CES: UTA Talks the Importance of Social Data in Hollywood

United Talent Agency has developed a measurement tool to track and rank movies based on the social media buzz they accrue in the 365 days up until the film’s release date. Using data provided by Twitter, UTA determines and assigns a ranking for every move on a scale of 1-100. For 2014, UTA observed a pattern by which higher ranked movies outperformed lower ranked movies at the box office. The correlation between a movie’s social media numbers and box office performance however, does not imply causation.

hollywood_sign_smallDavid Herrin, UTA’s head of research took to the stage at a marketing conference at CES to dive into the social media analytics regarding five comedies from last summer.

“Universal’s ‘Neighbors’ never had a score below 90 on the UTA index — and was at 98 when the movie opened, raking in $51.1 million on its first weekend,” reports Variety.

According to Herrin, the same was true of Sony Pictures’ “22 Jump Street,” which opened to $60 million with a ranking of 93 on opening day, while films ranked much lower on the UTA social media meter opened to disappointing numbers.

These numbers may indicate something, but as Variety suggests, “the lower level of chatter may just have been an effect, not a cause.”

Herrin later added that a successful social media campaign for a feature has to have an early start and be sustainable all the way through release.

UTA is now offering the social tracker as a commercial product, dubbed PreAct, in conjunction with Rentrak,” explains VarietyWithin the company, UTA agents have started implementing social media analytics as a leveraging tool to negotiate for their clients. And as Brent Weinstein, UTA’s head of digital media shares, UTA also advises clients to take a proactive role in their social media engagement.

There are some in Hollywood that are reluctant to make use of social media data beyond marketing. Matt Marolda, chief analytics officer at Legendary Entertainment, for example, explains its value as a marketing tool, but does not use the data in any way during the creative process of producing a film.