Maybe I’m just dense, but they have been conducting a study for the last 2-1/2 years at Ad Age to try to determine if summer movie ticket sales are affected more by the promotional activities (they refer to them as “marketing”) and/or by the “quality” of the movies themselves. How is that even a question?
Ad Age researchers decided to use Metacritic as their “quality” score. Metacritic is an aggregation site for compiling the scores of movie critics for the movies. Let’s see, that suggests that movie critics have a significant influence on box office sales, which is a reflection of whether people go to the movie. I’m not sure that is true anyway, and their data shows that Metacritic scores and revenue are not correlated.
They use ad spend data to quantify promotion. Possibly ok, maybe not. Since we all know “half the money you spend on advertising is wasted.” (You wish it was only half or that you could know … which you can, but more on that in another post.) They don’t have ad spend data yet for this year, but again no real correlation has been found in the past.
I will concede that opening weekend ticket sales are probably affected by the promotional activities for the movie and the anticipated “quality” of the movie. However, after that the word gets out. It seems obvious by inspection that if the people don’t like the product, they aren’t going to buy it. General Motors learned that one the hard way.
In an industry that is driven by recommendation, you’d think it would be obvious what the problem is: people who go to movies don’t like the product. I’m one of them. I have gone from one movie a week to one per quarter over the last several years because the product is not worth the increasing cost.
Great promotion will help a great product and it might even save an ok product. But in the end … it’s about what the customer is buying from you, and if they don’t get it … pretty soon they stop buying from you.