The Advantages of Big Data in the Film Industry

One of the advantages of big data is that it allows for a “…more accurate and detailed customer information at the individual level and uses the information for a very narrow and specific segmentation of customers…” (Rust & Huang, 2014, p.209). This was mentioned earlier with 20th Century Fox. It also allows for a better and more exact picture of the audience so that they become more understood by those who are creating films. This can allow for there to be a much more diverse and better representation of various groups of individuals who were once unrepresented or misrepresented within film.

“Various sources of data can be combined, including not just social media data but also geo-location (where which movies are popular), credit card data, and the like.” (Simon & Schroeder, 2019, p.558).

Having geo-location available is an essential part of the process for film production companies. Being able to know where certain genres are more popular than others allow for the companies to better plan out and spend money on the number and locations of movie theaters where the film is released. Being able to limit how many movie theaters play a film in a certain location allows for money to be saved rather than be spent on too many theaters in areas where that film genre may not be as successful as it is in other regions. However, this approach raises ethical concerns, particularly for rural or economically disadvantaged areas that may not have the customer base to warrant the release of certain films. These areas could be left out, limiting their access to diverse cultural content. Moreover, the data could perpetuate existing biases, as big chains might focus only on genres that are already popular in specific geographic locations, thereby reinforcing existing cultural divides.

When a studio has their films shown at a chain like AMC, it tends to play in most if not all of the locations that that chain owns. But for smaller independent theaters, they don’t always have the ability to showcase the films in their cinemas. Data could help with this to an extent. In a location where a major cinema chain isn’t present, and a smaller cinema is, then if that area matches the demographic of those who have interest in a film, a studio can make a deal with that smaller independent cinema to have their film shown at that cinema to increase profit in the area. Allowing for a film to only be shown in theaters in locations in which those genres of films are popular amongst movie goers allows for there to be a better box office return for the companies, rather than if they were to showcase their film in theaters where the genre of their film is less popular than other genres.