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WOM Sells More Movie Tickets Than Social Media

Social media isn’t helping movie theater ticket sales all that much. That surprising nugget came from Vincent Bruzzese, present of  Ipsos MediaCT’s Motion Picture Group.

Data from a new Ipsos survey shows that the biggest influencer (69%), when it comes to buying a movie ticket, is a personal word-of-mouth recommendation.

39% of movie goers were motivated by the amount of posts they saw about a specific movie and 37% were swayed by a large number of positive comments online.

But according to Bruzzese, digital buzz isn’t helping the overall lifespan of a film.

“It’s not like the quality of movies has changed much. Bad movies drop on their second weekend, but good movies don’t stay around any longer than they did in ’80s. In fact they drop faster than when the way to spread mouth was the old fashioned face-to-face.”

Lucky for movie makers, this door swings both ways. Social media isn’t selling many tickets, but it’s not stopping people from going to the movies, either.

85% of respondents said they post online only when they’re really excited about something. Only 10% said they’d post about something they disliked, which is good news for bad movies.

When people do start talking about movies online, it’s the habitual moviegoer (people who see more than six movies a year) that carries the conversation. 43% of habituals watch online movie trailers and 37% post their thoughts to a blog or a social media network.

Here’s one last set of facts from the study that have me a bit perplexed:

Moreover, even in an age where microblogging and Facebook “liking” are the rage, people are more likely to read or reply to comments online than they are to post something themselves or to share content or links with others. Some 75 percent of people read through posts at least a few times a week, 61 percent reply to comments and 58 percent comment on someone else’s posts.

I get that more people read and comment than post. 75% of people read what other people post. I get that. The 61% who “reply to comments” – does that mean 61% of content producers reply to comments on their own posts? And finally, 58% of people leave comments on posts. Wow. That’s a big number. I find it hard to believe that more than half of the people in a random survey group said they leave comments on the internet. I would have guessed the number to be much lower than that, but then, maybe I hang out with very un-opinionated people. The only time I’ve ever seen a reply rate that high, it was two comments from family members on a brand-new, unheard of blog.

On the topic of good news, bad news: do you ever leave negative posts about movies, TV shows, music or books? And would a negative review stop you from checking it out for yourself?