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Warner Bros. could buy Flixster in yet another social-media move

FlixsterHomepage

Warner Bros. is in advanced talksto buy the social networking and movie ratings website Flixster.

Ben Fritz, a Times reporter covering the movie industry, has found out that the Time Warner-owned studio could pay close to $90 million in cash for Flixster.

Film fans can rate movies on Flixster, as well as offer their take on movies using various social networking tools and also through popular smartphone apps.

From Fritz's report on The Times' Company Town blog:

Should the purchase close, it would give Warner Bros. access to an audience of more than 20 million registered users as it seeks new ways to promote and distribute its movies online. Warner recently became the first studio to start renting movies through the social network Facebook. On Monday the studio added five films, including two "Harry Potter" sequels, "Inception," "Life as We Know It" and "Yogi Bear," to its initial Facebook offering, "The Dark Knight."

Because Flixster's primary business is a database of billions of movie ratings, its potential ownership by Hollywood's largest studio could cause a conflict in the eyes of consumers. A person close to Warner said that separating that side of the business from any other initiatives the studio pursues on Flixster would be critical following an acquisition.

Flixster also owns one of its biggest competitors, Rotten Tomatoes, which it received last year when it bought the movie ratings site in a move that resulted in it giving up 20% of its shares to News Corp., which owns the studio 20th Century Fox, the Wall Street Journal and MySpace, Fritz reported.

To read Fritz's full report on the talks between Warner Bros. and Flixster, head over to Company Town.

RELATED:

Facebook streams 'The Dark Knight' in a first step to challenge Netflix, Apple, Hulu

Warner Bros. turns 'Inception' and 'The Dark Knight' movies into iPad, iPhone apps

Amazon launches streaming video subscriptions in a challenge to Netflix, Hulu

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

 
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