Google Claims to Quantify Movie Magic

Monday, 10 Jun 2013 10:02 AM

By James Hirsen

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Digital information is virtually unlimited in the ways in which it can be applied to predict future human behavior.
 
Search information provides data that can be used by sophisticated software in supercomputers to make predictions on all sorts of things, ranging from items that consumers are most likely to buy to how citizens will ultimately cast their votes in a political election.
 
Hollywood executives have been paying close attention to the whole subject of search information data, particularly with regard to potential applications within the entertainment industry.
 
Google, in fact, has been out touting its ability to utilize the information that it has collected to make predictions about which movies are going to be top box-office draws.
 
According to a recently released Google research paper that was posted on the Google Think website, the number of Google and YouTube searches of a movie has the capacity to provide the film industry with a highly accurate predictor mechanism, one that is able to act as an indicator of whether a movie will turn out to be a blockbuster or a bomb.
 
The paper, “Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search,” focuses on the relationship between: 1) the number of searches in which future moviegoers engage concerning a particular movie and 2) the revenue that is ultimately generated by the film in question.
 
The study analyzed 99 movies that were released in 2012. Researchers found a convincing correlation between trailer-related searches conducted on Google and YouTube in the four-week period prior to a given film’s release date and the box-office performance of the same film during its debut weekend.
 
By analyzing the number of Google searches only for a particular movie, predictions on the box-office gross is able to be generated with approximately 70 percent accuracy, according to the study.
 
To supplement the search data, an additional indicator was evaluated in the study, the number of search ad clicks.
 
The Google researchers examined the variables and built a model, using a combination of search volume and the quantity of search ad clicks over the seven-day period prior to the release date.
 
According to the Google study, the model can predict opening weekend numbers with 92 percent accuracy.
 
The number of searches and ad clicks lead to real changes in actual dollars. Researchers found that in the seven days preceding the opening of a movie, if the film receives 250,000 more searches than a similar movie, the film with the higher number of searches will take in up to $4.3 million more over its opening weekend. Correspondingly, if a movie generates 20,000 more paid search ad clicks than a similar film, it will rake in an additional $7.5 million in box-office receipts during its first weekend.
 
However, the data for the model could only be completely extracted one day before the movie’s release. Consequently, the Google team turned its attention to predicting box office, using data that could be accessed one month before the debut weekend. By focusing on searches for movie trailers, researchers discovered an astonishing predictor for box-office performance.
 
By combining trailer search volume on Google with other metrics, such as the franchise status of the movie and the season of release, box-office results can be predicted four weeks before the release date, with a stunning 94 percent rate of accuracy.
 
As would be expected in the high anxiety entertainment business, studio executives are chomping at the bit to be able to use this type of data to shape the most effective marketing campaigns for their soon-to-be-released films.
 
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
 
 
 
 

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