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Greater Engagement on Social Media Relates to Higher Box-Office Revenue for Movies, EMU Professor Finds
[June 25, 2014]

Greater Engagement on Social Media Relates to Higher Box-Office Revenue for Movies, EMU Professor Finds

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) YPSILANTI, Mich., June 23 -- Eastern Michigan University issued the following news release: Why do some seemingly compelling movies flounder at the box office, while other, less arresting pictures exceed expectations? One reason could be the degree to which movie studios engage their followers on social media, a recent study by an Eastern Michigan University professor concludes.

The study, conducted by Chong Oh, a professor of computer information systems at the EMU College of Business, found that social media present an opportunity to reach audiences and establish relationships on a personal level that traditional advertising cannot achieve.

Such customer engagement leads to greater word of mouth discussions about a given picture's appeal, and thus relates to increases in attendance and profits, Oh found in his study.

"Generally, word of mouth (WOM) is generated from movie marketing focusing on traditional media channels such as TV, radio spots, billboards, newspaper and event Internet," Oh writes. "However, with the emergence of social media and online networks such as Facebook and Twitter, movie studios not only have more opportunities to reach their audiences, but also face challenges of effectively utilizing these nascent channels' impact and usefulness." For his study, Oh collected Tweet data from automated scripts for all movies released in the 51-day period from Nov. 21, 2012 to Jan. 11, 2013. Movies that did not have any Twitter presence were removed from the final data set, resulting in 115 movies for the analysis.

A total of 952 tweets from movie companies with Twitter accounts and a total of 143,428 tweets sent by the public about the movies were retrieved, in addition to daily movie Twitter profiles for the seven days leading up to each movie's opening weekend release.

Professor Oh then correlated that data with each movie's box office performance, measured in terms of opening-weekend gross revenue and attendance numbers.

The top five movies in this study were, in order, "The Hobbit," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables," "Zero Dark Thirty," and "Rise of the Guardians." The study concluded that movies with higher word of mouth volume are more likely to achieve greater first-weekend revenue. And now, in the digital world, such word of mouth can be dramatically influenced by significant customer engagement, with a key result being better box office performance.

Oh considered Twitter in his study because tweets can be sent from a variety of channels, including desktop and mobile devices, which can lead to a higher intensity of word of mouth discussion.

"Twitter is a natural environment for social exchanges on many topics of interest, particularly motion picture entertainment," Oh writes.

Professor Oh received his Bachelor's of Science and Master's degrees from Brigham Young University, and holds a doctorate in business administration with emphasis in information systems from the University of Utah.

At Eastern Michigan, Oh teaches web development, social media analytics and project management. His research interest is in the interplay between characteristics of social media communities and economic outcomes, such as stock price movements and revenue.

TNS 30TagarumaMar-140625-4777604 30TagarumaMar (c) 2014 Targeted News Service

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