Rotten Tomatoes Gives TV Equal Billing in Homepage Redo

Rotten Tomatoes, the website known for rating movies, is giving television equal billing, just in time for the fall season.

A new homepage introduced yesterday puts critics’ ratings for the first season of Fox’s “Gotham” and ABC’s “Black-ish” alongside motion pictures such as Sony’s “The Equalizer” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

The changes are designed to attract new readers and advertisers. Adding ratings for episodes of dozens of shows and recaps of past seasons will encourage people to check the site before deciding whether to watch a program. That will also entice networks to buy advertisements promoting a specific show and its airtime -- what’s called a tune-in advertisement.

“Tune-in is the name of the game,” Matt Atchity, editor-in-chief of Rotten Tomatoes, said in an interview. “This certainly opens us up to a larger pool of advertisers.”

Some 25 million people flock to Rotten Tomatoes monthly for help choosing movies to see, according to the company, which cited data from Omniture. The site boils reviews into a single data point: the percentage of critics who rate a film favorably. Owned by Time Warner Inc., Rotten Tomatoes began rating TV shows last September, a nod to the quality of programming and the fans who crave information.

“The Rotten Tomatoes number gets quoted about new movie releases, and we’re hoping we get there on TV shows as well,” Atchity said. “With TV, people have a very emotional, personal relationship with the characters. People sit around and talk about them like family members.”

As part of the change, Burbank, California-based Rotten Tomatoes is expanding its coverage of television, providing ratings for more shows and episodes, along with hosting videos related to programs on the air.

Traffic at the website is up 11 percent from a year earlier, based on monthly visitors, according to data from ComScore Inc. provided by the company. Rotten Tomatoes said advertising revenue has increased almost $3 million in the past year, without being more specific, and credits some of that to the push into television.