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The Flixster Effect: 2 Billion Movie Ratings

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 12, 2009 at 7:16AM

Call it the Flixster Effect.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Call it the Flixster Effect.

As the viral buzz pushing Paranormal Activity demonstrates, a fundamental shift is transforming how people discover movies. The studios aren't just force-feeding marketing to consumers anymore. On social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, moviegoers are telling each other what to see, which is helping to steer people toward movies with buzz (Zombieland) and away from movies with bad WOM (The Invention of Lying).

But way more user movie ratings are shared on Flixster than Twitter.

Facebook and MySpace users are familiar with Flixster.com, the movie-oriented social network, which is growing exponentially. (I'm addicted to their movie trivia quizzes.) Flixster's 6 million users have now created 2 billion movie ratings and reviews. That's a staggering number after three and half years. Flixster CEO Joe Greenstein says that Flixster users--about 20 million uniques a month-- are creating 1,000 movie ratings and reviews a minute. "Word-of-mouth and social sharing is happening so fast," he says. "We live in a hyper-connected world. It's all about interacting, rating movies, sharing with friends. And the discovery of movies and decision-making on the mobile."

Moviegoers can impulsively decide what movie to go see by checking out reviews, ratings, and trailers on Flixster, can buy their tickets and pick a restaurant for dinner via iPhone's popular Flixster app "Movies" (number 12 of all iPhone apps, 20% market share of all U.S. iPhone users), and can check into their Netflix queue or download a movie from iTunes, as well.

Meanwhile, Flixster is collecting data about their users which they can use to target advertising. And the studios are very interested in that info.

UPDATE: More Americans are using social networks than ever.

This article is related to: Web/Tech, Digital Future, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.