New research helps filmmakers increase revenues

Tuesday, 9 October 2012  Features

The timing of a DVD release is crucial to maximise revenue for film makers, according to the latest research from the Australian School of Business.

Film studios aim to maximise total sales by releasing a DVD at the right interval after a cinematic release. That optimal time for the DVD release has been modelled by an Australian School of Business PhD student.

Sumaiya Ahmed says "if the DVD is released too early, people may defer going to a cinema and instead buy or rent the DVD. That will cause lower sales at the box office. Equally, releasing too late once the excitement surrounding the film has dissipated may also lead to lower DVD sales. My research uses cutting-edge modelling, known as copula modelling, to find the optimal time for DVD release in order to maximise total sales."

"The real value of my model is to inform specific managerial decision-making. I have found that while the average waiting time before a DVD is released is 13 weeks, the optimal time in some cases could be earlier. However, it differs across movies, depending on characteristics such as genre, or critical rating."

UNSW recognised the quality of her PhD research and the way she pitched it by awarding her first place in the University's Three Minute Thesis Competition 2012, an academic competition for PhD and Research Masters candidates. She will now go onto the inter-university final.

Her supervisor Professor Ashish Sinha says "this is a great result from a student who is very active in the higher degree research program. Her research has significance for the film industry and it is a credit for her, and for the Australian School of Business, that she will now go onto the Australia and New Zealand final in Brisbane.

"This is a testament to her dedication, the high quality of her work and what she has achieved in such a short space of time. Her doctoral research delves into an important managerial decision - that of when to release a product in an auxiliary or secondary channel," says Professor Sinha.

The Three Minute Thesis Competition gives research students just three minutes to make a compelling presentation on their thesis topic and communicate its significance. It enables research candidates to consolidate their ideas and crystallise their research discoveries.

Sumaiya Ahmed has won the first prize, which includes $3,000 in cash, plus entry into the inter-university 2012 Australia and New Zealand Three Minute Thesis competition in Brisbane including flights and accommodation.