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Movie Analytics, a great business prospect

  • By admin
  • October 28, 2013

Movie Analytics, a great business prospect

Fortunately or unfortunately, films are no longer made for the sake of art, philosophy or content. Most of the film-making nowadays is done keeping in view of its revenue-earning capacity. “Money” is the thing that primarily plays on the mind before making a film as well as after it. Hence, arise so many advertisements, promotionals, discussions, interviews, videos, trailers, posters, hoardings, gossips, scandals et al during the pre-release phase of a film. But, even after all these, only a few movies find commercial success. Very recently, Bollywood has seen the crashing down of the hugely-talked about “Besharam”, while Hollywood has witnessed last year the heavy flop called “John Carter”.

Disney had invested a huge sum of $275 million on “John Carter”, heading to a loss of $80-120 million as the film fell flat on its face. It is till date the biggest commercial flop in the history of cinema. David Cox of The Guardian commented, “Since 1995, six substantial films about Mars have proved commercial flops. Three of them were actually made by Disney. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the red planet’s big-screen day is done, for understandable cosmological reasons.” Disney had primarily relied on intuition while gauging the prospective returns of the film. Likewise, several big-budget films have failed in the past and have appalled the film industry.

But, today, whether ‘Krrish 3’ or the next Spiderman movie is going to be a box office hit or not can be quite easily told – even before the film-making process has actually started – with certainty. No, it’s not only the “gut feeling” of the producers or the directors anymore that’s working behind these sure forecasts. It is the use of what we call “predictive analytics”. “Predictive Analytics” solves this problem to a great extent. It makes more sense to use statistical data and pure mathematical results to foresee the prospects of a film. The fast rate of technological progress and the availability of a large amount of data enable the film makers of today to optimize their budget and make a near-perfect prediction about the commercial performance of the film. This also helps the producers to secure their financial investments, the promoters to take the proper sale strategies and the sponsor people to have an apriori idea of the possible economic impacts. The data can be collected on various aspects of a film: genre, subject, cast-crew, date of release, social media feedback etc.

Scott Schlesinger explains this well in the following excerpt from an article, “Analytics allow studios to go beyond simple focus groups or established financial modeling to determine how audiences might respond to a given film. It’s all about identifying patterns in past data, melding them with current data points that are readily available, and then taking action to improve business performance. To effectively leverage historical data, it is vital to look at the past performance of a large volume of films as the basis for revenue forecasts and in the development of any forward-looking financial plans for a particular film. Further, it is important to base any analysis on an unbiased and robust assessment of factors (both quantitative and qualitative) that have been found to be statistically significant in predicting the economic performance of motion pictures. This could include anything from genre to budget, release date, release location, talent, type of marketing and amount of marketing spend, etc. Individually, they could all impact the revenue outcome — and influence each other.”

People in the film industry are beginning to rely on analytics increasingly to know if they should make a certain investment or not. In fact, there’s high possibility of a point of time when data directories will be maintained and programs will be developed to promptly generate “movie formulae” that are sure to beget large commercial gains. As Ritesh Mohan Srivastava (Analytics India Magazine) will agree with me, there is enormous scope in this not-yet-fully-explored field. Yes, there is still no firm that completely specializes in Movie or Media or Entertainment Analytics. So, the first firm to realize this will undoubtedly be an immense gainer.

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