Rotten Tomatoes Restricts Default Audience Scores to Verified Ticket Buyers
Rotten Tomatoes has announced that it is changing its methodology for allowing Audience Scores on the site following a persistent problem with troll reviews and ratings brigades. The site’s standard user rating will now be primarily comprised of reviewers who’ve purchased tickets via Fandango, which owns Rotten Tomatoes.
Fandango insists that boosting ticket purchases was not the primary driver of the Audience Score change, noting that it has upcoming deals with AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres to participate in the program to let their customers verify ticket purchases on Rotten Tomatoes sometime later in the year.
When asked about this troubling development, chief marketing officer Lori Pantel replied, “Absolutely not. We’re open to any partner that wants to come on board.” She reinforced the notion that the change came on the heels of research the company conducted over the past year showing that Rotten Tomatoes users “want more transparency.”
Fandango sees this as an opportunity to “increase confidence in the Audience Score,” said Greg Ferris, the company’s VP of product. “We think this provides more information, more transparency and more consumer confidence around the score itself,” Ferris added, also saying, “The byproduct of dissuading bad actors from influencing fan sentiment is certainly part of this.”
Of course, none of these reasons or statements need to be mutually exclusive. Does Fandango want to boost the number of ticket sales made through their platform? Yes. Does Rotten Tomatoes want to boost the integrity of their audience scores? Yes. Will this reduce the number of troll reviews and ratings brigades? Yes and yes.
Starting today, all new releases going forward will be subject to the same requirement that users confirm a ticket purchase before their ratings count toward the “verified” displayed Audience Score. However, viewer scores for previous movies won’t change.