Flixter Buys Rotten Tomatoes

Years ago, I remember using a little site called Flixter that let users rate movies, and thinking to myself that it would likely never take off. I mean, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) had a much larger sample of users to draw from, and it didn't seem like Flixter would ever be able to catch up. Enter Facebook, and their open app api. It seemed like overnight every one of my facebook friends had their favorite movies listed and rated using the Flixter app. Overnight Flixter became a competitor in the online movie space. It also helps that they jumped on the iPhone app bandwagon very eary on and quickly became the go-to app for movie showtimes, ratings, and ticket purchasing.

So when I was sent a link from Mashable announcing that Flixter was going to acquire Rotten Tomatoes from the Fox-owned IGN Entertainment, I was surprised but not shocked. IGN will get minority equity stake in Flixster, and both sites will continue to operate as separate properties, although it is expected that we'll start seeing data more integrated across the two.

It makes sense. While Rotten Tomatoes provides an overview of the critical reception for a movie, Flixter focuses on the other users in the community, and more specifically, your friends. Combining the data from these two websites will likely result in more interesting recommendations.

Many say that film criticism is a dying art form. With social networking recommendation services like Flixter and Netflix, moviegoers have instead turned their attention to their friends and the community for film recommendations. I can imagine that in the future Flixter will allow you to see what critics you most agree with, which will hopefully send more traffic to these reviews. I've also found the user ratings on Rotten Tomatoes to be somewhat lacking. Hopefully they will integrate Flixter user ratings into the site.

Read the full press release below:

SAN FRANCISCO – Flixster Inc., producer of the world's largest online movie community at www.Flixster.com, today announced that it has acquired Rotten Tomatoes from IGN Entertainment. IGN, a division of News Corporation, will receive a minority equity stake in Flixster as part of the acquisition. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The combination of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes reaches a huge global movie audience of an estimated 30 million monthly visitors worldwide across multiple platforms: on the Internet, through web-based social networks, and via mobile apps for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices.

Both Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will continue to be available to movie fans as individual properties. Together, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes give movie audiences an unprecedented total picture of movie trends and opinions, combining half a million reviews from leading critics with 2.3 billion user ratings and reviews.

"To use movie terminology, we think this is a blockbuster double-bill," said Joe Greenstein, co-founder and CEO of Flixster. "It's a huge step forward in our goal of connecting users to their own personalized world of movies on any platform they choose. We can't think of a better pairing for movie fans and our technology partners."

Flixster's president and COO Steve Polsky added, "Rotten Tomatoes has built a fantastically well-known brand that moviegoers trust when making their decisions. Combined with Flixster's social networking and word-of-mouth, we're creating the leading movie destination on the Internet."

"Joining Rotten Tomatoes with Flixster creates a company that can dominate the online movie category," said Roy Bahat, president of IGN Entertainment, who will join Flixster's board of directors as an observer. "This also enables IGN to focus on serving the male 18-to-34 audience – especially videogamers – and the advertisers looking to reach them."

Flixster already operates the leading embedded movie applications on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, iGoogle, and for the iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry and Palm Pre. Together, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will be the most comprehensive, one-stop movie-information provider for both end users and technology partners, including: a database of more than 250,000 movies; 2.3 billion user reviews; 500,000 critic reviews; more than 20,000 trailers and videos; the well-known Tomatometer™ and Flixster Scores; unique movie news and editorial content; category-leading social-networking features; localized movie showtime information; theater maps; and online ticketing.

Prior to the acquisition, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes partnered in several areas, including a recent deal that syndicates critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes to Flixster's online movie community, both on the Web and via Flixster's mobile apps.

Since its inception in early 2006, Flixster has rapidly become the Web's largest community for movie fans, with more than 20 million monthly users.

As the web's leading aggregator of reviews from top movie critics, Rotten Tomatoes offers the most comprehensive guide to movies, and its Tomatometer™ rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film critics – is a trusted measurement of movie quality for millions of moviegoers. The site has also seen tremendous year-over year growth, with its monthly unique user base rising on average nearly 40 percent in each of the past five months compared to the same months in 2008.

The deal follows a series of moves by IGN Entertainment to refocus its efforts on building out its suite of game-related and men's-lifestyle offerings. The company recently launched Game On, a videogames-dedicated portal on MSN, and its network of sites currently reaches the most concentrated audience of males 18 to 34 and technology influencers on the Web today.

About Flixster

At home or on the go, Flixster provides audiences with access to local theaters and showtimes, trailers and quizzers, plus the ability to post reviews and exchange opinions with their friends – and the entire worldwide Flixster community. Flixster users have posted more than 2.3 billion reviews and have created literally hundreds of thousands of movie quizzes. Flixster's online homepage is at www.flixster.com, and its "Movies" application is installed on more than 20 percent of iPhones in the U.S. Flixster applications are also available for the Blackberry, Palm Pre and for Android-powered mobile devices. The privately held Flixster Inc. is based in San Francisco, with representatives in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle.

About IGN Entertainment

IGN Entertainment, a unit of News Corporation, is the leading Internet media and services provider focused on the videogame and entertainment enthusiast markets. Collectively, IGN's properties reached more than 47.5 million unique users worldwide in October 2009, according to Internet audience measurement firm comScore Media Matrix. IGN's network of videogame-related properties (IGN.com, GameSpy, FilePlanet, TeamXbox, Direct2Drive and others) is one of the Web's leading videogame information destinations. IGN also owns the leading male lifestyle website AskMen.com. In addition, IGN provides technology for online game play in videogames. IGN is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, with offices across North America, Europe and Australia.