Since the days of the silent picture era, one of a moviemaker's most vexing and perplexing challenges has been how to predict whether a picture will be a success or flop. The process of deciding which movies to green light and which to pass over has long been considered an "art form" left to a chosen few industry titans.
"Historically, neither the creators nor the distributors of 'cultural products' have used analytics--data, statistics, predictive modeling--to determine the likely success of their offerings," write authors Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris in a recent Sloan Management Review article. "Instead, companies relied on the brilliance of tastemakers to predict and shape what people would buy."
But now, argue Davenport and Harris, predictive software tools have finally become too robust and necessary for movie production companies to ignore any longer.
"Today, companies have unprecedented access to data and sophisticated technology that allows even the best-known experts to weigh factors and consider evidence that was unobtainable just a few years ago," the authors write. "Creators and distributors of cultural products are attempting to predict how successful a particular product will be before, during or after its creation."
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