Research on their involvements in the subject. Persuasiveness of

Question and Aims:

Online reviews (ORs) have been increasingly utilized
by consumers to make an informed decision to purchase a product. Therefore, it
is essential for marketers to understand the determinants of information
adoption of ORs. The paper deals with how certain factors can influence consumers’
adoption of online movie reviews. Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) is adopted
in the study to understand the different routes consumers take to arrive at
decision depending on their involvements in the subject. Persuasiveness of
experts’ critiques versus user reviews will also be compared. Finally, the
effect of information valence in ORs to adoption will also be investigated. The
findings will be useful for both consumers and movie production companies.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now


                Electronic Word-of-Mouth
(eWOM) is defined as “any positive or negative statement made by potential,
actual, or former customers about a product or company, which is made available
to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet” (Hennig-Thurau and
Walsh 2003).  It is considered by many as
world’s most effective marketing communication form, yet the least understood one
(Misner 1999). As technology advances, the need to move away from traditional,
speed-and-range-limited form of WOM to eWOM has become increasingly emergent (Duan,
Gu, and Whinston 2008).

            ORs have been the most helpful and
influential form of eWOM with respect to consumers purchase decisions (Filieri,
Hofacker, and Alguezaui 2018). OR is superior compared to other forms due to
its reliance on customers’ experience, not in customers’ expectations such as discussion
forum of an incoming product. (Duan, Gu, and Whinston 2008). In the movie
industry, OR is playing a significant part influencing consumers’ buying
decisions. The main reason why people subscribe to ORs is to reduce perceived
risk before purchase (Ismagilova et al. 2017). According to a report released
by research firm Nielsen (2014), 80% of people searched for reviews before
deciding to watch a movie. More than half of them got it from review
aggregation websites (RAWs) such as IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes.

Apart from its benefit to consumers, movie production companies
are also reaping benefits as ORs also play a role in determining movies’ sales.
For instance, Suicide Squad which was performing well during the first two days
of the opening experienced 41% drop on the third day due to 26% rating and bad
reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (Lee 2016). While bad reviews negatively influence
sales, good reviews are seen to be a good promotional tool for company. It is
more effective compared to advertisement as it is perceived to be more credible
and trustworthy (Liu 2006). Another important managerial use of ORs is to help forecast
incoming movie sales. Liu (2006) showed that the inclusion of ORs to the sales
forecasting equation reduce its errors by 23%. In a time when hundreds of new
movies are released annually, it becomes imperative to understand how people
perceive ORs and what factors influence people’s adoption of ORs.  

            In this paper, the main theory which
the analysis will be based on is the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)
developed by Petty and Cacioppo (1986). The theory suggests that there are two
routes which an individual might take to adopt information: central route and
peripheral route (Petty, Cacioppo, and Schumann 1983). The choice between two
routes is based on individual’s involvement in the subject. Individuals with
high involvement take the central route, spending more time and providing a
rational response using criteria such as information quality (Petty, Cacioppo,
and Schumann 1983; Filieri and McLeay 2013). On the other hand, individuals
with low involvement take a peripheral route and use information short cuts, such
as source credibility to make a decision (Petty, Cacioppo, and Schumann 1983;
Filieri and McLeay 2015)

            Determinants of information adoption,
although have been widely studied, are far from being completely understood. Decision
to base the research on movie industry was not arbitrarily made, instead it
considered at least two following rationales. First, movies are experience
goods, whose utility cannot be known or imagined prior purchase (Filieri and
McLeay 2013). While previous works tend to focus on retail products (Mudambi
and Schuff 2010; Pan and Zhang 2011), reviews about experience goods are arguably
more useful to consumers by reducing the difficulties to judge a product prior
consumptions (Li, Hitt, and Zhang 2011). Second, in movie industry, the
distinction between usual user reviews and experts’ critiques is clear. Film
critics create reviews regularly and their effects on consumers’ decision might
be different from those of user reviews. RAW like Rotten Tomatoes even has
separate databases for the two. This can help fill the gap left by works on other
industries, such as accommodation which is popular in WOM marketing literature
(Filieri and McLeay 2013), whose reviews are perceived to be useful by
consumers (Filieri and McLeay 2013), but lack of distinction in term of source



In this report, the hypothetical relationships between
independent factors and information adoption are investigated. These
independent factors are chosen from previous literatures’ exploration on determinants
of information adoption (Filieri and McLeay 2013; Filieri 2015; Cheung and Lee
2008; Filieri 2016; Filieri, Hofacker, and Alguezaui. 2018, Reimer and
Benkenstein 2016). These measures include Information Relevance, Information
Factuality, Information Timeliness, Value Added Information, Movie Rating, and
Source Credibility. According to ELM, these measures can be categorized into
two routes explained earlier, based on moderating variable Consumers

Two novel variables are introduced in this paper,
namely Source Expertise and Valence. Source Expertise is presented to study how
critic reviews and user reviews perform to influence consumers’ buying
decision. Valence is explored to understand whether positive or negative ORs
have the biggest impact to consumer’s information adoption (Filieri 2016; Cui,
Lui, and Guo 2012). Appendix A illustrates how these variables are linked and
constructed in this study.

Research will be conducted quantitatively using
survey. Data will be based on a RAW Rotten Tomatoes. Questionnaire will be
constructed to identify whether aforementioned hypothetical relationships are
supported in real life and responses will be measured with 7-point Likert scale
ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Respondents will be chosen via
convenient sampling yet variation in demographics will try to be preserved.