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Emerson College Study: Twitter Shows How Buzz Influences Movies
Both Tweet Sentiment & Tweet Rate Are Strong Indicators of Performance By PR Newswire

BOSTON, July 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A study conducted as part of a School of Communication research course at Emerson College found that Twitter could demonstrate how buzz influences movies. Specifically, researchers found that both tweet sentiment and tweet rate were strongly correlated with movie revenue.

Most research to date has focused on using social media as a predictive model such as predicting changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and forecasting a movie's opening weekend box office revenue. However, this research focused on the role of buzz after a movie's release. To that end, the first part of the study confirmed the influence of word of mouth on movies through sentiment analysis on Twitter.

In particular, hashtags used by studios to promote their films were used to define a pool of tweets related to these movies. This study consisted of manually coding a sample of thousands of tweets for 11 movies over their first four weeks in the fall of 2017. Once the tweets were coded, researchers then compared the average weekly sentiments with the average weekly percentage change in revenue for each movie. Exhibit 1 illustrates the relationship between hashtags and revenue for each of the 11 movies.

The second part of this study was conducted to evaluate the effect of tweet rate after a movie's release and its relationship to sentiment analysis. This study entailed manually coding a sample of thousands of tweets for 8 movies over their first four weeks in the spring of 2017. After coding the tweets, the number of relevant tweets per week for each movie was determined and this number was compared with the weekly change in gross revenue. Exhibit 2 shows the strong positive relationship between tweet rate and revenue for the 26 weeks that were evaluated.

"These studies indicate how buzz can influence movies in two ways," said Owen Eagan, an Executive-in-Residence in the Department of Communication Studies. "They both offer more evidence of the influence of word of mouth on movies and that the amount of buzz about a movie can affect its performance even after its release."

A sample of 23,600 tweets from a universe of 1,272,231 tweets were manually coded for this study. To request a copy of the study, please contact Owen Eagan at [email protected]du.

Contact: Owen Eagan                                                                                    


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