By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
Warner Brothers recently acquired Flixster in a move to streamline its attempts to allow users to experience WB product on any and every platform. Which is a perfectly smart business move that will potentially help consumers as much as it will help the WB. The only problem is that Flixster itself also owns Rotten Tomatoes.
As perhaps the largest review aggregate, Rotten Tomatoes is a pretty important tool for moviegoers, compiling as it does all the major reviews of a film (as well as the not so major) and turning that into an easy to digest critical consensus. Deadline's article on the acquisition barely mentioned Rotten Tomatoes let alone the possible ramifications of the aggregate being owned by a major movie studio. The AV Club reported the news in a decidedly funny fashion but nonetheless raised some real issues.
Specifically, will WB use the deal to keep bad reviews of their films minimized? Will they use Rotten Tomatoes as a gigantic advertisement for their product? WB has of course assured the media that they will allow Rotten Tomatoes to be wholly independent but given the historical precedence of the government blocking studios from doing things like owning theater chains it would seem that people don't have a lot of trust in studios to play fair.