New Research Shows Online Movie Buzz is a Good Predictor of Box Office Success
— February 19, 2015
Professors C. Samuel Craig and William Greene of NYU Stern, and Anthony Versaci of AIG, encourage studio execs to monitor “e-buzz” prior to a film’s release to inform marketing efforts.
The research team studied opening-weekend box office revenue and online chatter on film-specific websites (e.g., Fandango and TrailerAddict) for 62 wide-released films over a six-month period. Key insights from the authors include:
- Higher levels of electronic word-of-mouth (e-WOM) on a particular film at least three weeks prior to its release, are predictive of success on opening weekend.
- The most important factors in generating pre-release online buzz about a film are:
- Size of the film’s budget – big-budget films generate more online buzz
- Whether it was a sequel – sequels enjoy a higher base level of buzz than non-sequels
- Whether it was a “horror” or an “action” film – both genres lead to greater awareness of a film and higher intention to watch the movie
- Contrary to popular belief, a film’s “star power” and rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) were not related to opening weekend revenues.
The article, "E-Word of Mouth: Early Predictor of Audience Engagement – How Pre-Release ‘E-WOM’ Drives Box-Office Outcomes of Movies,” will appear in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research.
To speak with the authors, please contact them directly: Samuel Craig, 212-998-0555, firstname.lastname@example.org; William Greene, 212-998-0876, email@example.com; or contact Carolyn Ritter in NYU Stern’s Office of Public Affairs at 212-998-0624 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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