Global: Do user reviews guide consumers’ choices of movies and TV shows?
December 6th, 2022, Clifton Mark

Global: Do user reviews guide consumers’ choices of movies and TV shows?

How do you choose which movies or TV shows to watch? Traditionally, professional cinema critics and word-of-mouth were the main sources of guidance when choosing what media to consume. But since the rise of the social internet, consumer-generated reviews of nearly every kind of product or service have become ubiquitous. E-commerce sites contain reviews of their wares, there are specialized review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, and a Google search will turn up reviews of all categories of products. But how often do user reviews guide purchase decision? YouGov asked over 18,000 consumers in 17 markets what products and services they use reviews to help them choose. Their answers revealed how these reviews affect their choices when it comes to cinema and TV.

There is some unsurprising demographic variation in the answers. Younger consumers are more likely to be guided by online reviews with 35% of 18-24’s regularly consulting them. This is nearly double the proportion of 55+ consumers who do the same (19%). Education is another significant demographic category related to online review use. Graduates consult consumer reviews at a rate of 30% compared to only 23% of non-graduates.

Different markets also hold quite different attitudes towards reviews by other consumers. Generally, Asian markets are most likely to consult them for cinema and TV shows. India is the highest at 41%, followed by China at 39% and Hong Kong at 33%. However, this pattern does not hold in Singapore, where only 24% of consumers use online reviews to choose movies and TV shows nor Indonesia at 23%. Consumer reviews are least popular in Germany and Denmark at 17% and the US and Italy at 21%. While these rates are still quite low in a comparative perspective, online reviews have become more popular over the past year. For example, in 2021, only 10% of Germans said they regularly consult them and 14% of Danes. While consumers who regularly consult online reviews to make their cinema and TV choices are still in the minority, particularly in Europe and the US, YouGov data suggests that their number is growing in most markets.

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Methodology:YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 514 and 2023 for each market. Surveys were conducted online in October 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.  

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