News

We Just Updated Our Tomatometer Critics Criteria

The changes will see new platforms and hundreds of new voices added to the Tomatometer.

by | August 28, 2018 | Comments

Recently added Tomatometer-approved critics (clockwise from top left): Clarisse Loughrey, Bernard Boo, Joelle Monique, Jacob Oller, Sandie Angulo Chen, Jane Crowther, Lorraine Ali, Robert Daniels

Ever wondered how the Tomatometer gets made? Well, this week we’re peeling back the layers of the onion ­– and apologizing for our mixed fruit-and-veg metaphors – to give you a Fresh look at the process, and some changes we’re making to it.

Keen followers of Rotten Tomatoes probably know how we get Tomatometer scores for movies and TV shows, but for the uninitiated, here’s a quick rundown: When a movie comes out, we collect Tomatometer-approved critics’ reviews of that movie, note which are Fresh and which are Rotten (that’s RT speak for positive and negative), and calculate the overall percentage of reviews that are Fresh. This is the movie’s Tomatometer score. The same goes for TV and streaming shows, though we also calculate season and episode scores. ­You can find out more about the process, and things like our Certified Fresh designation, here.

Who are these critics, though? And how do we select which critics to include when generating the Tomatometer? That’s the question we’ve addressed with our refreshed Critics Criteria.

When Rotten Tomatoes began, just over 20 years ago, the media landscape was a much different place – weekend newspapers were fat with ads, the iPhone was but a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, YouTube was six years away from disrupting basically everything, Netflix was snail-mailing DVDs to early adopters, and Siskel and Ebert were still on the air every week wagging their kingmaking thumbs. Rotten Tomatoes was conceived in that era, and our first set of criteria for the critics whose reviews we would count towards the Tomatometer reflected it. There was an emphasis on major publications and market-leading broadcasters, on staff positions and broad audience reach.

In the intervening decades, a lot has changed. By some estimates, the total daily circulation of newspapers in America has fallen by half, and the size of the newspaper workforce has been reduced by more than a third with the subsequent drop in revenue; broadcast TV and radio stations have faced similar challenges with the rise of cable, online news, streaming, podcasts, and YouTube. Often, the Arts Desk has been the first place to suffer cuts when things get tough – traditional full-time arts journalism jobs, let alone full-time working critics, are a rarity today.

At the same time, new kinds of critics emerged, innovative thinkers and commentators who have seized on new platforms, developed their own sites and publications, or forged strong freelance careers, to have their voices heard. Many of these voices went unheard when traditional media was at its dominant prime, and too many still go unheard today.

In revamping our Critics Criteria, we sought to bring the criteria into better alignment with the way media works today, to promote the inclusion of more voices that reflect the varied groups of people who consume entertainment, and to maintain the high standards we’ve always set for inclusion in the group of Tomatometer-approved critics.

When assessing applications from those wishing to be a Tomatometer-approved critic, or a Tomatometer-approved publication, we now take into consideration four key values as well as a revised set of eligibility requirements. These values are Insight, Audience, Quality, and Dedication, and you can find a full breakdown of each value here.

On our critics page, you can meet some of the critics who embody these values, among them more than 200 critics who have been Tomatometer-approved as of today. And stay tuned, because we will be adding hundreds more as the year goes on. We’ll be regularly updating the Critic Spotlight section of the page with new critic profiles, including links to their work and social media profiles – you may just find your next favorite podcaster, writer, or vlogger there.

One key thing to note on the value of “Audience” is that while we still seek critics and publications with a wide reach, we also give weight to those applicants whose coverage may be less wide-reaching, but which serves underrepresented groups. Similarly, elements of our eligibility requirements that in the past proved obstacles for some insightful and dedicated self-published individuals and freelancers have been rethought to align with the way many are working today. Our requirements have also been updated to reflect the growing number of platforms and different types of media on which people are sharing their movie and TV reviews.

One thing that hasn’t changed is our dedication to quality film and TV criticism, held to high standards, and to ensuring the integrity of the Tomatometer and its usefulness for movie and TV fans.

You can find out more about Tomatometer-approved critics here, and apply to become one here.

Tag Cloud

Quiz Cosplay mutant Bravo Winners Disney Channel spy thriller CNN Lionsgate Paramount OWN Marathons PaleyFest Awards award winner streaming facebook jamie lee curtis E3 Mary poppins Writers Guild of America TIFF DC Comics diversity Winter TV Reality Fantasy Tumblr binge Creative Arts Emmys what to watch Spike TV Land adaptation Disney Polls and Games Mary Tyler Moore Awards Tour NYCC Emmys talk show Country Captain marvel Walt Disney Pictures Trophy Talk Dark Horse Comics Sundance Now ABC Oscars Amazon Prime LGBTQ Premiere Dates Fox News blaxploitation 24 frames festivals Logo Brie Larson Ghostbusters USA Network golden globes Star Wars Rom-Com zombies American Society of Cinematographers Red Carpet Music 2015 Set visit Interview crime thriller Comics on TV Columbia Pictures politics docudrama Super Bowl transformers BET cooking IFC HBO psycho discovery Star Trek SDCC Sundance 21st Century Fox San Diego Comic-Con YouTube Red 007 Superheroe WGN crime cops dceu technology A&E ESPN Countdown Action composers social media President BBC The Arrangement TCA 2017 Pirates unscripted Character Guide travel crime drama harry potter mockumentary Thanksgiving Martial Arts Spectrum Originals See It Skip It Warner Bros. ABC Family Hulu thriller 45 Marvel First Look Election medical drama GLAAD CW Seed Watching Series Sneak Peek DC streaming service AMC Extras Song of Ice and Fire VH1 Mary Poppins Returns Musicals MSNBC political drama Starz Holidays FXX Ellie Kemper anime Adult Swim cults New York Comic Con National Geographic Epix anthology Showtime Nat Geo CBS All Access TLC robots zombie Trailer MCU comiccon Ovation based on movie dramedy E! true crime Summer aliens cats Spring TV Rocky APB Pixar justice league Lucasfilm Universal 2018 SXSW CBS crossover Valentine's Day sequel Syfy 2019 2016 TruTV Schedule Fall TV singing competition TCM Shudder Year in Review 20th Century Fox Food Network GIFs MTV vampires Trivia Black Mirror Pop Rock Drama Western finale FX Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Amazon casting Lifetime Apple Best and Worst romance DGA Podcast TBS NBC Sci-Fi supernatural Animation Esquire war Musical X-Men adventure RT History Reality Competition DC Universe YA BBC America FOX SundanceTV TCA Netflix Infographic sports ratings IFC Films 2017 green book DirecTV Mindy Kaling Kids & Family TV Britbox TNT ITV Photos Nominations historical drama Shondaland boxoffice Teen biography Horror Comedy Central dc History spider-man Chilling Adventures of Sabrina VICE The CW Grammys doctor who sitcom hist period drama serial killer Masterpiece Cartoon Network Tomatazos Certified Fresh television Mystery Biopics Superheroes PBS Toys Freeform Calendar Anna Paquin miniseries CMT Video Games GoT Sony Pictures Comedy Opinion comic USA El Rey science fiction Nickelodeon Acorn TV Christmas police drama YouTube Premium Comic Book Box Office Paramount Network cinemax Crackle