The influence of Online Ratings on Film Choice: Decision Making and Perceived Risk
Online interpersonal influence
numerical information
online ratings
movie-based online communities
perceived risk
Issue Date: 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
ISSN 2386-7876
Gavilan, D. (Diana); Fernández-Lores, S. (Susana); Martinez-Navarro, G. (Gema). "The influence of Online Ratings on Film Choice: Decision Making and Perceived Risk". Communication and Society. 32 (2), 2019, 45 - 57
Online users’ empowerment is an undeniable fact that has brought significant changes to the world of information. Society is becoming increasingly reliant on the online contributions shared by the users of social platforms. This paper focuses on the information provided by peers in movie-based online communities, in the form of numbers (ratings). Given the wide and varied offerings of films, the huge amount of information about each film and the experiential nature of cinema, this study analyses the influence of ratings at the moment of film choice. To test the influence of ratings on a moviegoer’s choice, controlling as they do the subject’s susceptibility to interpersonal influence, we conducted an experiment. A three-way, between-groups design (without rating and film critics/with rating/with rating and film critics) in a decision-controlled setting considers making a decision about what film to watch. Results provide empirical evidence that the addition of ratings simplifies the decision making. Also, ratings exert a significant influence in reducing risk perceptions, either global risk or each specific dimension of risk considered in the study –temporal risk, financial risk, experiential risk. Finally, academic and managerial implications and future research are also discussed.

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