Warner Bros. buys Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes? Hmmm

I don't think too many of us are fans of corporate mergers and acquisitions in general, giving the behemoths even more power, but there's something in particular about this latest bit of news that just seems a touch...wrong.

Warner Bros. has bought #1 movie app Flixster, and along with it, premiere movie review site RottenTomatoes. The press release is mostly about Flixster, and what Warners plans to do with it.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will utilize the Flixster brand and technical expertise to launch a number of initiatives designed to grow digital content ownership, including the recently announced consumer application “Digital Everywhere.” This studio-agnostic application will be the ultimate destination for consumers to organize and access their entire digital library from anywhere on the device of their choice, as well as to share recommendations and discover new content. The Flixster acquisition and “Digital Everywhere,” combined with the Studio’s support of the UltraViolet format are all part of an overall strategy to give consumers even more freedom, utility and value for their digital purchases.

But it's the ownership of RottenTomatoes that just seems a little bit....off. It's hard to deny that the site has a pretty significant impact on the box office, with its percentages often making or breaking an upcoming film (albeit, at times it doesn't matter, most notably with TRANSFORMERS movies it seems).

I guess it can be argued that the site is remaining independently operated and individual critics are not owned by Warners, meaning the end score SHOULD be the same if reviews are tallied correctly, but it's just a little disconcerting knowing that an actual studio owns the site many trust to tell them if a particular movie is good or not.

What do you make of this? Non-issue or conflict of interest?

Extra Tidbit: Though once upon a time, IGN owned RT, News Corp owned IGN and also Fox, so I guess it's sort of similar. Another fun fact is that Disney owned Siskel and Ebert's show when it aired.
Source: Deadline



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