Viacom thinks it has a better way to gauge which movies are generating heat than box office numbers or Rotten Tomatoes scores: online buzz.
The media conglomerate has partnered with the social media data/research firm Trendrr to launch MovieTracker, a new content hub within the year-old movie portal NextMovie.com. Using a unique algorithm, MovieTracker culls data and sentiment from Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and various movie-related blogs and content boards, which it analyzes to rank the top 25 movies based to social buzz.
According to Viacom officials, this sort of buzz ranking is more indicative of what the most passionate fans are talking about and what younger demos care about — certainly more than box office numbers or critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes. Indeed, at launch, while current hits like “Paranormal Activity 3″ and “Real Steel” are at the top of MovieTracker’s chart, several of the most buzzed-about movies ranked by MovieTracker are not set to launch for at least a year, such as “The Avengers” and “The Hunger Games.” Yet those movies are inciting constant chatter across social media.
“People talk about these movies months in advance,” said Karena Wells, NextMovie’s vp of strategy and operations. “That’s part of the movie experience for our audience. But there’s never been a way until now to pull all that activity from across the Web in one place.”
Besides an aggregate buzz count, “MovieTracker” also graphs a movie’s overall sentiment. Currently, “Paranormal Activity” sentiment is only 45 percent positive, whereas “The Hunger Games” has earned 78 percent on that score. Plus, users can jump in on the conversation directly from the site via the social networking platform of their choosing.
Besides NextMovie.com, which reaches close to a million unique monthly users, Viacom plans to launch MovieTracker on the tablets and smartphones over the next few months. And though NextMovie.com is ad-supported, at launch Viacom doesn’t plan to roll out any MovieTracker sponsorships, at least initially, said Wells.