Rotten Tomatoes launches television channel to draw new users

Rotten Tomatoes is launching a TV channel with original programming that focuses on the entertainment industry. PHOTO: ROTTEN TOMATOES/FACEBOOK

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - Rotten Tomatoes, a website famous for collecting reviews of movies and shows, is looking to be known for something else: Its own content.

The company is launching a TV channel with original programming that focuses on the entertainment industry, aiming to broaden its appeal.

The channel will first appear on Roku and include 10 shows, spanning topics such as upcoming movies, film-maker interviews and the ranking of shows. The channel will later appear on Peacock, the streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, and Xumo TV.

Rotten Tomatoes, sold to online ticket seller Fandango by Warner Bros in 2016, is trying to capitalise on the explosion of streaming content. With so many viewing options on Netflix and other services, there is more demand for ways to find the best material.

Rotten Tomatoes - and its new channel - aims to fill that need, said Mr Sandro Corsaro, the company's senior vice-president and chief creative officer.

"Fifteen years ago, you could pretty much watch what you wanted to watch; there were three or four must-see shows," he said in an interview. Nowadays, "you need help. You need tools to decide to create that watch list".

Visits to Rotten Tomatoes' website jumped over the past year as more people stayed home and consumed entertainment on their sofas.

Unique visitors to the site's streaming section rose 28 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier to more than 62 million, while the number of visitors that clicked on editorial content more than doubled to reach 28.5 million people.

One show on the new channel will count down the best movies and series, while another will feature critics and fans debating popular content. The lineup will also include a programme where actors and filmmakers respond to their harshest critiques - for comedic effect.

Rotten Tomatoes already has its own production studio and will create the shows in-house, the company said. Its parent, Fandango, is part of Comcast's NBCUniversal. AT&T's Warner Bros remains a minority owner.

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