Goal is to provide studios with 'focused consumer intelligence'

The MPAA is looking to turn the Internet from a source of frustration into a source of innovation for Hollywood.

The trade org, which usually finds itself on the defense against online pic piracy, is assembling an online consumer panel that it will periodically survey “about all things related to the movies — from theater attendance to homevideo rental and advertisements to piracy,” topper Dan Glickman announced Tuesday.

Effort is a nod to the increasing cultural pervasiveness of the Net, and its goal, Glickman said, is to provide studios with “consistent, focused consumer intelligence.”

Announcement, made at the Entertainment Merchants Assn. convention in Las Vegas, follows a study Glickman called for more than a year ago on consumer interests, particularly attitudes toward the film industry, moviegoing habits and piracy. That study, completed last month, determined that — Eureka! — Hollywood needs to keep studying auds.

“One lesson learned from our survey was that understanding rapidly changing consumer demands is essential,” Glickman said.

Hence “My Movie Muse,” which Glickman described as “an online consumer panel that will allow people who don’t work in the entertainment industry to have input on issues pertaining to the movie industry.”

Panel members will take part in quarterly surveys focusing on issues related to specific demographics. MPAA will then share the info with the industry so that it can track developments or changes in the market.

The MPAA hopes to sign up 7,500 participants for the launch but is aiming for 15,000 by the end of next year. Initially, org will partner with a research firm to find participants, but anyone can be considered by signing up online at Mpaa.org or Mymoviemuse.com.

“It is a dynamic time for the motion picture industry,” Glickman said in a separate statement. “Focused, consistent input from people outside the movie business can help better inform the industry during these evolving times.”

Regular visitors to cyberspace increasingly feel the Internet gives them a legitimate voice in the shaping of popular culture, that they’re not just passive sources of revenue for studios.

Glickman acknowledged as much in his announcement, saying, “People want to have input. They want to know that their movie viewing experiences are worth their time and money, and they want to know that our industry is hearing their criticisms and demands. In this age of participatory media, My Movie Muse will give consumers an opportunity to be heard.”

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