Researchers at Columbia University and Boccini University, Italy, suggest that when controlling for marketing campaigns, regular consumers display more "good taste" than previously assumed.
Empirical judgement on taste has shown weak relations between expert judgment and market success with a mass audience.
However, instead of looking at box-office success, which can be contaminated by marketing campaigns as well as sharp drop-offs after opening weekend, Morris B. Holbrook (Columbia University) and Michela Addis (Bocconi University, Italy) analyzed reviews of movies done by non-professionals, including those on the popular Web site IMdb.com. They found a close association between expert opinion and the opinions of ordinary people.
"When using sequential and independent measures and when controlling for marketing-related aspects of a film's commercial impact - our findings support the conclusion that ordinary consumers show "good taste" to a degree not hitherto recognized," the authors write.
"Films of the sort that win favourable evaluations of excellence from expert reviewers also tend to win approval from ordinary consumers and that films of the kind that ordinary consumers consider excellent tend to elicit liking and word-of-mouth or click-of-mouse recommendations," they added.