Talks & Interviews — September 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

Box-office analyst says online tracking not really useful for independent films (exclusive)

film-photo-2Back in June of 2013, Google released its “Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search” report, which seems to predict whether a film would be a a box-office bomb or success.

According to Google, the more people searching for a specific movie, the bigger the box-office weekend. Considering the amount of searches for film related keywords Google receives per day, the claim doesn’t seem too unreal.

According to Google’s study, key for box-office success doesn’t only lie in movie searches, but also in search ad click volume. The report says searches in the movie category on Google were up by 56 percent from 2011 to 2012 – indeed a significant indicator.

But those are movies that everyone is searching for, mostly theatrical releases, movies with big budgets or known stars. How would such strategy work in case with independent movies?

Senior box office analyst from Exhibitor Relations, Jeff Bock believes online tracking wouldn’t do much for independent films.

“Independent film, specifically relating to the release paradigm, is in a state of flux right now with the advent of VOD,” he told BZFilm.

“While tracking may be helpful to decide whether or not to release a film wide after its initial debut, a month out or even a week out, indies often have trouble making headlines or capturing much buzz at all,” he said.

Bock believes that grassroots marketing is still the #1 marketing tool in gaining awareness for indies, and it remains very elusive as to why some arthouse films succeed and others don’t.

“For now, I’ll stick to my gut and my Magic 8-ball, as I’m convinced that’s still the best formula out there,” he concluded.

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