NPD Group to Be Acquired by Private Equity Firm

Research provider The NPD Group announced that private equity firm Hellman & Friedman has made a binding offer and entered into an exclusive agreement to acquire the company.

Under the deal, NPD executive chairman Tod Johnson and CEO Karyn Schoenbart will retain a minority stake in the business and continue to serve on the NPD board of directors.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021, subject to the entry into the definitive sale agreement and satisfaction of its conditions.

“As a leading source of market information and advisory services for general merchandise and foodservice, NPD is committed to helping our clients and the industries we serve achieve data-driven growth for many years to come,” said Johnson in a statement. “H&F shares our focus on long-term growth and has the resources and expertise to not only continue but also accelerate NPD’s momentum and long track record of success. Both Karyn and I are delighted to have the opportunity to partner as minority investors alongside H&F as we work in close collaboration on a long-term strategic plan and transition over time to the next generation of NPD leadership.”    

“In a period of rapid change, NPD has helped guide our clients with omnichannel data, industry expertise, and analytics to help them understand unprecedented market shifts,” said Schoenbart in a statement. “It has been exciting to play an increasingly important role in the strategies of our clients by providing insight into what is happening today and what to anticipate in the future. We expect H&F to continue our tradition of client partnership and innovation with new products, data sources, and next generation platforms to make our information even more comprehensive, accessible, and actionable.”

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“Trusted by more than 2,000 customers in 19 countries, NPD is a market leader in its categories with an outstanding value proposition for customers and retailers. Tod and Karyn have led the company to great heights, and we look forward to working closely with them to build on this strong momentum,” said Philip Hammarskjold, executive chairman of H&F, in a statement.

“Rapidly evolving consumer expectations and the growth of e-commerce are accelerating the pace of change in the retail landscape. In an environment of unknowns, the ability for companies to use omnichannel analytics to measure and improve performance is more important than ever before, and NPD is extremely well positioned to provide these critical insights to its customers and retail partners,” said Blake Kleinman, partner at H&F, in a statement.

Founded in 1966, NPD is the eighth largest market research company worldwide, with operations in the Americas, Europe, and APAC, covering more than 20 industries.

Best Buy Black Friday Deals Start

Best Buy Oct. 19-22 is offering hundreds of Black Friday deals available on tech, including everything from headphones to laptops and TVs.

Deals include $599 for a Samsung 70-inch 4K Smart TV ($150 savings), $169 for Beats Studio 3 headphones in matte black ($180 savings), Chromebooks as low as $99, Windows laptops as low as $189.99, and $540 savings on Samsung appliances.

Deals are covered by a Black Friday Price Guarantee, which means the price won’t go lower before Black Friday, according to Best Buy. Best Buy will automatically refund My Best Buy and Best Buy Totaltech members the difference. If the price goes lower before Black Friday and customers are not a member of My Best Buy or Best Buy Totaltech, they can still be reimbursed by visiting their local store or contacting the Best Buy customer care team and requesting a price match under our Price Match Guarantee, according to the chain.

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At Best Buy, Black Friday starts a week early on Nov. 19. Best Buy stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25. Customers who would still like to shop that day can shop on BestBuy.com or through the Best Buy app.

Vudu Mounting Sci-Fi and Fantasy Title Sale

Fandango’s TVOD service Vudu is mounting several sales on science-fiction and fantasy titles.

Taking place Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 is Vudu’s Summer of Savings: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Sale, featuring more than a hundred titles at 25% off, such as blockbuster bundles including the Lord of the RingsThe HobbitStar Trek and Godzilla franchises, as well as recent titles such as Nicolas Cage’s Willy’s Wonderland, Anthony Mackie’s Synchronic and Bruce Willis’ Cosmic Sin. Also included in the sale are: Avatar, Labyrinth, Interstellar, Ready Player One, They Live, Limitless, Arrival, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Total Recall, War of the Worlds (2005) and Edge of Tomorrow.

Other sci-fi-related sales include the Marvel Studios sale, Aug. 31-Sept. 8, with titles up to 60% off (select titles such as Black Panther and Captain Marvel for $7.99, with the four-movie Avengers collection for $29.99); “Pixar Fest,” Aug. 31-Sept. 15, with select Pixar titles, such as  Luca, Onward, Up and WALL-E, available at $9.99 each; and 1950s films at $5 each Aug. 31-Sept. 14, including The Incredible Shrinking Man, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, It Came from Outer Space, It Came from Beneath the Sea, It! the Terror from Beyond Space and The War of the Worlds (1953).

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FandangoNow and Vudu Launch Sale on Family Titles for ‘Sponge on the Run’ Debut

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run debuts March 4 as a premium VOD rental, and for a limited time, fans who rent the movie on Vudu and FandangoNow can get a code for 50% off the purchase of more than 25 select family titles on the two Fandango transactional VOD services.

Titles include the previous “SpongeBob” movies (The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie), Sonic the Hedgehog, Love and Monsters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wonder Park, Sherlock Gnomes, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Bumblebee, The Rugrats Movie, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Harriet the Spy, Hotel for Dogs, Imagine That, Good Burger, Snow Day, Clockstoppers and a number of other family classics.

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Fandango is also launching this week a trivia video, “From Top to Bikini Bottom: The History of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants.'”

‘Silence of the Lambs’ on Sale at FandangoNow, Vudu

FandangoNow and Vudu are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the date The Silence of the Lambs debuted on the big screen (Feb. 14) with a sale on the film, a discounted film bundle and a trivia video.

Both FandangoNow and Vudu are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

During the sale, The Silence of the Lambs is available for purchase at $7.99 in both 4K UHD and HD (usually $13.99). Lambs is also available as part of a two-film bundle (with Ridley Scott’s Hannibal) at $9.99.

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Fandango has also produced a Movieclips trivia video on the on-screen evolution of Clarice and Hannibal:

CBS this month debuted a series based on the story called “Clarice.”

Vudu Running End of Year Sale

Vudu, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, is offering an end of year sale through Jan. 4.

The sale features more than 200 movie bundle deals and more than 1,000 recent hits and classics, many of which are available in 4K.

Several movies and TV seasons are priced as low as $4.99 (including “American Gods”), and several collections (such as both “Zombieland” movies) and complete TV series (such as “Game of Thrones”) are priced at 50% off.

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Vudu’s end-of-year sale includes:

Vudu, FandangoNow Launch Thanksgiving Week, Cyber Monday Sale

Leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Vudu and FandangoNow, Fandango’s transactional on-demand streaming services, are offering a sale on more than 175 movie bundle deals and more than 1,000 recent hits and classics.

Films are priced as low as $5, along with 25% off savings on classic series collections such as the complete “Harry Potter” franchise and TV series such as “Friends” and “Supernatural.” All are available on sale through Nov. 30.

Consumers who purchase any bundle on Vudu or FandangoNow during Fandango’s Thanksgiving Week sale can earn a $2 promo code per bundle to use toward any titles in the month of December. Promo codes earned from the Bonus Bundle offer will be automatically added to accounts on or around Dec. 5, 2020.

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Fandango’s Thanksgiving Week sale encompasses:

  • More than 175 movie bundles, featuring complete film collections of popular franchises, available for 25% off, including the “Harry Potter” eight-film collection, “Twilight: The Complete Saga,” the “Jurassic Park” five-film collection and “The Dark Knight” trilogy;
  • More than 120 new movies available to own for $9.99 each, including Trolls World Tour, Antebellum, Birds of Prey and After We Collided;
  • More than 200 titles available to own for $7.99 each, including Knives Out, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Jumanji: The Next Level, Jaws and The Wolf of Wall Street;
  • More than 240 titles available to own for $6.99 each, including Hot Tub Time Machine, Legally Blonde, Man of Steel, Capone and Jexi;
  • More than 350 movies available to own for $5 each, including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Catch Me If You Can, Reservoir Dogs and Gemini Man;
  • Many TV seasons available to own for under $10 each, including “The Walking Dead,” “Friends,” “Supernatural,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Below Deck Mediterranean,” “Ray Donovan” and “The Wire.”

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“We’re thrilled to launch our biggest home entertainment sale ever, as Thanksgiving week makes for a great time to stock up on classics and contemporary favorites for the holidays,” Fandango EVP and chief commercial officer Kevin Shepela, said in a statement. “FandangoNow and Vudu will continue to host new offers throughout the week to help fans find holiday viewing deals with our comprehensive collection of movies and TV shows in 4K UHD.”

Fandango Celebrates 45th Anniversary of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Fandango is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sept. 26 with a curated playlist, movie sale, and video on the history of 20th century midnight movies.

Throughout the weekend, The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be on sale for digital purchase at $7.99 on both FandangoNow and on Vudu, Fandango’s transactional VOD services.

Fandango is taking a deep dive into the history of 20th century midnight movies with a celebratory trivia video entitled “Do the Time Warp.”

Also, FandangoNow has curated a special collection of cult classics.

Also this weekend, Fandango is launching a regular monthly feature devoted to “Staff Picks.”

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“Some 45 years ago, Rocky Horror made an everlasting impact on the moviegoing experience, creating a demand for cult films with avid audience participation,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis. “While many of us wish we could celebrate the anniversary in full style at the theater, it’s always a film worth cheering on, so let’s do the time warp again from home.”

FandangoNow Launches Labor Day Sale

Digital service FandangoNow is running a Labor Day Yard Sale with 800 movies available to own at sale prices.

It’s the biggest sale of the summer for Fandango’s transactional video-on-demand service.

The sale includes family-friendly titles such as The Peanuts MoviePaddington, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ice Age, Rio and Charlotte’s Web, plus films such as Best in Show, The Color Purple and Happy Gilmore available for purchase at $5 each.

The sale also includes 4K Ulta HD titles, such as Bad Boys for Life, Jaws, E.T., Jumanji, Bloodshot, Top Gun and Knives Out, available to own at $10 each.

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Sale on TVOD Platform movieSpree Part of Ultraman Day Celebration

Mill Creek Entertainment’s transactional streaming platform movieSpree will celebrate Ultraman Day July 10 with a sale on “Ultraman” titles as part of a multi-faceted celebration of the classic Japanese superhero.

Customers can add complete “Ultraman” series to their digital streaming library for $7.10 each at  movieSpree.com/Ultraman.

Series on sale include “Ultra Q”; “Ultraman”; “Ultraseven”; “Return of Ultraman”; “Ultraman Ace”; “Ultraman X”; “Ultraman Orb – The Origin Saga”; “Ultraman Orb”; and “Ultraman Geed.”

The TVOD service also offers an array of “Ultraman” movies, several of which include English dub tracks in addition to the original Japanese language audio that also features English subtitles. Exclusive “Ultraman” bundles are also available for customers to rent or own.

With apps now available on RokuApple TV / iOSAmazon Fire TV, and Android devices, movieSpree (movieSpree.com) is available without long-term contracts, subscription fees or advertisements. Setting up an account is free and as an added bonus, users can redeem a curated assortment of 100 films to add to their accounts free of charge.

The Birth of Ultraman Collection, containing some of the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series, is also coming to Blu-ray July 10 from Mill Creek Entertainment at $25.99.

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The sale and Blu-ray release are just a part of this year’s celebration of the classic Japanese superhero July 10. The day will include a series of virtual activations and talks with the leaders behind the “Ultraman” revival live on Shu.Watch. Ultraman Day will also feature the launch of the official online Ultraman Galaxy Store, which will display exclusive collectible Ultraman merchandise featuring the poster artwork of Marvel’s Alex Ross cover created for the comic book The Rise of Ultraman #1, on sale this September.

Ultraman Day kicks off on Shu.Watch at 10 a.m. PST and will feature a slew of celebrities, special guests, live artwork, giveaways, unboxing videos and more as the world celebrates 54 years of “Ultraman.”

Ultraman, created by Eiji Tsuburaya, the father of the Japanese monster movie genre, was born on July 10, 1966, when Tsuburaya Productions broadcast a memorable stage event called “Ultraman Eve: The Birth of Ultraman,” which was filmed before a live audience in Tokyo. The following week, the TV series “Ultraman” aired on Japanese TV. With Ultraman’s recent return to North America, Ultraman is being honored with an all-day celebration sponsored by Tsuburaya Productions, Elevated Games and Mill Creek Entertainment. Also supporting the event is Ultraman Galaxy, the official North America Ultraman platform spearheaded by Tsuburaya, with support by The Licensing Group and Starlight Runner Entertainment. The Licensing Group Ltd represents Ultraman for licensing, while Starlight Runner is supervising the new creative in America across all media.

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Ultraman Day will feature the following events:

  • A four-hour live show, comprising a number of special events streaming on Shu.Watch, produced by Ultraman licensee Jaron Hinds, CEO of Elevated Games, creators of the new Ultraman: Kaiju Kombat video game.
  • Bin Furuya, well known as the first actor to portray Ultraman, will demonstrate the correct way to do the Spacium Beam, recognized around the world as Ultraman’s signature move.
  • There will also be conversations with Marvel Comics editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, editor Tom Brevoort, and writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom, the team behind Marvel’s upcoming “The Rise of Ultraman” comic series launching in September; a chance to hear legendary toy manufacturer Marty Abrams of Mego Figures; contests, drawings, special merchandise, unboxing videos, and a sneak peak of the Beta Capsule.
  • Special guests will appear throughout the day, such as director of “Ultraman Z” Kiyotaka Taguchi and Koichi Sakamoto, director of “Ultra Galaxy Fight,” plus Ultraman actors Hiroko Sakurai, Susumu Kurobe and Bin Furuya.
  • The launch of the official North America Ultraman Galaxy Store, an opportunity for fans around North America to purchase exclusive Ultraman merchandise online. The store will offer July 10 products with special Ultraman designs and artwork available for a limited time.
  • A look at Mill Creek Entertainment’s The Birth of Ultraman on Blu-ray, which features the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series, in Japanese with English dubbing, and the special and rare pre-premiere that took place July 10, 1966.