Twitter can predict box-office success, study says

21:51, April 13, 2010      

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Computer scientists at Hewlett Packard say that the micro-blogging service Twitter can be used to predict the future box-office takings of blockbuster films. After studying more than 3 million messages, known as tweets, connected to about 25 movies and found the rate at which messages were produced could be used to accurately predict the box-office takings before the film had opened.

Further analysis of the content could even predict ongoing success. "Our predictions were incredibly close," Bernardo Huberman, head of the social computing lab at Hewlett Packard said. The system employed by the researchers predicted that zombie film The Crazies would take 16.8 million U.S. dollars in its first weekend in the United States. It actually took 16.06 million dollars. Many other predictions were equally close.

"We developed algorithms to analyse these tweets and measure the rate at which they were produced," said Dr Huberman. "Our intuition was that the faster people tweet, the more likely they are to go and see it." Authors of the report, findings of which have been published on the arvix website, say that the demographic of Twitter, which tends to be young, tech-savvy and reasonably affluent, may limit the utility of the system for analysis of some trends, such as those aimed at children. However, Dr Huberman believes it could be of use in forecasting other trends, such as how well a gadget or product will sell.

Source: Agencies


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