Online Movie Sites Entertain, Inform

Movie-goers don’t have to look further than online to find reviews, trailers, and interactive content. Research from MIT Sloan School of Management suggests that online movie sites can influence a film’s success, and Nielsen//NetRatings found substantial traffic to film-related sites as summer blockbuster season got underway.

The MIT Sloan study revealed that word-of-mouth reviews via online ratings and movie sites, such as Yahoo Movies and’s Internet Movie Database, can help determine whether a film will be successful, particularly during the first week of release.

In fact, MIT Sloan Professor of Management Chrysanthos Dellarocas says that the study provides positive evidence that online movie reviews don’t just influence a film’s success, but that they actually can predict it. The research further revealed that women who post online film ratings are an especially accurate predictor of commercial success.

Nielsen//NetRatings’ analysis of traffic to movie sites revealed that Internet users are using online tools to buy tickets, watch trailers, and read information about summer releases. The five top growing sites accounted for more traffic in the week prior to Memorial Day in 2004 than 2003.

Fastest Growing Movie Sites, Week Ending May 30,
(U.S., Home)
Brand or Channel 5/23 Unique
5/30 Unique
Growth 361,000 600,000 66%
Twentieth Century Fox Film 296,000 372,000 26% 578,000 706,000 22% 460,000 508,000 10%
Internet Movie Database 1,980,000 2,119,000 7%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

Traffic spikes to movie-related sites were also measured during the 76th Annual Academy Awards on February 29, 2004. Claria Corporation’s Feedback Research Division found that the official Academy Awards’ site,, experienced a 700 percent increase in traffic during the show, compared to its average daily site traffic, and a 693 percent increase in traffic for the four weeks leading up to the broadcast.

Yahoo Movies received 50 percent of its total traffic for Oscar Night during the show, peaking during the final hour, while traffic to Yahoo Movies grew steadily from the start of the show, resulting in a 150 percent increase in traffic.

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