Comcast acquired movie ticket site Fandango and said it plans to launch a site called Fancast.com, billed as an online cross-channel video and entertainment hub.
Both properties will be managed by Comcast's interactive unit. Comcast, a massive cable and media player, has flown under the radar online as companies like News Corp. generate more buzz. Judging from the statement, the purchase of Fandango looks like an excuse for Comcast to talk up its Internet properties.
Comcast noted that its Comcast.net site is a top 10 site with 15 million unique visitors a month. Fandango will bring another 4 million to 5 million unique videos. Fandango CEO Chuck Davis will stay on board.
The cable provider, which noted that it’s the largest video buyer in the U.S., seems intent on leveraging its TV experience online. And given its experience in distributing video and cutting content deals may have a leg up on others. Whether Fancast.com--"a new national online destination that will enable consumers to search, discover, manage and enjoy their entertainment experience across many devices and channels, including television, computers, DVDs and wireless services"--winds up Comcast's primary online video vehicle remains to be seen.
Comcast says Fancast.com will launch this summer and sounds similar to YouTube--and "NewTube" or whatever News Corp. and NBC are calling their YouTube killer. In some respects, Comcast is ahead of NewTube--it has a name.
Here's the description of Fancast:
"Fancast will be a national entertainment site where people can search and discover television and movie content, while managing their viewing experience across multiple devices. With Fancast, consumers will be able to search for their favorite shows, movies, actors and actresses, or simply enjoy the video content on the site. Fancast will provide consumers with a place to discover when their favorite shows or movies are "on," and where they can view them via television, video-on-demand, online or on other devices."
Big description, but one that still leaves this Fancast thing a little hazy to me.
Financial terms were undisclosed, but it's safe to say Fandango's major investors such as Accretive Technology Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures are happy with the exit strategy.