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Rotten Tomatoes is dramatically changing its Audience Score methodology for movies: The site will now display aggregate ratings that include only users who can prove they’ve bought a ticket to see it in a theater.
It’s another troll-fighting move by Rotten Tomatoes, designed to curb coordinated “review bombs” aimed at pushing down the Audience Score for films that certain bad-faith actors dislike.
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But it’s also a way for Fandango, which owns Rotten Tomatoes, to sell more tickets — initially, the only way users can have their ratings count toward the Audience Score will be through a Fandango purchase.
Fandango insists that selling tickets was not the primary driver of the Audience Score change, noting that it has deals with AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres to participate in the program to let their customers verify their ticket purchases on Rotten Tomatoes sometime later this year.
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Asked if the change to Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score system was really about selling more tickets through Fandango, chief marketing officer Lori Pantel responded, “Absolutely not. We’re open to any partner that wants to come on board.” She said decision for the change came out of research the company conducted over the last year showing that Rotten Tomatoes users “want more transparency.”
As for why Fandango is making the change to Rotten Tomatoes movie Audience Scores now — instead of waiting until more exhibitor partners besides are integrated — Pantel said, “It’s about scale and expediency as...
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