You won’t get a clear answer as to how movies are doing digitally -- through on-demand services from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus or otherwise.
Some of these services delivery some data
quietly to movie studios -- but nothing is publicly disclosed. Unlike theatrical box office data, there isn’t any uniform system where weekend results are released during the weekend, per day --
or more traditionally on Monday.
TV agents and others executive says this data is important to clients -- and for giving entertainment consumers what they want. One executive in a New York Times
story believes all this will improve
entertainment, resulting in “richer content." Interestingly, it isn’t just for film/TV entertainment executives: What about consumers?
For many years now, TV news networks and
other newspapers have regularly released Monday morning theatrical box-office revenue results. What does this do? That, in addition to the wall-to-wall marketing of movies, it lets consumers
know what is popular and perhaps what they might want to see.
For theatrical marketing executives, it provides an “earned media” extension to their marketing plans. And if you
know “Iron Man 3” does well, one film executive might believe other superhero action-adventure movie might work as well.
All this can be a double-edge sword: Ownership of data
and measurement can mean a competitive advantage. And, really, who wants to give that away? “Measurement can equal monetization can equal a fight,” Bruce Goerlich, chief research officer
for Rentrak told the NYT
So if you are a
Netflix, you might have a different point of view to withhold data -- like not telling a competitor like Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus how you are doing. Few want any sort of fight in the midst of a still
fragile and nascent entertainment business.
By way of comparison, in the early days, HBO (a pay TV cable channel that gets compared a lot to Netflix) didn’t release viewing data,
What HBO learned -- and what Netflix, and others may learn -- is that telling consumers what is popular, in terms of releasing usage data, can be a key piece of marketing, just like
releasing theatrical box-office movie data.
You may always hear the term “big data” these days -- or people complaining about too much data. But not all information is out of the
shadows. Now, go roll your dice