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News Corp. Tosses Rotten Tomatoes


Flixster creates a film review super brand.

Perhaps in an effort to dodge a few moldy bits of produce itself, News Corp. (NWS) has sold off its film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to the online film community Flixster.

News Corp. originally acquired Rotten Tomatoes in 2005 as part of the male-targeted IGN Entertainment blog channel it bought for $650 million. Remaining under News Corp's control are IGN sites like GameSpy and AskMen.

Although financial terms weren't disclosed, IGN will be gaining a "substantial minority" stake in Flixster, and IGN president Roy Bahat will sign on as an observer on Flixster's board of directors. Rotten Tomatoes' 13-person team will join Flixster's 35 employees in the latter's Portrero Hill district office in San Francisco.

Both sites will run independently, Flixster CEO Joe Greenstein assured, but together will provide a formidable opponent to Amazon's (AMZN) and Yahoo Movies (YHOO), he told the San Francisco Chronicle. And at a combined total of roughly 30 million visitors per month, Greenstein's aim doesn't seem too unreasonable.

The two sites already share content with each other, including syndicated reviews, but the acquisition will open up more blended features. Currently, Flixster has mobile apps available on the iPhone (AAPL) and Android (GOOG) platforms -- both with an ability to manage Netflix (NFLX) queues -- so the increased integration comes as quite a boon to movie fans on the go.

Creating a film review super brand, the deal combines Rotten Tomatoes' collection of reviews written by film critics along with Flixster's user-based reviews similar to Yelp or UrbanSpoon -- providing readers with opinions from both peers and professionals. In fact, Flixster's partnership with Rovi Corp. (ROVI) -- which allows "access to several movie databases," Greenstein told the Chronicle -- gives the site an all-encompassing appeal to movie fans.
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