If Warner Bros. has anything to do with it, our world of digital home entertainment - specifically watching movies from the internet - is about to get a whole lot easier. Back in January, the company, along with 5 of Hollywood's largest studios, bought into the Ultraviolet service and format with hopes of making digital movies playable on all certified devices and providing lifetime rights to movies and shows that can be transferred from one service provider to another.
Then today Warner announced that it will buy Flixster, a highly popular movie discovery application company with more than 25 million worldwide users per month. The company hopes to use the Flixster platform, along with the recently announced consumer application "Digital Everywhere" and its support of the UltraViolet format, to be the ultimate destination for consumers to organize and access their entire digital library from anywhere on the device of their choice, as well as to share recommendations and discover new content. In other words, Warner hopes to build Flixster to become the "iTunes" of movies.
An interesting aside to all this - and we may be burying the lead here - is that Rotten Tomatoes, the most popular movie review aggregate website with more than 12 million unique visitors per month, is owned by Flixster. Though Warner says that both Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will continue to be operated as fully independent entities, doesn't a major studio's ownership of the largest movie critique website seem like a huge conflict of interest? That'd be akin to the Ford Motor Company buying and running Road & Track Magazine. Gong forward we should all be greatly concerned with how Warner might react to its big budget summer tentpole getting slammed by hordes of critics hurling rancid fruit. Rotten Tomatoes, we'll miss you!