Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Film's opening-weekend can be predicted by monitoring tweets.

Twitter: A new box-office oracle?

HP Labs researchers have developed a way to use Twitter to gauge real-time interest in movies and accurately predict how they will perform at the box office on opening weekend. HP Labs' Sitaram Asur and Bernardo Huberman developed computational formulas that analyze Twitter feeds and use the rate at which movies are mentioned in Twitter updates to predict the first-weekend returns.

The research also showed Twitter could be used to predict other events, such as how major products will be received and the outcomes of elections, according to Huberman. HP Labs studied nearly 3 million Twitter updates that mentioned 24 major movie releases over the course of three months. The researchers factored in the release date and the number of theaters the movie would be shown in, to predict the opening weekend box office performance with 97.3 percent accuracy.

They also developed a system that evaluates the sentiments of Twitter updates as positive, negative, or neutral, to predict the following weekend's returns with 94 percent accuracy.

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