Predicting movie ticket sales through Wikipedia edits

How can we use big data to grapple with the future?  An intriguing new paper presents a new take on this question, using Wikipedia edits to forecast movie box office.  “Early Prediction of Movie Box Office Success based on Wikipedia Activity Big Data” (Márton Mestyán, Taha Yasseri, János Kertész)(pdf) shows a model owing much to previous efforts relying on Twitter mentions, but moving in a different direction.

We show that the popularity of a movie could be predicted well in advance by measuring and analyzing the activity level of editors and viewers of the corresponding entry to the movie in Wikipedia.

Note that this is a contextual approach, not based on the actual content of a movie (“the Wikipedia model does not require any complex content analysis”).

The maths go over my head, which reminds me to do some studying.

One minor note: I like the way they define rigor.

(via Technology Review)

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