Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Social Media May be Partially Responsible for Box Office Failures

I was reading an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about the lack of ticket sales this summer when I came across an interesting theory for the drop in sales. The article cited several of the common reasons thrown around by Hollywood analysts, most of which I had heard before. However, there was one on the list that I hadn't thought about before: social media.

How would social media account for a drop in ticket sales, you ask? Think about how many people tweet and post Facebook statuses after they see a movie. Word of mouth has always been a major player in the successes and failures of movies on the big screen, but social media takes word of mouth to a new level. Not only does word of mouth travel faster by social media, but there is a lot more of it. People are hearing reviews of movies from people who they might not usually talk to or discuss movies with. Of course movie critics always have their negative words about movies, but movie critics are not the people we know and relate to. If I'm seeing Facebook statuses from people that have similar interests to myself complaining about how terrible a movie was, I'm more likely to hold on to my 10 dollars and wait until it comes out on DVD.

There is no stopping negative opinions about movies from traveling across the social media world, but do you think there is any way the movie industry can counteract the damage?


Samuel Sunmonu said...

The only thing the company could do would be to engage with those who offered a negative review of the movie. By engaging with viewers, you can ask them what they liked about the movie, what they disliked about the movie, and so on. By doing this, the company is showing that it cares about its viewers. Even if the movie was truly terrible, maybe fans could at least look forward to the next movie, with the assurance that the company cares about what they think, and will put out a better product.

Or maybe the movie was actually good but was just poorly received. By engaging with viewers and other potential movie goers, the company has a chance to counteract the negative press and extol the virtues of their film.

I'm not sure if this is a complete solution but it's something I would do.

Michelle Voli said...

You make a good point. In a world currently driven by user generated content and discussions, I think it is very important for companies to engage in their audience's discussions. People are bound to speak their minds about the movies they see, but the producers now also have the ability to join the discussion and respond to their audience's comments through social media. While a response may not necessarily change a person's opinion of the movie, it does show that the producers value their audience's opinions and the producers can use the audience's feedback for future reference.

Thanks for your response!