The Differential Effects of Online Word-of-Mouth and Critics' Reviews on Pre-release Movie Evaluation

Anindita Chakravarty, Yong Liu, Tridib Mazumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


In this paper, we examine the persuasive influences of online user comments (or word-of-mouth) and of the reviews by movie critics on moviegoers' evaluation of to-be-released movies. Two distinctive features of this study are: (1) moviegoers are considered to be heterogeneous in their movie going frequency and (2) word-of-mouth and critical reviews are concurrently available, and the views expressed in the two messages are in conflict. Using three experiments with natural stimuli, we find that the persuasive effect of online word-of-mouth is stronger on infrequent than on frequent moviegoers, especially when it is negative (Study 1). The effect of negative word-of-mouth on infrequent moviegoers is enduring even in the presence of positive reviews by movie critics (Study 2). The relative influence of word-of-mouth and critical reviews are asymmetric with infrequent moviegoers more influenced by word-of-mouth, while frequent moviegoers more influenced by the reviews (Study 3). We validate this source-segment alignment through secondary data analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Interactive Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Movies
  • Online user comments
  • Product evaluation
  • Professional reviews
  • Segmentation
  • Social media
  • Third-party reviews
  • Word-of-mouth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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