Peer Buzz Trumps Pro Critics For Moviegoers

By Robert Marich
   Sept. 30, 2009 – TV commercials and in-theater film trailers are still king of movie marketing, but new media is gaining fast and is highly important once filmgoers roll up their sleeves to investigate specific titles of interest, says a consumer survey from film marketing consultant Gordon Paddison.
   Most moviegoers gain first awareness of upcoming releases from in-theater trailers (70%) and TV commercials (73%),” notes the report Moviegoers 2010. “Word-of-mouth (46%) and the Internet (44%) are gaining in importance and now rank ahead of such traditional methods of advertising as billboards and newspaper advertising.”
   The report adds, “A movie’s storyline remains a critical movie decision factor and moviegoers turn equally to the Internet and TV for this key information (with young adults favoring the Internet and older audiences turning to TV); newspapers and magazines only register as a viable source for the oldest moviegoers.”
   Moviegoers 2010 was compiled from in-theater surveys with 1,547 moderate-to-heavy moviegoers over eight days in July, with an additional 2,305 moderate-to-heavy moviegoers surveyed online as well. Consultant Linda Middleton worked with Paddison’s Stradella Road marketing consultancy to create the survey and Nielsen NRG managed the field work.
   Paddison is a former new media marketing guru at New Line Cinema, so not surprisingly the report drills down on the nuiances of emerging media.
  The film audience is increasingly influenced by peer recommendations in picking movies, and not so much by individual film critics, as the following from the report indicates:
   Peer group feedback trumps critics: Feedback from consumer reviews (both positive and negative) has a greater influence on movie attendance than a (professional) critic's voice.
·         75% say they trust a friend's opinion more than a movie critic.
·         80% say positive reviews from other moviegoers make them more likely to see a movie (vs. 67% who say a positive review from professional critics does).
·         40% say negative reviews from other moviegoers make them decide not to see a movie (vs. 28% who say negative reviews from professional critics would keep them from going).
-        The influence of the local market reviewer, as well as the impact of the Sunday review ad, is declining.
·         45% of heavy moviegoers rely on movie review aggregation sites, placing a high value in seeing an average score.
·         84% of moviegoers told us that when they make up their mind to see a movie, it doesn’t matter what the critics say about it. 
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