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Secrets of Success in the Entertainment Business

Star Wars. Avengers. Frozen. Is it luck or is it science that make these movies, and their sequels, such megahits? A little bit of both, says Marketing Professor Mark Houston.

May 03, 2019

By Elaine Cole

Matt HoustonMarketing Professor Mark Houston studied the business of movies, video games, books and music for more than three years to write a book, Entertainment Science, which features research that shows success is bit of both luck and science.

The entertainment industry has long been dominated by legendary screenwriter William Goldman’s “Nobody knows anything” mantra, which argues that success is the result of intuition and instinct. But when movie moguls combine that intuition and instinct with data analytics and scholarly knowledge, they get a distinct competitive advantage. Just look at the rise of Netflix and Spotify, or Disney’s recent successes.

For Entertainment Science, Houston and his co-authors unlocked a large repertoire of scientific studies by business scholars and entertainment economists and identified essential factors, mechanisms, and methods that help a new entertainment product succeed.

“While coupling a good idea with smart data analytics and entertainment theory can’t guarantee a hit, it systematically and substantially increases the probability of success in the entertainment industry,” Houston said.

Houston is the Eunice and James L. West Chair in Marketing at the TCU Neeley School of Business.

Entertainment Science: Data Analytics and Practical Theory for Movies, Games, Books, and Music. Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, University of Münster, and Mark B. Houston, Texas Christian University. 1st ed. 2019.