The Quorum

Tracking 101: The relationship between awareness and interest

Film tracking has existed for decades, but it may be new to many of you. To help you interpret the numbers, here’s a primer on awareness and interest.

The metrics are fairly self-explanatory. Awareness measures the people familiar with the movie, and interest measures who wants to see it. Awareness is calculated as a percentage (50% of people want to see AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM). That’s easy to understand.

Things get a bit trickier when it comes to interest. Unlike awareness, which is a percentage, interest is measured as a score from 1 to 10. The higher the number, the more interested people are in seeing the film. As a rule of thumb, a score above 6.0 is preferable. If it’s a large-budget tentpole, a score of 6.5 is ideal.

The two metrics are intrinsically tied. We call awareness a gateway metric, meaning it’s impossible to be interested in a film if you’re not aware of it. So awareness is always the first thing we look at. Having said that, awareness alone doesn’t drive ticket sales. People have to want to see the film too. And that’s where interest comes in.

A film can find itself in one of three positions:

  1. Awareness and interest are in alignment
  2. Awareness is higher than interest
  3. Interest is higher than awareness

The implications of each will be discussed shortly, but let’s begin by figuring out how to tell the difference between the three. How do I know if a film is in alignment, if awareness is higher, or if interest is higher? The easiest way is to look at the awareness and interest charts and see where a film ranks on each.

Take, for example, THE FLASH. Today, among the 56 films being tracked by The Quorum, it ranks 17th in awareness and 19th in interest. Awareness and interest are in alignment.

Now, look at BARBIE. We’ve written before about the misalignment with this film. BARBIE ranks 16th in awareness but only 51st in interest. That means a sizable number of people know about the movie but don’t necessarily want to see it. This is a tricky spot to be in for a studio. In this case, Warner Bros. finds itself in a position of having to shift perceptions – they need to convert people who already know about the film from being not interested to interested. That’s not always easy to do. In the case of BARBIE, there is still plenty of time for that shift to take place, but it’s never good for a film to be on its heels when building a marketing campaign.

Now let’s look at the upcoming film 65. This Sony release ranks 18th in interest but only 27th in awareness. This film is in the opposite position. Not many people know about the film, but the few who are aware are also interested in seeing it. This is an easier position to be in for a studio. Sony doesn’t have to change people’s minds; it just needs to grow awareness. In other words, it’s easier to increase awareness than interest. It’s much more desirable to have that interest already in place.

The next you look at awareness or interest, don’t do it in a vacuum. Looking at how each film ranks on its respective chart will help give additional context to the scores.

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