To gain a better understanding of how this niche operates outside of their main platform, Youtube, I created a Twitter account posting short, out-of-context videos, to see how the community would respond. These videos were taken from the content creators’ Youtube videos, and cut down to make them difficult to understand without background knowledge. The results show that from the 17 posts, the account gained a total of 6 followers, 8 likes, 809 impressions, and 131 media views.
If you would like to browse through the Twitter account, the handle is @reactsnocontext.
What Are Academics Saying About This?
I mentioned in a previous blog post, which you can read here, that a study by Shruti, et. al. (2014) showed that the like count of movie pages on social media platforms influence people’s decision making when buying a ticket to watch a movie in theatre — or in more recent years, their decision to subscribe to a streaming service. Furthermore, a study conducted by Huang, et. al. (2017) found that a high volume of online comments, namely from Youtube commentary channels, generate a higher level of awareness of the movie, attracting individuals’ attention to the movie.
It’s safe to say that the message here, is that content creators have a huge impact on how audience members perceive the media they are shown. But I wanted to dig deeper into secondary sources, and find references to back up my own research.
In 2015, Pentheny conducted a study on the influence movie reviews have on consumers. Namely, examining participants’ desire to make a decision on whether or not to see a film based off the reviews they are provided.
Before looking into the results, it’s important to understand the concept of Need for Cognitive Closure (NFCC). This refers to the desire for an answer on a given topic. Those high in NFCC desire the answer to a question and do not feel like doing a lot of searching to find it (Pentheny, 2015). Whereas someone low in NFCC is more open to confusion and ambiguity.
The results from the first round of questions found that overall, participants with high NFCC levels found the consumer reviews to be more helpful than the critic reviews, and also believed others would feel this way. Conversely, those low in NFCC found the critic reviews more helpful than the consumer reviews.
The second batch of questions found that participants high in NFCC appeared to feel that the opinions of reviewers mattered more to them than those low in NFCC, regardless of the type of information they consumed.
Therefore, those with high NFCC are more impressionable, and are highly influenced by what is being discussed in the reviews. These individuals are more likely to agree with the opinions being shared in the video, and may often base their own opinions off what they hear. Whereas, those low in NFCC tend to take their time making a decision, doing more research, and watching multiple reviews to get varying perspectives.
With that being said, the overall results from Pentheny’s study found that all respondents, no matter their NFCC levels, nevertheless showed signs of being influenced by the content of the reviews, as well as the source. Thus, my initial question is answered. All viewers are influenced by these movie commentary Youtubers, and the degree to which they are influenced varies, depending on their need for cognitive closure (NFCC).
Huang, J. Boh, WF. & Goh, KH. (2017). ’A Temporal Study of the Effects of Online Opinions: Information Sources Matter’, Journal of Management Information Systems, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 1169–1202.
Pentheny, J. R. (2015). ‘The Influence of Movie Reviews on Consumers’, University of New Hampshire, Honors Theses and Capstones, pp. 265.
Shruti. SD, Roy. & W, Zeng. (2014). ‘Influence of Social Media on Performance of Movies’, International Conference on Multimedia and Expo Workshops, IEEE.