Pre-theatrical movie marketing, promotion and critical reviews are key for new theatrical movies. Can a new TV show be affected by the same dynamic?
In a recent New York Times story, movie studio executives seem to give increasing credence to positive or negative review scores on Rotten Tomatoes -- especially with its Tomatometer scores.
Much of this arose when considering the dismal box-office results of the movie business this summer -- a 15% decline versus the year before, with some of the worse revenue results in nearly two decades.
Instead of reading many individual reviews, moviegoers can get a quality indication of a film via a single Rotten Tomatoes score -- an algorithm of some 3,000 critics. A score of 75% or more signifies “certified fresh.” Over 60% earns a “fresh” tomato, and a 59% or lower number gives a “rotten” tomato mark.
A theatrical film’s success path is unlike a new TV show. With films, you virtually get one shot at success -- typically, the first weekend. Critics’ reviews are a big piece of the puzzle.
With TV, there can be a somewhat easier time. A TV series can build its audience through a number of episode -- a trajectory historically embraced by TV executives.
Currently, Rotten Tomatoes gives a 100% score to HBO's "Insecure," 96% for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” 94% for USA Network’s miniseries “The Sinner,” 93% for Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return,” 92% for Amazon’s “The Tick,” 91% for Discovery’s “Manhunt” and 84% for HBO’ “Room 104.”
TV executives eye all digital media content, especially after a TV series airs. Still, overall social media remains vague in tracking ongoing results of TV projects.
Surely, multitasking consumers interacting on social media while watching their TV living-room screens reveal some interesting data. But can researchers determine future TV behavior of those shows? Sure, but perhaps only for a niche part of the audience.
Before airing a show, TV studios employ traditional TV focus groups -- where content can be shown to a studio audience in a controlled environment. It remains a major piece of the decision-making for TV networks and production companies.
TV program growth will continue. But for many, there is a need for better TV content discovery -- as well as critical insight.