New Zealand has been a little obsessed with The Hobbit in the lead-up to the world premiere — well, the NZ media have, anyway, with more television coverage devoted to the meanderings of Middle Earthers than with anything since the Rugby World Cup.
But, we wondered, has all this media attention translated into word of mouth amongst the people? What do us ordinary folks think about all this palaver? Are we mere mortals talking about The Hobbit as much as we might?
We delved into our ongoing monitor of some 8000 NZ and NZ-related Facebook pages to find out.
If we look back to the beginning of 2012, we find that The Hobbit‘s Facebook page had 385,739 likes and 8,202 People Talking About the page on the 29th of January.
Fast-forward ten months to today, 1 December 2012 (with the movie’s release just under two weeks away), and those numbers read 830,164 likes and 120,395 People Talking. Massive gains, especially when it comes to the buzz.
There’s a bit more to Middle Earth than just The Hobbit, of course. There’s Air New Zealand and its Hobbit-themed marketing, another 68,633 chatting about the inhabitants of the Shire:
Add in another 30,167 supporting 100% Pure New Zealand as our tourism marketing kicks into full swing behind the movie:
And, of course, let’s not forget our very own Sir Peter Jackson, whose own Facebook page has been attracting the attention of another 92,935 wanting to be heard.
And last, but by no means least, there’s the mothership itself, the Facebook page patrolled by nearly eleven million followers of The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. 236,547 are Talking About that page — and you can be assured that a healthy number of those are focussed on The Hobbit round about now.
Add up all the chitchat (just on these official pages) and that translates to more than half a million Facebook mentions of The Precious, just by one simple measure alone. Not all Kiwis, of course, but clearly the Crowd is indeed Wise when it comes to the Third Age.
The Hobbit Likes: Trending Upwards
We took a look at the three primary Hobbit-related Facebook pages (The Hobbit, Peter Jackson and The Lord of The Rings Trilogy) over the last three months. Once we indexed the pages against their starting positions (i.e. the number of Likes for the first week shown), we saw steady growth, with people Liking The Hobbit up nearly a quarter in that time period:
Our conclusion from all this number-crunching: The Hobbit has indeed attracted solid word of mouth thus far, both locally and internationally, not just media hype. With two more movies still to go, we can expect the buzzing to continue for the next eighteen months, at least.