In August, Kevin Spacey said in front of the Edinburgh International Television Festival that we must “Embrace on-line or die!”

During the Variety Hollywood Tech summit on October 21 I heard some great presentations on the evolution of content creation & distribution, telling stories through marketing & how we can all monetize new methods & mediums, building ongoing relationships with our consumers and most importantly, how do we create more successful content. We’re all content creators in this room, from our personal Twitter accounts to the marketing & advertising stories we build, to the movies, TV shows and actual content we create. Content creation is no longer exclusively owned by the studios or the record labels. It’s being created every single day on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, Instagram & YouTube.

MutualMind recently conducted a study in conjunction with SimulTV & published in VentureBeat on how the top 200 Youtube channels earned 144B views, 520M comments & 1B likes. Of those, only one major entertainment brand hit the top 25 most engaged channels: the XFactor UK channel. And for the most part these Top 200 channels weren’t even owned by major labels, brands, artists or studios. They were owned by gamers, amateur fashion designers & comedians.

In addition to discovering exactly who were creating and subscribing to these most engaged channels, the study revealed some commonalities that could not only be applied to these indie channels but to the YouTube social strategy of any major brand, studio or label.

1. Post Content Oftern
2. Engage with Subscribers
3. Link to other Social Properties
4. Showcase & Group Content
5. Custom Thumbnail Images

This is just what the amateurs are doing and look at the numbers there putting up. It proves that never before has it been so easy for anyone with a laptop, a microphone and a video camera to create their own content. But, digital technologies & the rise of social media platforms has not only given a voice & a medium for the blogger, the singer-songwriter or the amateur film maker, it has given us the tremendous opportunity to step into conversations of the consumers and to directly engage with them.

Three months ago, the Twitter record for most Tweets in a second was set again by the Japanese film “Castle in the Sky” simply from a cult movement of fans tweeting a phrase during a pivotal scene. Katy Perry & Pepsi asked fans to choose her next single via Twitter. And a month ago Kevin Spacey stood up and made his declaration. He went on to say that “We must learn the lesson that the music industry never learned. Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in at a reasonable price and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it”

Now that hits pretty close to home for me as I spent the better part of the last 20 years working for Arista, RCA, Columbia & Sony BMG Entertainment. Back then, the powers that be in the Ivory towers of New York, Nashville & here in LA never listened to the fans. They didn’t care what the fans actually wanted from the artists and most importantly they found out way the hell too late how people were actually getting that music or should i say say stealing the music…

We all saw the public backlash as Metallica sued Napster and the RIAA sued the people using Napster. But they weren’t addressing the REAL problem! They weren’t actually listening to the people. They weren’t giving people what they wanted, when they wanted it and how they wanted it delivered.

But to know our audience and what they truly want, we have to be listening to ALL the conversations…not just people in a focus group or those who have a Nielsen box or those pulled off Hollywood Blvd to watch a pilot. We must turn to social media where the flood gates are wide open & everyone has a voice. And as we’re diving into those millions of conversations taking place on social media, we must be able to focus our measurement to determine meaningful & actionable insights.

MutualMind is a social media listening/analytics platform that allows brands to monitor the conversations that are happening about them, they’re competitors, their products or consumer conversations at large. We monitor conversations across all the major social sites and millions of blogs, forums & news sites across the web and to demonstrate just how powerful these consumer conversations can be, we’re currently running two independent listening studies on upcoming releases.

The first one is a broad spectrum analysis of the Top 25 movies set to be released in the second half of 2013. Of course these included Hunger Games, Gravity, Thor, Hobbit, Carrie and many more. In the past 30 days alone in the US, there have been over 2 million mentions of these top 25 movies. Overall mentions were 27% positive, posted by people with an average Klout score of 37 and generated 6.7 billion impressions. By far, Hunger Games: Catching Fire leads the pack in the number of conversations taking place on-line with 28% of the total conversations at almost 600,000 with 1.6 billion impressions

But overall conversations about movies aren’t new. We all talk about the new trailers that we just watched on IMDB, we check in on foursquare at the theater for a midnight release & we post our reviews of the new movies we just finished watching, good or bad. However, more and more, consumers are taking part in the conversations well before the film is released, filmed or even cast. These last few months have seen some insane activity on social media surrounding the announcement of lead actors for Batman vs. Superman & 50 Shades of Grey. We’ve seen excitement, shock, disgust, backlash, support and everything in between.

MutualMind went back in time to August 1 to capture these conversations & predictably saw some pretty big spikes in activity. The first one was on August 23rd, when Ben Affleck was announced as Batman. And then again On September 3rd as Charlie Hunnam & Dakota Johnson were announced as the leads in 50 Shades of Grey. And of course on October 12th, as Charlie Hunnam dropped out of the movie and the speculation began.

Of all these conversations, Ben Affleck still holds on to the top spot as conversations surrounding him and his portrayal of Batman are responsible for 48% of those conversations. And in those 2 1/2 months so far, these two movies alone have garnered 1.7 million mentions and almost 6 Billion Impressions. That’s almost as many as the total conversations taking place about the Top 25 movies coming out in the second half of 2013! And the movies haven’t even gone to production!

In the end the role went to Jamie Dornan, but that hasn’t stopped the social media conversations about all the fan favs. will the producers take these conversations into consideration for future casting or in marketing decisions? Will people change their mind once they see Ben Affleck in that black mask & cape? I have know idea? But what I do know, is that we have to listen! We have to listen 24/7/365. We have to listen, we have to engage & we have to react. We have to take the social analytics that we’re collecting and we have visualize them!

The MutualMind Command Center represents real time visualizations of social conversations that are taking place around the globe. It portrays a dedication to our consumers and the conversations that they’re having. But, command centers must be scalable, they must be customizable & they must deliver actionable insights.

Only then can we truly listen to our consumers and react to their wants and needs. Only then can we give them what they want, when they want it & how they want it delivered.

See below for my presentation during the 2013 Variety Hollywood Tech Summit.

Tony Edwards


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