The introduction of social media has – to say the least – been a major influence on how companies in all types of industries conduct business. The film industry isn't too different from the rest. In recent years, movie studios have completely changed the way they operate, relying on social media more and more to connect with the audience, gather feedback, and promote their movies online.
The film industry is ever expanding, and that means studios need to do something extremely unique and different from their competition to hook the audiences into their movies. This leads studios to experiment with different styles of marketing and promotion, including viral marketing.
Viral marketing has surged in popularity over the past couple of years, leading to some extremely innovative marketing campaigns like Deadpool and Suicide Squad. These days people are more aware of movies about to be released to due a massive amount of clips, footage, pictures, and online buzz before the release.
In fact, the very reason Deadpool actually made it to theatres was because someone (I think we can guess who) leaked some test footage online, and thankfully Fox listened to the massive fan response.
Undeniably, social media has left a positive mark in Hollywood. However, it does have some major drawbacks to it as well.
Piracy is one of the biggest concerns in the film industry right now. Often a movie can find its way online even before its release. Recent examples of this include The Hateful Eight, The Revenant, and even Captain America: Civil War (although it was leaked a couple of days after its early release in China).
Piracy can seriously hurt the box office performance of a movie. Low box office leads to dissatisfied movie studios, which leads to lower quality movies.
Not to mention that it seriously sucks to put months of work into something, and then have it leak online. Unfortunately, piracy has grown immensely over the past few years, and continues to do so, despite best efforts to put a stop to it. There are hundreds of websites offering pirated content on the web, and it's impossible to shut them all down.
2. Clickbait, Over The Top Rumours
Due to the extensive amount of online journalism (which is not a bad thing), very often writers feel the need to create clickbaity titles for their articles, and while this may result in more hits on the article, it is detrimental in the long term, as viewers will soon get annoyed by reading false headlines, and may even refrain from opening the link.
Which brings me to my next point – rumours. Everyone loves a good rumour, specially when it comes to your highly anticipated upcoming movies. I mean, the possibility that there might be a secret Flash cameo in Suicide Squad is exciting! However, these rumours can occasionally get out of control.
A recent example would be the "Ben Affleck is actually Slade Wilson in disguise" rumour. The internet exploded due to that article, and while it may have been an interesting read, that's not going to happen.
3. Too Much Coverage
With so many news websites about movies and pop culture, it is imperative for websites to come up with new, unique, and engaging content that keeps readers hooked. This often comes through exclusive "scoops" via various movie news websites. Although it's exciting to read about your favourite upcoming movies, it's causing a huge problem for upcoming movies. There are very few surprises left.
Case in point: Batman v Superman and Civil War. By the time these movies came out, we knew major plot details from the movies, including the fact that Lex Luthor would kidnap Martha Kent, and Bucky killed Howard and Maria Stark.
Due to social media's wide reach, it is extremely difficult to keep all the plot details hidden, and it has been affecting the moviegoing experience for many people.
This is, simply put, the most annoying thing in the world. When you've been waiting for that one movie for months, and then some random person posts a huge spoiler from the movie without an advanced warning... ugh.
This is becoming more common every passing year, especially with the release of blockbuster movies. It happened with The Force Awakens. It happened with Batman v Superman. It happened with Civil War. The big twist in all these movies was spoiled for many people, thanks to trolls who were posting spoilers with pictures in the comments of every post.
TV shows aren't immune to it either, especially Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. So if you aren't caught up on your favourite show or movie, you'd be better off staying off social media.
Social media has had its positive impacts on the film industry. A recent example being Warner Bros. dealing with the fallout from Batman v Superman. A couple months ago, they invited various online bloggers and critics to the set of Justice League, where they described that they had taken feedback received online carefully, and hoped to create a movie fans would appreciate.
Companies like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime are constantly bringing new content to their website for users to enjoy at home. Truth is, social media has provided an outlet for fans to come together and discuss their love for movies, as well as allow our voices to be heard by movie studios.
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