In the every continuing quest to figure out how to apply social media to business, I continue my mini use cases with a new look at something different. In the past, I have looked at politics a ton. Most recently, I looked at the concept of the social media fingerprint (which in my professional work continues to bear fruit as being an interesting concept) and today...what about white space?
What do I mean by white space? What happens between the launch of a product. You can apply this idea on longer time frame the first launch of product to its product improvements. In fact, some would call this launch analysis because the time frame between product launch and improvement can often be months. Another good example would include monitoring a test market of new product or service. Many times if one studies what occurs during the test market there is a great chance to learn something idea before you go full launch. The focus of this study is to look at another shorter time frame white space; between when a movie launches and when its dvd goes live.
What is amazing about this particular use case is that the time frames are getting so short between when movies hit the screen and when we see them at home that social media will become a critical methodology for studying such white space.
In the analysis I will do today, I chose to look the movie Cars 2. The reason for this choice is it launched last year and also launched its DVD in 2011 as well. It's box office totaled $191MM in the US and $368MM outside the U.S.. In addition, it was ranked the #4 most successful DVD sales in 2011 with $71MM dollars. The Movie hit the theaters June 24th, 2011 and the DVD launch occurred on November 1st. 2011. Below is analysis of the launch, white space period and after the DVD launch.
First Lets take a quick look at the net sentiment and summary metrics for the entire year around the topic of Cars 2.
This chart gives a very good overview of the movie Cars 2. You will see that net sentiment for the film is pretty strong overall. What is good about this full year look is the obvious spikes that occur in sentiment around the time of the launch with a smaller spike during the DVD release. This correlates with one would expect from the movie launch.
As we analyze the concept of movie white space, we will look at three quarterly periods. The first is May, June and July. This will represent the launch of the movie and about six weeks after launch. The white space period will include August, September and October. This is perfect as the the DVD launched on November 1st at the end of the white space period. And after the DVD launch will be the third period which includes November, December and January.
Let's look at the launch to get a sense of what people were saying. I will look at 4 things here. The first is the net sentiment trend for the period that you see above and the summary data. I will also look at the sources breakdown and the top 10 likes and dislikes for the period.
For the launch...
You will see a blow up of the launch period. In this period, we see the majority of sound bites. In addition, the net sentiment and passion intensity scores vary little from the overall data set. As for the source breakdown, almost 87% of the traffic comes from both social networks and twitter. These two sources often represent mainstream discussion. One would expect during the launch that much of the chatter would occur on these channels.
As for likes and dislikes...some of the highlights are sort of interesting. For one, the major like is the movie trailer. If you remember this movie didn't receive very strong critical acclaim. It seems that most people were excited by the concept of the movie more than its delivery. In fact, none of the other likes (while voluminous) are not very strong. They include like good movie and okay. These are not ringing endorsements of the film. It is interesting to note here that this movie did almost over 600MM in sales with only about 33% coming from U.S. sales.
As for dislikes, we see there is many mentions of the less than critical acclaim. In fact, rotten shows up (which is focused on rotten tomatoes less than fresh rating of 38%.
Let's move onto the white space breakdown.
Below are the same set of charts we saw for the launch period.
The summary metrics for this period look very similar to the launch period except for the fact that the volume is much lower. You will see more peaks and valleys in the sentiment postings. But as you move into the likes and dislikes you will see some differences.
In the likes category you can see some of the Pixar's marketing efforts are emerging. The number one mention is the Cars 2 App. At the launch of the movie, the app launched and was a huge success on the marketplace. In addition, we see mention of the Cars 2 toys. What is evident here is the fact that Pixar's marketing efforts are keeping buzz on the movie going beyond its stint in the theaters. This is very interesting because it does show that the concept of keeping the movie top of mind could be a critical component of the white space period for films between the theater and the DVD launch.
What becomes most interesting, however, is the change in the sources breakdown. Previously, 87% of traffic came from consumer channels like twitter and facebook. During the white space period, this number drops to 64% (a total change of 23% on an absolute basis). Subsequently, the blogs and forums have gone from 18% to 31%.
What does this mean? It means that the social media fingerprint is a real thing. You can read about the hypothesis here (link to Iran blogpost on social media fingerprint). As I have written previously, blogs represent a place where experts speak to the world and forums are those who like a topic love to chatter at each other. Facebook is friend talking amongst themselves. And twitter is the individual shout out to others letting them know how they feel.
How does this manifest for the movie industry. My hypothesis here is that to best study the consumer for a DVD launch, one must look to the blog/forum chatter to connect with those who will buy the DVD. These people are talking about there thoughts and usually movie buffs are interested in movies. This isn't the greatest example because in the case of Cars 2, a children's movie, parents will simply buy it. But the fact that these channels grow in chatter suggest it is a robust place to study.
Lastly, I will post the after launch period.
But again, the forums and blogs percentage has again gone up to 40% from 31%. This shows that the continue dialogue around Cars 2 eventually is centering on passionate people discussing the film and not mainstream consumers (when compared to the launch period)
Let's look at the brand passion.
the first is a chart of the brand passion during the three periods.
This helps us get sense of what was going for the film over time.
I also looked at the white space period's BPI with a breakout of the sources during this timeframe.
It is below...
While there is major planning to the entire period when a movie launches this study has shone there is great nuance to what social media can tell us. In the case of Cars 2, there seems to be changes in the chatter during this crucial white space period. While I have only scratched the surface in this blogpost, the concept of social media fingerprint again plays out. The question remains will the current culture of planning and process keep organizations from learning on the fly as their critical dollars are spent on their business.
It looks like Pixar has the last laugh with its mediocre release...why...because of the 600 million box office and 150MM in DVD sales...we don't even know what the toys brought in.