15 May DEG Q&A | Meet Board Director Cameron Douglas of Fandango
May 15, 2023 | Industry veteran Cameron Douglas joined the DEG Board at the start of 2023, bringing a deep understanding of entertainment lifecycles, from theatrical through transactional windows and beyond. Douglas is VP of Home Entertainment for Fandango, where he oversees the broadly distributed Vudu network, one of the industry’s premier digital retailers in the transactional space. Vudu offers a quarter of a million of movies and TV shows to buy, rent, or for free, without a subscription, often in premium formats.
Prior to joining Fandango, Douglas held senior positions at top entertainment media companies including DreamWorks, Paramount, Fox, and Disney. He moved into the digital entertainment space in 2013 as SVP of Content for M-GO, prior to its acquisition by Fandango and rebranding as FandangoNOW in 2016. After acquiring the leading video-on-demand service Vudu in 2020, Fandango combined the services into a single streaming platform with Douglas as lead executive.
DEG recently caught up with Douglas to discuss the evolution and value of the transactional business model and helping consumers navigate the digital landscape for best value, convenience and experience.
DEG: The premium VOD/EST release window was created in response to limited theatrical opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now a common element in many home entertainment release strategies. In 2023, how do you position premium releases on Vudu and what is their impact on your business?
CD: Shorter windows overall have benefited the transactional home entertainment market in a big way, and Vudu is no exception. But premium in particular has created an entirely new window, generating incremental business for both studios and retailers. That category, which we call Fandango At Home, is especially important to us given our complementary ticketing business and entertainment lifecycle marketing approach — we’re presenting the same content to movie fans, in different windows, giving them options for how and when they want to watch it. We also love the recent trend towards a parallel ownership option in the premium window.
DEG: There are 28 million million households in the U.S. that use all three digital distribution channels – SVOD, FAST, and transactional digital, according to Circana. What is the best way to connect with these super consumers to keep them engaged with transactional?
CD: Super consumers are Vudu’s lifeblood, and we know that people who use Vudu are more likely to embrace other services as well. That’s in part why we continue to include ad-supported options within Vudu, so you don’t feel like you have to open your wallet every time you open our app. But the core proposition for the transactional window — first-run content in the earliest home window after theatrical — has been muddied over the past couple of years, due to the pandemic and a lot of experimentation which has become super-confusing for consumers. We do see studios and their respective parent companies coming to the realization that the traditional windowing model also drives the most value from a content P&L. We understand that original content will continue to be produced for other digital options, but we also know that even our heaviest users can’t or won’t subscribe to every service, so there’s still value in offering digital originals transactionally at the right time, for even greater exposure and mutual benefit.
DEG: How are you seeing the growing interest in free, ad-supported programming manifesting at Vudu?
CD: Ad-supported continues to be important to Vudu’s feature set. A lot of people probably don’t know that Vudu has just as many video starts on AVOD as we do transactions on TVOD. So we have an ongoing objective of working with all licensors to secure rights for both windows. Given that we’ll usually already have the content before it hits the non-exclusive pay window, onboarding is particularly easy. If any DEG members are not taking full advantage of the Vudu platform here and are interested in incremental revenue streams for your deep film or catalog library, let us know!
DEG: Where do you see the most ripe opportunities for companies across the DEG membership to work together to improve consumers’ digital entertainment experience?
CD: The walled gardens of the past clearly no longer exist but have been replaced by platform merchandising practices and deep linking rules that are not necessarily aligned with where consumers want platforms to be. I hope that as an industry, we can continue to help users navigate the complex digital landscape so they can easily navigate to and enjoy any content they are looking for, in any window.
DEG: Thinking broadly about your personal media use, what can’t you put down right now?
CD: Still a fan of a lot of the core HBO shows, and Ted Lasso. But I almost missed my current favorite, because I thought I wasn’t willing to sit through commercials: Jury Duty. And, glad to see all these great recent Fandango ticketing successes coming to Fandango at Home!