On 14th of February, 2005, the entertainment industry entered a new era that would henceforth change its future. On that Valentine’s Day, Youtube.com was registered on whois.com. Six months later, the social site was launched and since then, it has continued to shape the interpersonal interaction between people in different parts of the world.
From that time, many other social media sites have been launched in the market, in effect altering the experiences of consumers with regard to television, film, and music (Belloni 2012). Social media has significantly influenced the tastes and preferences of consumers in the world market.
Most contemporary consumers base their consumption and spending behaviours on global conversations taking place over the internet and such other social media (Schultz, Block & Labrecque 2012). Furthermore, the activities of people on social network sites influence their decision making processes, as well as their behaviour.
In this regard, studying the behaviour of consumers and underlying motivational factors can assist organisations in finding out how they can design their programs and corporate strategies (Andzulis, Panagopoulos & Rapp 2012). The current essay is written against this backdrop.
The major objective of the essay is to determine how social networking and new media have impacted the entertainment industry in general and the filmmaking industry in particular.
A social networking service refers to an online site, platform, or service, whose main objective is to create social relations or social networks among different persons. The networking service targets individuals who share activities, interests, real-life connections, or backgrounds.
The service takes into consideration, among others, the individual’s personal profile and their social links in the society. Social networking services and platforms keep the members connected to each other. They give them the opportunity to keep in touch in real time over the worldwide web through, among others, instant messaging services (IM) and e-mails. The sites allow people to share their ideas, events, interests, and activities within the network.
There are various social networking sites available today. The three most popular social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, all of which are based in the United States of America (Scott 2010).
According to Belloni (2012), 47 per cent of all Americans are members of social networking sites. Some individuals are members of more than one networking site. For example, an individual may have an account with Facebook, and another account with Twitter.
New media is a term used to describe on-demand content access. The consumer is able to access the content from anywhere and at anytime through the use of a digital device, such as a computer or a phone. The consumers can access the content through community formation, user feedback, and creative participation with such content (Scott 2010). Sago (2010) provides another definition of the term ‘new media’.
The scholar is of the view that the concept can be used to refer to the creation of unregulated content. According to Sago (2010), new media technologies are expected to be digital, interactive, compressible, dense, and networkable.
The user should also be able to manipulate such technologies. The various technologies include the internet, computer multimedia, websites, CD-ROMS, DVDs, and video games. Television programs, magazines, feature films, books, and paper-based publications do not constitute new media (Brogan 2010).
According to an exclusive poll conducted by the Penn Schoen Berland research firm, 88% of individuals regard such social networks as Twitter and Facebook as forms of entertainment (Godley 2012). In addition, the research highlighted that listening to music and social networking is the major form of Generation-C entertainment.
Bruce, Foutz & Kolsarici (2012) note that social media is like a connective tissue that helps consumers to connect with each other and share their opinions on different entertainment experiences. Moreover, 83 per cent of viewers connected to TV search the internet as they watch television programs, while 41 per cent tweet about what they are watching. Brogan (2010) is of the view that in its own capacity, social networking is an online reality show.
There has been a long controversy about the influence of digital media. However, it is clear that digital media has the ability to change the behaviour of a person. For instance, people who are tweeting about movies determine the behaviour of their Tweeter followers. That is why a third of all connected TV consumers go to a theatre to watch a movie after reading posts on social network sites (Manjoo 2011).
Sago (2010) reported that horror movies and other genres targeted at young people are the largest beneficiaries of social networking publicity. For instance, 8 per cent of all the respondents included in the Penn Schoen Berland survey watched Paranormal Activity 3 after being influenced by online posts and conversations (Godley 2012). On the basis of findings made in psychological studies, the behaviour patterns associated with social commerce are determined by social proof or the fear of missing out (FOMO) (Sago 2010).
Another interesting finding is how social networking tends to enhance the entertainment experience in the theatre. Nowadays, almost all movie theatres have to plead with movie goers to avoid using mobile phones in the theatre as the movie goes on. There are two reasons for that: the sound distraction caused by ringing phones and the light distraction from the phones, which affects the darkened room (Lipsman, Mud, Rich & Bruich 2012).
A recent study has, however, found that social networking is prevalent during both home and theatre movie watching times (Jamar 2012). The study found that 56 per cent of people who go to the movies have sent a text during one or more movies. The study also reported that most of the people aged between 18 and 34 years believe that the use of social network in the theatre (as they watch a movie) enhances their experience in the movie theatre.
Close to half of the persons interviewed pointed out that they would choose a theatre that allows web surfing and text messaging over those theatres that did not allow such activities. However, this behaviour is only observed among individuals aged between 18 and 34 years, but not among all consumers.
The reason for this is because 75 per cent of individuals who were included in the Jamar (2012) reported that using mobile phones in the theatre distracts them. Furthermore, 21 per cent and 24 per cent of informants had posted on Twitter and Facebook, respectively, as they watched a movie in a theatre (Jamar 2012).
Generation-C is often identified, falsely, as having a short concentration span. However, in most cases, they focus on many things at the same time, as long as these are things that fall under their list of interests. Individuals falling under the category of Generation-C are different.
Instead of working so hard to debunk the values of this generation, there should be an understanding of the role of multitasking in enhancing their experience. Lica & Tuta (2011) found that the two most popular activities during social networking are watching TV programs (66%) and watching TV movies (50%).
Eleven per cent of the respondents noted that they network as they watch movies in the theatre. The question is what these people do on social networks as they watch programs and movies. Evans (2008) found that social networking is a give and take affair because 33 per cent of people on social networks post their own thoughts and opinions, while 67 per cent are either reading or listening and responding to what others are saying.
Television marketers are currently striving to determine how they can use social media to woo viewers. According to Johnson (2011), serendipity contributes in getting viewers to tune-in. Johnson (2011) estimates that 2 out of ten people watch a show or movie on television because they saw something on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or other such sites.
Social media has also given rise to a new generation of critics. The media enables members to partake and contribute to real-time experiences. Many people are beginning to pay attention to how others feel about a movie before and after watching it. However, it has not yet been established how such criticism is affecting the decisions of others.
Hettche & Clayton (2012) document that 72 per cent of all movie watchers who are on social networks post their opinions on social media after watching a movie. Most of the responses are on the quality of the movie, in terms of audio and visual presentation. The responses also touch on whether or not the movie has a plot worth the time of other viewers.
It is only realistic to hypothesise that the expressions of these critics, to some extent, determine the impressions that other people on the network have towards the movie (Hennig-Thurau, Henning & Sattler 2007).
Additionally 20 per cent of viewers post their thoughts and opinions about a movie before watching it (depending on what they know about the movie producer). 9 percent of them post their thoughts and opinions during the movie (Hettche & Clayton 2012).
The individuals who spend a lot of time on social media are aware of the fact that these sites update them on what is happening all over the world. Many people on social networks learn of something that has happened or is happening in other parts of the world through social media.
After reading about the event, the individuals then go to search for more information from news websites or turn on their televisions to get the news in depth. However, Hearing & Ussery (2012) documented that 28 per cent and 31 per cent of people get breaking news from news sites and television news stations respectively.
However, Hearing & Ussery (2012) did not indicate whether they were referring to a main source of news or a primary source. The scholars also reported that 19 per cent of all the informants in their study learn about breaking news from social sites. Goel, Miesing & Chandra (2010) point out that more than 50 per cent of all news watchers in the United States are currently receiving breaking news through social media.
The scholars also averred that 46 per cent of all news watchers and readers visit the internet to watch or read about news at least three times a week. Examples of some of the most important news that broke on social media before airing on the television or newspapers include the killing of Osama bin Laden (Twitter), the death of Whitney Houston (Twitter), and the Egyptian uprising (Facebook).
In addition to television programs and movies, the peer-to-peer influence seems to have invaded all the other major forms of entertainment. Musicians are benefitting from posting their music on social networks, especially YouTube.
In a study conducted by Filice & Young (2011), 70 per cent of the respondents pointed out that they listen to music depending on what their peers are posting on social networks. In this regard, the fans of a certain musician have the duty to popularise his or her music on social media. One way of doing that is by sharing what they are listening by blogging, Facebooking, tweeting, or posting their videos on YouTube.
Andzulis et al. (2012) compared the advantages and disadvantages of the two most popular social network sites, Facebook and Twitter, to the entertainment industry. Out of all the respondents included in the study, 98 per cent of were on Facebook, while 56 per cent were on Twitter.
egarding daily visits, nine out of ten informants visited their Facebook account each day, while half of the respondents visited their Twitter accounts on a daily basis. Andzulis et al. (2012) asked the respondents what or who they followed on Facebook and Twitter, and they gave varying responses.
Andzulis et al. (2012) made a very interesting observation from their study. They concluded that Twitter is the main social media site that people use to connect with others, while Facebook is the one that people use to connect with shows, movies, and brands. It is important for marketers to keep track of these developments. For example, they should analyse the way people are creating communities and fandoms online (Andzulis et al. 2012).
Based on the behaviour of all consumers engaged in social networking and news media, it is the role of marketers to determine how the sites impact on consumption of goods and services. Clark & Roberts (2010) found that social media is significant in determining how people watch movies and share their experiences.
However, the choice to purchase a movie still largely depends on the traditional marketing strategies of firms. Previews and trailers are the main determinants of whether a person buys a movie or not. The consumers can watch trailers on YouTube, movie websites, TV, or at the theatre. The previews and trailers influence about 40 per cent of the consumers, while TV adverts and word of mouth influence 20 percent and 18 percent of the consumers, respectively. The influence of social media is placed at 9 per cent (Bruce et al. 2012).
In conclusion, it is important to note that new media and social networking have a significant impact on the entertainment industry. In particular, the two influence how people are watching movies and programs on the television, as well as how they are listening to music. In addition, social media have emerged as important sources of breaking news.
Marketers can take advantage of the influence the new media and social networking services has on consumers. For example, by using social media, marketers can gather information on what consumers want by sneak-previewing their public conversations.
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