Blogger Chris Thilk contributes a post to Spout, asking the question “When everything is available how do you decide what to watch?” In a lot of ways, it does go back to Chris Anderson’s Long Tail conclusion that there’s an audience out there for almost anything, you just have to determine the best way to connect the content to that audience. Thilk’s thoughts ruminate on the other side of that equation, as he tries to narrow down the forces that influence our consumption of movies today:
There are so many movie blogs out there and so many people, on sites like Spout, sharing what movies they’ve watched and which ones they’ve liked/hated/are indifferent towards. So the goal of those looking for recommendations is to gravitate toward those who they’ve found have either similar tastes or who have consistently pointed to movies that were interesting even if they weren’t always precisely on-target.
In actuality our decisions are not made on any individual component but instead a compilation of all four. If a trusted friend says a movie isn’t very good then we’ll lower the influence of that really great trailer. If someone whose opinion we don’t trust says the movie was really funny than we might also give the marketing campaign less weight.
In fact I’d be willing to guess that in almost all cases the opinions of those around us, whether they’re trusted or discounted, will trump a studio’s marketing campaign. We’re social animals and we engage in behaviors that strengthen those social relationships. Either we try to fit in or we try to be influential. And we know that the marketing and advertising of the film, as with just about any other consumer product, may not be representative of the finished product.
This also speaks to what I’ve shared for my short time at Cinetic Rights Management: traditional advertising for online content isn’t nearly as important as finding trusted sources to recommend it.