London, August 4 (ANI): HP Labs in Palo Alto, California has claimed that it has come up with a simple method to forecast movie ticket revenues by analysing chatter on Twitter.
And they're optimistic that they can even apply their method to forecast more important events, such as this year's presidential election.
For the study, the company used data from 24 movies released in 2009 and 2010, including blockbusters Avatar and Twilight: New Moon. In all, they considered 2.89 million tweets from 1.2 million users.
To get a feeling for how many tweets make for success or failure, they considered that Avatar averaged more than 1,200 tweets an hour in its pre-release week and generated 77 million dollars its first weekend, New Moon had 1,366 tweets an hour and raked in 142 million dollars, while Transylmania had the lowest tweet rate at 2.75 and made about 264,000 dollars.
Promotional tweets made by studios and their public relations people were of little use in predicting a movie's success at the box office-probably not what studios want to hear.
The study concluded that big promotional budgets on Twitter don't translate into ticket sales.
However, the number of tweets made by ordinary Twitter users in the week before a movie's release predicted opening weekend sales pretty accurately - which was far better than other measures, such as movie exchange sites.
Here participants buy and sell shares with virtual money to determine a movie's worth, similar to the way a real-world stock exchange determines share prices.
According to HP Labs, the study compared prices from the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX), which can be considered the gold standard for the movie industry.
The model built using the tweet rate outperforms the HSX-based model, Discovery News quoted HP Labs as saying.
The fact that a simple mathematical model considering only the rate of tweets on movies can perform better than artificial money markets, illustrates the power of social media, the company said.
But the story doesn't end on opening weekend. Researchers also wanted to know if people's reactions to a film that they posted on Twitter would be a better indicator of a movie's longer-term success than a simple tweet rate.
While measuring the sentiment-positive, negative or neutral-improved revenue forecasts a bit, tweet rate was far more telling.
HP Labs has high hopes for their Twitter-tracking method and says it can be applied to a large range of topics, including as an accurate indicator of election outcomes. (ANI)