Texas Tech University

Dr. Dass Forecasting Revenue for Films

December 5, 2011

Rawls College of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Mayukh Dass, a stalwart in the field of cutting-edge marketing innovation and research, has helped to create a unique statistical model that could potentially impact the way film studios forecast revenue for their films and plan for marketing budgets.

Dr. Dass, in partnership with professors from Emory University and the University of South Florida, harnessed the power of electronic word-of-mouth by compiling nearly one million movie reviews posted on websites like IMBD and Yahoo Movies; a total of 800 films over a ten-year period. Dass and his team essentially measured the dynamics of the "buzz" of a film through functional data analysis and attempted to answer three questions: 1) Do consumer reviews matter, i.e. can consumer reviews be used to predict box office sales? 2) Which metric - valence, volume or dispersion--is more informative? 3) How do consumer reviews evolve?

"I've always been interested in understanding the evolution of box office revenue," said Dr. Dass, whose research and interests in art have resulted in numerous marketing research projects within the industry. "The 'buzz' or word-of-mouth of films has always been around, but there has never been a practical way to quantify or measure the impact of this phenomenon. That's what our research hopes to shed some light on."

The research has the potential to help the film industry, which accumulated $1.3 billion in revenues in 2010, with forecasting, budget allocation for film projects and generally help predict the success of their projects by measure "buzz" online.

In addition to submitting his research to various top academic journals, Dr. Dass will soon present his findings to the Indian School of Business, the Indian Statistical Institute and the Indian Institute of Management, three of India's top business schools.

A Rawls College of Business faculty member since 2008, Dr. Dass' work and research have been published in such academic journals as Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, Environmental Modeling and Software, International Journal of Computational Intelligence Research, International Journal of Forecasting, International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, Journal of Business & Economic Research, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Probability and Statistics, Services Business Journal, and Statistical Science.