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10 Facts About How Social Media has Shaped the Oscars and the Movie Business

By , February 23, 2013

The 85th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday, and movie buffs and celebrity watchers will huddle around screens to see who takes home the most coveted prize in show business.

But like most industries, the movie business has not been untouched by sweeping changes social media has ushered in. As you watch to see which titles (and which dresses) win at the Oscars, consider these nuggets about how social media is reshaping how we watch the Oscars and how social is impacting the film industry overall:

  • Oscar-nominated documentary Searching for Sugarman was partly shot with a $1.99 iPhone app after the filmmaker ran out of money for Super 8 film. Tweet
  • New York Times numbers guru Nate Silver applied his wizard-like data analysis to the Oscars, predicting that Argo will take Best Picture, Spielberg will Take Best Director, and Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Day-Lewis will win for actress and actor, respectively. Tweet
  • 50% of fans have bought movie tickets online as a result of social media recommendations  Tweet
  • For some, warnings to turn off your phone are just suggestions. 55% of moviegoers have texted during a movie.  Tweet
  • 3 of 4 Facebook users discover new movies from friends.  Tweet
  • Positive posts about movies had more influence over decisions than negative ones, says survey:  Tweet
  • Younger-skewing genres like horror get the most boost from social networking. 6% saw Paranormal Activity 3 because of social media.  Tweet
  • Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence would take home Oscars if social shares alone picked the winners. Tweet
  • Twitter has released a list of celebrities who will be live-tweeting the show Sunday, including Heidi Klum, Dick Van Dyke, and Helen Hunt.  Tweet
  • Tablet-owning moviegoers watched almost 47 movies on average over the past year, 10 more than other viewers Tweet


Marketing overall no longer has the same impact in the movie business. Social media reveals more of a movie’s flaws.

“The biggest issue for movie studios has always been that some films are good and others aren’t so good,” said Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corporation of America in an interview with AllThingsD. “Originally, marketing was supposed to smooth that out. But we can’t do that anymore. With social media, you can no longer hide the goods. … If you have a good movie and the right people see it, you can put that message out there and accelerate the promotion process. But those people don’t like it? That’s a very difficult message to muffle.”

Social media also sways how movies perform in theatres, Lynton said. Chatter can influence how much a movie brings in at the box office. “Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, viewers can actually affect the way a movie performs, he said. “A film’s audience can now help kill a movie or extend its life.”

Ready to add your thoughts to the conversation? Follow the action of the Oscars with the hashtag #Oscars or #BestDressed. Or head to the Academy’s Oscar Buzz page to see real-time tweets and photos of the big event. 


Photo credit: iheartstockings on flickr