Vincent Bruzzese on MPG Sale: The Consumer Has Changed, but Not the Way We Do Research

The CEO tells TheWrap: "There’s an 'Ishtar' every three or four months. The blame on the research side is the consumer has changed, but the way we do research has not"

TheWrap grilled Vincent Bruzzese, the newly minted CEO of Motion Picture Group LLC, on the day he announced a break off from Ipsos OTX and set a course as an independent research company.

What set this in motion?
This is a very amicable split. From our perspective we’re looking forward as an independent company to evolve research beyond what it has been.

There are so many changes to the research landscape, what is the reason for that?
Despite the fact that there’s a number of research companies, tools, innovations, you see more movies losing money than ever before. Now there’s an "Ishtar every three or four months. There’s blame to go around, and the blame on the research side is the consumer has changed, but the way we do research has not.

Financial sources and p&a (prints and advertising) funding is beginning to dry up. Too many people are losing too much money. Unless you’re Pixar, your gut is wrong. It’s our job to find out why.  

So how will you change that?
From our perspective there’s a clear goal – mitigate risk, maximize return and maintain art. We want to evolve our products. We want to evolve the way we talk to moviegoers with this goal in mind: is this a movie that will be well received, and at the script stage, should it be financed?

Our script assessment product has a perfect record at determining at the script stage whether a movie is financially viable to exceed its ultimate box office requirement.

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A perfect record? Pardon my skepticism.
We’ve worked on 20 major releases.

So what are the details of the deal? Will there be new working capital provided?
Motion Picture Group, of which I’m now CEO, is well funded, and supported and backed by investors that believe in our vision and what we’re going to do.

What changes will you make?
There will be threefold changes: a reemphasis of our mission statement, getting to the heart of playability and marketability, walking the line of art and commerce. Evolving our products that speak to today’s consumer in language that is different than in 1979. And all research should be kept in context. The analysis for a film to be $10 million at the box office needs to be different than for $100 million at the box office.

Script assessment, screenings, ad testing and tracking need to be a cohesive through line and tell a single story. And tell the story; anybody can report numbers. Our job is to interpret what moviegoers are saying or will say and tell their story.

We’re not going to rest on our laurels, we’re looking at major expansion, content analysis archetypes and at consumer entertainment worldwide.

How big is the market research business? I believe you do about $20 million a year?
We’re top three, with NRG and Marketcast. We all notice the same thing. There’s a $100 million market research pie that three companies are vying for, that doesn’t make much sense using tactics from 1979. We need to expand the pie.