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Instead of waiting to pick up a copy of the Friday newspaper to read what critics have to say about new releases at the theater, fans have moved their attention online.

Just as many people have switched from traditional media to the online world to find relevant news and up to date information on weather and sports, entertainment fans have found the Internet as meaningful for their needs too.

Hollywood Reporter quoted a New Line Cinema executive who stated the highly coveted 13-34 age demographic goes online for movie reviews and information at a 90 percent clip.

The article cites two online review aggregators, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, which have vastly different approaches to the process of gathering reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes has benefited greatly from its model, which collects reviews from prominent or individual reviewers for films spanning the gamut from single-screen art house showings to the thousands of screens that carry a blockbuster like the Lord of the Rings films.

The article noted Rotten Tomatoes’ place online with regards to visitors and traffic:

Revenue is up because ad sales are skyrocketing on the site. While nowhere near as big as IMDb.com (17.5 million unique visitors per month as of December) or YahooMovies.com (10.7 million), according to Nielsen//NetRatings, RottenTomatoes (3.6 million) is bigger than iFilm.com (2.76 million), EOnline.com (2.73 million) and Harry Knowles’ fanboy site, aint-it-cool-news.com (623,000).


IGN.com bought Rotten Tomatoes for $10 million in 2004; IGN now belongs to News Corp, which purchased the company during its spending spree for online properties. Now, the site draws the likes of Sony, which purchased all the ad space on Rotten Tomatoes for a three-day period to promote its teen targeted film, “Thumbsucker.”

CNet picked up Metacritic in 2005. The site has a smaller base of reviewers, about 40 in number, which it aggregates, the article said. Metacritic co-founder Marc Doyle explained why to the Reporter:

Co-founder Doyle says the site limits itself to about 40 reputable critics, including those from Slate, Salon and Reelview. “We were born in the era of the David Manning invented-critic scandal,” he says. “We want users to know who the critics are. We stick to a set number that we follow every week rather than anyone who is not reliably professional. With the aggregation process you get a span of opinion; it’s more democratic. Without the Internet, it would not be possible.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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