnerships for online ticketing with roughly half the movie theaters in the US, and 4-5 million unique visitors per month. Competitor MovieTickets.com, a joint venture between AMC Entertainment, Hollywood Media Corp., National Amusements, Famous Players, Marcus Theatres, Viacom, and AOL, has exclusive partnerships with the others, and also provides online movie ticket purchases for Yahoo!, Google and AOL. The deal was announced during market hours. While the Dow and Nasdaq fell by about 0.7%, Comcast rose by 2.7% and Hollywood Media, which owns 26% of MovieTickets.com, by 2.2%. Apple fell by 1.8% and Google by 0.4%.
Sources: Press release, TechCrunch , Bloomberg, WSJ
Commentary: MovieTickets.com Wins Yahoo! Deal • Hollywood Media Must Unlock Value • AMC-Loews merger could shake up online movie ticketers Fandango and MovieTickets.com
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Comcast (CMCSA). Competitors: Google/YouTube (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Hollywood Media (HOLL)
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