How Can Film And TV Market Research Work During COVID-19? Screen Engine/ASI Has Some Ideas

Screen Engine/ASI

EXCLUSIVE: The operating environment faced by Hollywood is the most daunting of most people’s lifetimes, upending most assumptions about how the business functions.

One sometimes-overlooked but essential aspect of keeping film and TV titles moving through the pipeline, for example, is market research. But how are focus groups and test screenings supposed to happen in times of COVID-19?

Screen Engine/ASI has developed a set of virtual research products designed to equip film and TV clients with the the information they need regarding consumer behaviors and attitudes.

“In this current climate of uncertainty, we found that most of our clients are looking for more consumer insights than ever to help them manage the risks inherent in the decisions they are still having and will be having to make,” Screen Engine/ASI CEO and founder Kevin Goetz said. “The credible solutions we are announcing result from the work of a ‘strike team’ we put together to focus on the health, safety, logistics and financial concerns of the industry.”

One of the cornerstones of the research process is the test screening. With the future of gatherings and theatrical screenings uncertain, but with rabid appetite for entertainment content, Screen Engine/ASI is taking the process into the virtual realm. In lieu of in-person screenings, an alternative uses bulked-up digital security methods and a heavily vetted respondent group watching a movie or TV show and participating in an online focus groups. Dial testing is still part of the mix, and the client and creative team can observe the focus groups via a video feature.

In addition to the virtual screenings, new products include online live script reads and pop-up insight communities and BOSS, short for Box Office Scheduling Simulator. In the words of Screen Engine/ASI, BOSS “will help distributors make informed release date decisions when movie theaters reopen.”

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