Flixster video closing shop end of the month

flixster-hp-cropThe US video service Flixster has announced closing on August 28, 2017. In effect, the company will no longer accept UltraViolet redemption codes, offer downloads, or stream purchased titles to members.

Flixster says the ending of their video service is due to circumstances beyond their control, and related to the “unexpected shutdown of a critical vendor.” Could that vendor be associated with Fandango — their parent company, or another UV video content distributor? And might the closing be related to CinemaNow’s unexpected change of service? Flixster won’t say.

The company provides some suggestions on where to go after the shutdown, but they don’t direct customers to FandangoNow like you might expect. Instead, the Flixster FAQ page repeatedly points customers to Walmart’s Vudu, even touting the service: “Vudu brings a new and exciting redemption and playback experience for Flixster Video customers,” says an FAQ post.

In the company’s own words:

Flixster Video will no longer support code redemption or streaming and downloading of content. Redeem codes and access your Flixster video collection after that date by signing up or logging into Vudu, another UltraViolet retail service (www.vudu.com) or access your collection from other UltraViolet services like FandangoNOW.

What may be more troubling than Flixster shutting down is they are sending customers away from Comcast-owned Fandango (who bought Flixster early in 2016 from Warner Bros. and had also merged their VOD service M-Go with FandangoNow upon launch), and pointing them towards Vudu.

Fandango “powers” the Flixster service (as seen in the graphic above), and customers could have easily been only redirected to FandangoNow.com.

The shutdown of the US video service also includes Flixster’s apps for mobile devices and TVs. Rather than providing access to Flixster, the opening screen of the apps will direct users to access their UV libraries through Vudu. However, from what we hear Flixster in Canada will not be affected by this US shutdown.

The reaction of many Flixster and UltraViolet library owners to the announcement has been desperate, and goes further to implicate the entire UV structure. “If Vudu falls, then we’re all f___’ed,” said one distraught customer.

Vudu is owned by Walmart, a $220B company that bought the platform in 2010 and integrated it with sales of DVDs and Blu-rays. The service has been on the cutting edge of video delivery by being one of the first to offer 1080p (Full HD) resolution and later 2160p (4k UHD) video with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

What will happen to the Flixster brand itself? Will they still sell movie tickets on Flixster.com? Or, will the domain name redirect to another website or entirely different product like the way CinemaNow.com now points to the streaming TV portal CinemaNowFree.com?

There’s something brewing, but whatever happens we’re hoping UV doesn’t go anywhere. The long-awaited launch of Vudu for Apple TV may provide some additional confidence in the platform, allowing entire libraries of UV-licensed titles to be accessible on the device. Will Amazon Fire TV be next for Vudu as promised at this summer’s WWDC?

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Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot writes about technology, broadcasting, and digital entertainment. You can also find him on Gameverse, Gadget Review, and Google+.

2 Replies to “Flixster video closing shop end of the month”

  1. Jon says:

    I found out from a UV seller that fandangonow is only able to redeem Universal codes at this time that is why they are sending customers to vudu and not fandangonow but what I don’t understand is why close flixster video before you have a way to keep your customers and send them to your new business the only thing I can think is the other companies that offer UV don’t want to do business with fandangonow or the other UV Companies have exclusives in place with vudu or a future unseen player will step in maybe google will final get play movies in the UV game but worse case is this a sign that fandangonow is on way outs with UV there in turm leaving only Vudu for UV or even worst all my UV title become unwatchable because there is no place to watch them and they say that the cloud is the nexg step in computers as if

  2. JL Montague says:

    Flixster might be linking to vudu over fandango because fandango’s ultraviolet library access is awful. On the Android app, going to ultraviolet section, there’s no filter. No way to organize content by rating or alphabetical order. No way to look up specific genres. And if you own whole seasons of tv series, each episode is its own program. I have the complete Batman series. Instead of one icon for the show or an icon for each season you can click on and then access episodes, it’s 120 individual programs, thrown into the mix with every other movie and tv show with no apparent rhyme or reason to the order. Vudu is a much cleaner and more accessible interface, and i hate walmart so for me to give props to their service isn’t easy. Plus fandango says there’s nothing they can do about it.

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