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February 16, 2015

Film industry press: The most shared articles

Film industry pressLast week I looked at the volume of articles published by major film industry news publications.  This week I have built upon that information to uncover the film industry’s most shared, liked and tweeted articles. I studied all 239,720 articles published by Deadline, the Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, Screen International and Variety between 2012 and 2014. In summary…

  • Variety has the largest presence on Facebook while the Hollywood Reporter is most shared on Twitter.
  • “Dies” is Variety’s 20th most frequently-used word in headlines, appearing in 2.5% of headlines.
  • In 2014, the Hollywood Reporter received an average of 97 tweets per article.
  • 7% of the Hollywood Reporter headlines included the word ‘exclusive’, compared with 3% at Indiewire.
  • Variety published seven of the top ten most tweeted articles of the film industry press in 2012-14.
  • The most shared articles on Facebook have two major themes – death and politics.
  • Justin Bieber featured in the first and fourth most tweeted articles.
  • Jon Voight has the highest average number of Facebook shares of all writers
  • Only one in five of the articles shared/ liked by the film industry press received any Facebook comments

Caring who’s sharing

Variety is the publication with the largest presence on Facebook. This graph combines article likes, shares and comments to generate a figure for ‘Facebook activity’. In 2014, Variety stories received an average of 1,009 Facebook activities across all articles, compared with 854 for the Hollywood Reporter, 257 for Indiewire and 43 for Screen International.

Facebook activity of film industry press articles

As detailed at the end of this article, Deadline reorganized their site in August 2014 and their average Facebook activity for September to December 2014 was 743.

Tracking who’s tweeting

On Twitter, the Hollywood Reporter just inches ahead of Variety, with a 2014 average of 97 tweets per article, compared with Variety’s 86 tweets per article.

Average number of tweets for articles in the film industry press

 

What’s in a headline?

I thought it would be fun to try and get a sense of what each site was publishing.  The article text was too voluminous to study (the Hollywood Reporter articles came to 38.2 million words alone!) so I focused on the headlines. 7% of Hollywood Reporter headlines included the word ‘exclusive’, compared with 3% at Indiewire, 2.4% in Variety and 0.3% in both Screen International and Deadline.

Wordcloud from the headlines within the Film industry press

As you can see above, the word ‘dies’ is a popular word in Variety headlines.  In fact, it is Variety’s 20th most commonly-used word and appears in 2.5% of all their headlines.

Most tweeted articles in the film industry press

Variety has published seven of the top ten most tweeted articles of the film industry press in 2012-14, with the other three spots going to the Hollywood Reporter Justin Bieber features in the first and fourth most tweeted articles.

PublicationArticle
The Young Hollywood Awards (Photos)
Link by Variety Staff on 27 Jul 2014
Cara Delevingne Lands Female Lead in John Green’s ‘Paper Towns’ (EXCLUSIVE)
Link by Justin Kroll on 16 Sep 2014
Roger Ebert Dies at 70
Link by Pat Saperstein on 4 Apr 2013
Justin Bieber Reveals Will Smith Counsels Him Weekly in Rare, Raw Interview
Link by Shirley Halperin on 20 Nov 2013
Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 4? Set to Play in Theaters in 2017
Link by Marc Graser on 6 Nov 2014
Robin Williams Found Dead in Possible Suicide
Link by Andrew Wallenstein on 11 Aug 2014
Ben Affleck Is the New Batman
Link by Justin Kroll on 22 Aug 2013
Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards Nominations Revealed
Link by Philiana Ng on 24 Feb 2014
Robert Downey Jr. to Join ‘Captain America 3? (EXCLUSIVE)
Link by Marc Graser on 13 Oct 2014
Chris Rock Pens Blistering Essay on Hollywood's Race Problem: "It's a White Industry"
Link by Chris Rock on 12 Mar 2014

Articles most shared on Facebook

During the period I studied, actor Jon Voight wrote just two articles (identical pieces appearing in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety) and one of those articles is the second on the ‘most shared on Facebook’ chart.  This means that Jon Voight is by far and away the author whose writing has the largest average ‘Facebook share count’ in the film industry press, with an average of 24,159 Facebook shares per article published.  The second author on that scale is comedian Chris Rock, with 11,594 shares for his piece on race in the industry. The most shared articles on Facebook have two major themes – death and politics.

PublicationArticleFB shares
Filmmaker Accuses Obama Administration of Silencing Whistleblowers (Video)
Link by Aaron Couch on 19 Feb 2013
397,752
Jon Voight Pens Letter to 'Ignorant' Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz on Israel: 'Hang Your Heads in Shame' (Guest Column)
Link by Jon Voight on 8 Feb 2014
45,297
Hollywood Cowardice: George Clooney Explains Why Sony Stood Alone In North Korean Cyberterror Attack
Link by Mike Fleming Jr on 18 Dec 2014
28,410
Mickey Rooney, Legendary Actor, Dies at 93
Link by Carmel Dagan on 6 Apr 2014
26,659
Animation Legend Arthur Rankin Jr. Dies at 89
Link by Mike Barnes on 31 Jan 2014
21,139
'Gravity' Spinoff: Watch the Other Side of Sandra Bullock's Distress Call (Exclusive Video)
Link by Seth Abramovitch on 20 Nov 2013
21,028
‘Big Bang Theory': Voice of Mrs. Wolowitz Dies
Link by Pat Saperstein on 11 Nov 2014
19,307
Longmire' Cancelled By A&E, Will Be Shopped Elsewhere
Link by Nellie Andreevaon on 28 Aug 2014
19,093
Tommy Ramone, Founding Member of Influential Punk Band, Dies at 65
Link by Christopher Morris on 11 Jul 2014
18,692
Ellen Page Comes Out as Gay: 'I Am Tired of Lying by Omission' (Exclusive)
Link by Seth Abramovitch on 14 Feb 2014
18,518

Most discussed articles

Across all publications, if an article was ‘liked’ or shared on Facebook, it received an average of 0.2 Facebook comments.  Or, to put it another way, only one in five shared/ liked articles received any Facebook comments.

PublicationArticleFB comments
Filmmaker Accuses Obama Administration of Silencing Whistleblowers (Video)
Link by Aaron Couch on 19-Feb-2013
179,763
Ben Affleck Is the New Batman
Link by Justin Kroll on 22-Aug-2013
97,951
Longmire' Cancelled By A&E, Will Be Shopped Elsewhere
Link by Nellie Andreevaon on 28-Aug-2014
68,071
'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks
Link by Lesley Goldberg on 18-Dec-2013
57,823
‘Duck Dynasty': Phil Robertson Suspended Indefinitely Following Anti-Gay Remarks
Link by AJ Marechal on 18-Dec-2013
45,489
Texas Theater to Show 'Team America' In Place of 'The Interview'
Link by Erik Hayden on 17-Dec-2014
44,040
Charlie Hunnam Drops Out of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Movie
Link by Borys Kit , Matthew Belloni on 10-Dec-2013
38,377
Sandra Oh to Exit 'Grey's Anatomy' (Exclusive)
Link by Lesley Goldberg on 13-Aug-2013
33,543
Roger Hill, Who Played Cyrus in ‘The Warriors,’ Dies at 65
Link by Carmel Dagan on 25-Feb-2014
32,658
It's Official: Sony Scraps 'The Interview'
Link by Mike Fleming Jr on 17-Dec-2014
31,573

Most controversial articles

There were some articles which had a large number of Facebook comments but few ‘likes’ or shares.  I have dubbed these the ‘most controversial articles’ as one would expect that if the commenters were all adding words of support then they too would share or like the article.

PublicationArticleComments per like / share
Matt Damon, Hayden Panettiere Honored at Environmental Media Awards
Link by Maane Khatchatourian on 20 Oct 2013
24.5
Capsule shoot starring Edmund Kingsley underway
Link by Michael Rosser on 15 Oct 2014
20.0
'Veronica Mars' Gets a Digital Spinoff
Link by Paula Bernstein on 15 Jan 2014
16.0
'Girls' Recap 10: Saving the Worst for Last
Link by Beth Hanna on 18 Mar 2013
14.9
Lukas Moodysson Returns to Feel-Good Films With New Project
Link by Scott Roxborough on 16 Apr 2012
14.4
Animal Kingdom' Filmmaker David Michá´d Will Direct Premiere Episode of Starz Ballet Drama 'Flesh and Bone'
Link by Eric Eidelstein on 19 Feb 2014
14.0
NBC Delays 'Community,' 'Whitney' Returns
Link by Lesley Goldberg on 10 Aug 2012
12.0
'Trishna' Trailer: Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed Fall in -- and Out -- of Love (Video)
Link by Sophie Schillaci on 4 May 2012
12.0
Where's Janet? Marvel's 'Ant-Man' Omission Provokes Online Outcry
Link by Graeme McMillan on 29 Jul 2014
11.5
OWN Sets Cast For New Tyler Perry Drama Series 'If Loving You Is Wrong'
Link by Nellie Andreevaon on 5 Jun 2014
11.5

Notes

There are a few things to take into account with today’s research…

  • At the mercy of Mark Zuckerberg and cohorts – The data for social shares comes via the APIs of the social networks, through which anyone can see how many times a URL has been shared, tweeted, etc.  I have no way of verifying this information or knowing how complete it is.
  • Missing Deadline’s – Prior to August 2014, Deadline articles seem extremely unpopular on all of the social media sites I researched (Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn).  Assuming that they didn’t just ‘get good’ six months ago, I have concluded from the data that they must have changed how their site is structured around that date.  This means that the current URLs don’t reflect the URLs that Facebook et al have data for. Consequently, I have removed Deadline from charts showing averages and it should be noted that they are most likely underrepresented in the top ten tables.  (If anyone from Deadline can provide me with the old site structure then I would be happy to re-run the research to update the findings).
  • When is an article not an article? – Online journalism is much more fluid than print, as articles are often amended, removed and reissued in an altered form. I did my best to catch duplications, empty articles, etc. and as far as I can tell these make up a very small amount of the total articles. Some articles were added to and extended many times, such as this Deadline article which was updated 10 times. In my stats these appear as one article as I based the uniqueness of articles on the URL.

Epilogue

From next week I will start sharing the results from a big study I performed into film schools.

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