Rotten Tomatoes has become an invaluable source for many moviegoers, but the review aggregator is now making some major changes to the way it handles reviews. The website that compiles movie and TV reviews today has announced that it is changing the criteria by which critics become part of the Tomatometer, which will have the effect of adding a lot more diversity to the collection of reviews and increasing the volume of reviews in a big way.
The changes to Rotten Tomatoes process come in two major forms. First, being a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic was previously primarily dependent on what publication a review was written for. However, going forward, a film or TV critic will be considered on an individual basis and their body of work will be taken into account. Meaning that a lot more critics that have been reviewing media for a long time, but might not be currently working for major outlets, will begin to be included on the site.
The second major change is that the definition of what constitutes a film review is being expanded. Previously, Rotten Tomatoes only accepted written reviews, but starting now, video reviews, such as the many YouTube based critics, or reviews that are part of podcasts also have the potential to be part of Rotten Tomatoes.
This last point seems long overdue. A lot of movie criticism happens on video and in podcasts and many of the people doing that work have been doing it as long or longer than some of the print media websites. It seems strange to have restricted them simply due to the medium the review took.
In addition to the changes to the Rotten Tomatoes website, the organization has also announced a new $100,000 grant designed to help film critics attend film festivals. The cost of attending major events can be beyond what many individuals or small organizations can handle, and the grant will help shoulder those costs. $25,000 has been given to the American Friends of TIFF to help some of those critics attend the Toronto International Film Festival.
When it comes to film criticism, the more the merrier. While many have been critical of review aggregation sites like Rotten Tomatoes for distilling all reviews down to a simple percentage, the more varied the people and the more varied the opinions, the more meaningful that number is. What's more, for the people who do drill down into the individual reviews to get a better sense of the opinions, Rotten Tomatoes will now introduce more movie fans to voices they might not otherwise have been made aware.
Rotten Tomatoes says it's already added 200 new critics to the site and many more are certain to be added in the coming months. This will likely only make Rotten Tomatoes a bigger deal going forward, which is good news for some and bad news for others.