Study: There is no "Twitter Effect" Happening in Hollywood

Conventional wisdom in the elite Hollywood sphere would have us believe that mass Twitter mentions increases a movie’s success in the box office – but a new study released earlier this week says otherwise. The “Twitter Effect”- as this wonderful social media sales boost is dubbed – doesn’t, in fact, exist at all. Movie sales don’t budge when Twitter is all a-buzz with hype, or when it’s silent. Contesting that the power of Twitter is all a facade is a big assertion, so we’ll look at more details from the study below the jump.

Social media hawks and Hollywood execs used to tout the unexpected success of smaller movies to tweets and re-tweets on Twitter. However, as TheWrap explains, the Twitter Effect was just a fancy way of saying social media word-of-mouth – and the study in question finds that Twitter is one of the least, not most, influential ways people spread news about the latest hit movie to others.

This study was a result of research firm Ipsos OTX MediaCT polling more than 24,000 moviegoers to gage their media consumption habits at the recent TheGrill conference held September 20th and 21st. This conference saw thought leaders in Hollywood and the media come together to discuss the future of entertainment amid rapid changes in media, finance, tech and more.

About half of the respondents said they get movie recommendations from friends and family, and 16% mention co-workers as their movie review go-to sources. These face-to-face recommendations far overshadow recommendations through social media. Facebook offers up 11% of the movie recommendations that those polled turn to, and Twitter? Despite its Hollywood buzz, it only accounts for 1% of movie recommendations that influence those polled.

The study takes a closer look at this nugatory Twitter (non)Effect. Of those who do use Twitter, 46% said they ignore movie recommendations on the microblogging platform from strangers, and 40% said they aren’t even influenced by recommendations from real-life friends.

So it looks like the Twitter Effect is just a sentiment that rings in the halls and ears of Hollywood and social media insiders – not something that actual moviegoers experience. As a place of influence, Twitter might not be the entertainment industry’s knight in shining armor. But who knows? Twitter’s effect on the movie industry could be a “sleeper hit”, and surprise us all a few month or years down the line as more people ditch long-winded movie reviews and embrace Twitter’s short, easily digestible format.