Film industry study stresses value of user-generated content from fans

By our News Team | 2023

The way firm-generated content works in new product releases is indirectly – through user-generated content and associated word of mouth.

Social media is a critical marketing tool to help raise awareness when businesses launch new products, given that the various platforms can help inform consumers about product characteristics and benefits relative to competitors’ products.

New research from the University of Notre Dame in the US analyses data from the motion picture industry, which often relies on social media-based promotions, to understand how marketers could better promote other new products.

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The study, entitled ‘The Ripple Effect of Firm-Generated Content on New Movie Releases’, is published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Marketing Research. It analyses more than 145,000 firm-generated and 5.9-million user-generated Twitter posts associated with 159 movies.

The conventional belief has been that social media allows marketers to influence the purchase behaviour of their followers directly. 

However, the research team’s findings show that the way firm-generated content works in new product releases is indirectly – through the user-generated content or word of mouth spread by followers of firms’ social media accounts.

Even multiple firm-based accounts are not as effective

“Interestingly, even when multiple social media accounts from the movie’s actors, directors and studio are used to promote a new movie, the firm-generated content from the main movie account is more effective than other firm-related accounts in driving sales,” says Shijie Lu, lead author and Associate Professor of Marketing at Notre Dame.

“But the user-generated content resulting from that main account sells even more. So, firm-generated content from celebrity actors and directors who are active on social media does not improve box office performances nearly as much as user-generated content from the fans.”

Lu adds: “This suggests that movie executives should focus on creating firm-generated content that sparks conversations among followers when new movies are released.

“The ‘Barbie’ movie’s recent retweet of a father who dressed in a Barbie costume when taking his daughter to watch the movie is a good example of getting followers to talk about the movie spontaneously.”

Although the study focused on movies, Lu believes the findings can be generalised to other products – including TV shows, games, music and books.

You can find out more about the research here.

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.