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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Measuring the success of Australian Films - The Film Impact Rating



The Story so far.....

Way back in January three Melbourne academics Deb Verhoeven, Alwyn Davidson and Bronwyn Coate published an academic research paper devoted to considering ways of measuring the success or otherwise of Australia’s film production.

The introduction to their paper stated.
International markets have in recent years become a critical component of the
business model for Hollywood cinema, opening up a renewed interest in the
global dimensions of film diffusion. Smaller film-producing nations such as
Denmark have similarly emphasised global distribution as a key component of
the industry’s success. Typically, however, claims for Australian film industry
success rely almost exclusively on a film’s domestic box office performance. This
paper considers the possibilities for an expanded approach to measuring success
and failure in the Australian film industry. Adopting analytic methods from
cinema studies, cultural economics and geo-spatial sciences, this paper will
examine the international theatrical circulation of Australian films using a unique
global database of cinema showtimes. This data set captures all formal film
screenings in 47 countries over an 18-month period ending 1 June 2014 and
enables detailed empirical study of the locations visited by Australian-produced
films. In conjunction with relevant box office data and contextual critical
commentary, we propose a revised and expanded ‘film impact rating’ for
assessing the reported performance of Australian films.
 
The full paper is behind a rather expensive paywall and I don’t know if any special circumstances apply to having a peek at less than the full tariff. Notwithstanding that, my friend Bruce Hodsdon, a long time cinephile whose initial training as an economist had caused him to ponder the question of measuring success on previous occasions, most notably in an article published in Metro magazine, a copy of which I posted here at Hodsdon article, gave some serious consideration to the research paper and I published a response to it which considered the FIR in some detail.

Things have kept moving and Deb, Alwyn and Bronwyn have responded in detail to Bruce’s comments. Their response is also posted here .
 
The authors have also taken a most interesting further step by setting up a website, the snappily titled Reel Measures, which explains what they are trying to do allows anyone who has the data relating to a particular film to enter it and generate their own Film Impact Rating. Apparently a number of producers have already had a crack.

Bruce is currently having a think about the most recent response to his thoughts and promises a further iteration. So...a little more to come...

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