What’s cool about creating stuff, is that sometimes you make something for one specific purpose . . . and then you find it has a whole other purpose later on.
It happens in the pharmaceutical industry all the time. Did you know Viagra was originally made to treat hypertension? Imagine the surprise when they conducted those clinical trials!
This phenomenon just happened to me. And I think you’re going to get as excited as those Viagra patients when you see the results.
Here’s what happened:
About five years ago, I started the Broadway review website DidHeLikeIt.com because I wanted to be the first to know whether the New York Times liked a show or not, without actually reading the review. So we created this fun thumbs-up/thumbs-down guide and started emailing our subscribers a new review the moment a new show opened. This site was an instant hit, got a ton of subscribers, and we recently released an app!
And a few weeks ago, after five years of running the site, and after filling out our archives to go further back, I realized that I was sitting on the largest bank of New York Times review data on the web (other than the Times themselves), and my data was also cataloged in a way (positive review, negative review, mixed review) that could be quantified.
Yeah, you see where I’m going, don’t you?
My mind instantly started spinning when I realized what I was sitting on! Just think about the kind of things we could learn from analyzing that data. You know, things like . . .
- Everyone thinks the New York Times hates everything. But what percentage of Broadway shows get positive reviews versus negative reviews?
- Are the critics getting tougher over time, or are they more forgiving?
- Do reviews affect recoupment?
- Who gets better reviews . . . Sondheim or Mamet?
- Are there theaters that get more positive reviews than other theaters?
- If I’m producing a revival of a play, which critic is more likely to give it a positive review, Ben Brantley or Charles Isherwood?
So I put my infographic creatin’ assistant, Dylan, on counting up all the positive, negative and mixed reviews over the last ten years and putting it in an infographic, which I’ve pasted below, sponsored by DidHeLikeIt.com.
Ok, ok, I’m going to shut up now because I know you want to get to that data. I’ll admit, it’s pretty hot.
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