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Episode 06: And Now, Our Feature Presentation

“Moneyball the movies.”

Andrew talks with special guest Sal Gionfriddo, a UX Engineer at Parse.ly, about a new data set showing how internet attention for films relates to box office success. Plus, they cover platforms’ role in content policing, the growth of voice assistants, Reddit headline browsing, and Spotify’s IPO.

“There is a real-world connection between the online web attention and the box office returns.” —Sal Gionfriddo

Industry news that caught our attention:

1:40 – Is content policing a responsibility for platforms?

4:53 – How reducing friction relates to the growth of voice-activated digital assistants.

Data that held our attention:

7:51 – What is Parse.ly’s Insights team?

9:13 – How the volume of reader data (and a hunch) drove the Insights team to study correlations between trends in online attention for movies and box office success.

10:49 – Film studios have proxy methods, like surveys and social media monitoring, to understand what audiences care about before movies are released. Attention data provides deeper insight into what resonates with audiences.

“You can actually trick yourself into thinking that you are getting great coverage and lots of people are paying attention, but unless you’re looking at the actual attention signal itself, you don’t know if that’s true.” —Sal Gionfriddo

13:46 – How metrics film studios currently use to guide marketing efforts ahead of release compare to web attention as a metric.

“We found that the [film studio] print and advertising spend was actually pretty poorly coordinated with the box office returns, at least relative to web attention.” —Sal Gionfriddo

“It’s a logical thesis but it’s actually a little bit validated in data that people tend to only actually go and visit movies if they’ve read something about it online first. It’s kind of like a leading indicator.” —Andrew Montalenti

18:17 – How does online attention for movies vary by geography and type (ex. mainstream vs. indie)?

“We found above average attention for indie films in urban areas.” —Sal Gionfriddo

22:28 – What role does attention play in the success of franchises like Star Wars compared to indie films like Lady Bird?

26:22 – Studios are increasingly using data to “Moneyball” films and help them reach a critical mass of viewership by opening weekend.

30:32 – Movie recommendations from the top 10 list.

+1 or -1? Quick takes:

32:34 – Reddit headline browsing

35:04 – Spotify filing for an IPO

Show notes:

This episode was recorded on January 3, 2018.