Facebook Beams-Up Hollywood, Right Scotty?

By | March 28, 2014

If Facebook’s new acquisition –Oculus Rift – sounds like something out of a Science Fiction movie, your gut isn’t that far off. The virtual reality headset maker – snatched-up for the astonishing  $2 BILLION – is the ultimate in geek chic. The device – which can create rich virtual reality, immersive experiences for gamers and beyond – already has a devoted-if-pocket-protector-wearing fan base.

But, what does it mean for Facebook?  Aside from broad brush comparisons to Apple and Google – companies which squarely straddle the software and hardware divide – there’s a buzz in Hollywood that this puts Facebook squarely in the movie business. Huh?  Some media analysts say that we should think of Oculus this way: it’s just another screen.

While that may be true in the long view, I’d argue that Facebook was ALREADY in the movie business, even without trying to out-Google Google.  And, the current Facebook movie business doesn’t demand another screen.  Facebook – and its cousins Twitter and Pinterest –  are the collective mouthpiece for audiences to share what they think about anything Hollywood puts on any screen. I’m talking about what you, or I, or our mothers  (Yes, it’s true. Your mother!) have to say about movies and television on social media.

Those comments or “likes” are untapped gold in Hollywood. They reveal your audience’s interests in ways that box-office numbers still can’t. With the right analytics tools and insight, you can mine this data to learn EXACTLY what members of your audience think: What they think about your movie; Your talent; Your Second Screen App; Your recommendations; Your levels of customer service, if you’re in the subscriber business.  I’d argue Facebook and Twitter and their social media cousins have more to teach Hollywood than Hollywood has to teach Hollywood. The trick is, is Hollywood ready and able to listen?

The ability to analyze social media and behavioral data – and, most importantly, do so in a way that loops back in to bigger marketing and planning operations – is essential to making and monetizing content in the new M&E ecosystem.  But, the fact is, few studios and distributors are doing this well.  Read this article to get a better sense of how social media analytics need to play into your content  and analytics strategy.

Speaking of Hollywood – the industry converges in a matter of days at NAB.  Check back here for your NAB wrap-up, insights and ideas.  Until then, Sci-Fi friends and believers, may the force be with you.

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