Market

Competitors

Designed as an information based app with minimal social interaction other than the ability to share films via Twitter and Facebook, the original concept featured the whole festival programme with images, trailers, ticket availability, a personal festival planner, map integration and a live video stream. To avoid competition and merely adapting their basic concept, i decided to focus my project around social interaction and the ability to post film reviews. I also aimed to focus heavily on visual aesthetics, reflecting the contemporary and avant-garde characteristics of the festival, a factor I feel the original apps fails to do.

Case Study: Pinterest

The analysis of Pinterest provides a clearer understanding of the requirements of the modern day user. Jennifer Cario (2013, p.25) highlights the growing popularity of the social media site stating,

“With more than 25 million active users, Pinterest has fast become a major player in the world of social media, ranking as the third most popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter.”

This emphasises the impact Pinterest has made on the social networking world in a short period of time with Facebook and Twitter taking several years to gain popularity. This may be due to its unusual approach to social networking, where individuals categorise their interests through visual book marking and connect with friends by sharing boards of interest. In doing this, “Pinterest becomes an ever evolving collection of the things that interest them.” (Cario 2013, p.35). This highlights the enhanced user experience that Pinterest creates by integrating visual boards of content that present useful information to users, contrasting traditional search engines which provide textual content.

Facebook and Twitters inability to tailor content to user’s specific interests is what’s attracting users to networks like Pinterest, which allow them to create a visually stimulating environment around a collection of interests. Furthermore it highlights the importance of a visually clear and well-designed interface in initial user interest. I hope to recreate a similar online environment by creating a visual and minimalistic design that primarily focuses on presenting films and users opinions. In doing so, I hope this will attract users to the website and encourage them to join in and share their views on films.

Audience Research

I struggled to decide an initial target audience for my project as the festival hosts a broad range of films for most ages. One of the first steps I took was to research film audiences in the UK, which allowed me to pin point a smaller age range. Figure 1 demonstrates the trends of cinema audiences from 1997-2012.

Figure 1 Age distribution of cinema audiences aged 15+, 1997-2012

survey1

Source : National Readership Survey (NRS), Cinema Advertising Association.

According to a report on film audiences (Cinema Advertising Association, 2013) cinema viewers aged 45+ have steadily increased over the last eleven years, particularly in 2011 where they represented the highest percentage (36%) of cinema viewers. Additionally the graph highlights that individuals aged 15-24 and 25-34 cinema viewing, has gradually decreased by 18% and 10% over the last fifteen years (British Film Institute, 2013). This underlined that an older target audience of 35+ would be more suitable for my project, with a more mature audience regularly going to the cinema and increasing each year.

I also created a survey that questioned individuals about their social media preferences and search tendencies. The questionnaire was posted in numerous film forums and on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and obtained 100 respondents. When asked why individuals use mobile apps/ websites most (80.81%) respondents said for social reasons, with 69.7% stating for fun and 50.51% stating to gain information. This highlighted that users valued social interaction most, compared to all other activities. Additionally 41% respondents said they would use an interest based network on films, with 32% stating they might.

The survey proved extremely useful to the field of endeavour and provided me with enough information to prove that there was an audience for this project. It also underlined the original apps mistakes that my project should avoid, for example, rather than focusing on film content, ticket availability and venue location my project aims to focus on user interaction and the  ability to connect with people who share one common interest, a passion for films. Lastly it confirmed the assumption that users predominantly search for films via genre and most highly rated, a factor I took into consideration when planning the navigational properties of the site. chart2