The critical masses: The influence of reviews on cinema audiences

Line Egholm Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


• This study explores the influence of reviews on cinema audiences. • The study is based on an investigation of existing research and new empirical data; an audience survey, interviews with exhibition and distribution professionals as well as professional reviewers. Main findings: • The impact of reviews is strongest in the written media, the Internet and TV. The most important sources of information are the written media, recommendations from friends and family and the Internet. • 50% of the survey population is affected by advertising material with star ratings and quotes from reviews. 58% are influenced by the collective opinion of reviewers and 39% by single reviewers. 23% is influenced by user ratings and 7% by debate forums. • The culturally motivated audience is influenced by both the collective opinion of reviewers as well as single reviewers, whereas the socially motivated is not as influenced by single reviewers. • The younger audience is not unaffected by reviews – magazines being the most important media for reviews - but they are extremely influenced by word of mouth. • High users are more affected by single reviewers than low users who tend to rely on the collective opinion of reviewers. • Age does not seem to be the most important factor, when describing the users of Internet reviews. The Internet reviews are more important for high users, especially culturally motivated, and film enthusiasts. • Upmarket audiences are more affected by reviews than are mainstream audiences. • Audiences at a higher educational level seem to be more likely to employ reviews in their film choice process, but audiences with a lower educational level are not at all uninfluenced by reviews. • Only 10-12% of the survey respondents denied ever being influenced by reviews indicating that a majority of the survey population do not see a general divergence between reviewers and general audience taste. • Audiences that rely on reviews in their film choice process are slightly more likely to act on negative reviews than positive reviews, the overall audience survey points towards more weight to positive reviews than negative reviews.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages124