How is popularity for movies calculated?

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How is popularity calculated? When looking at the list of 'most popluar motion feature films' from a certain year, I was wondering how this is calculated. Is popularity calculated by the amount of clicks per page, by the amount of votes given by IMDb users or by another mechanism? For my thesis, I have to justify why I use the list of most popular movies brought out in that certain year, so I have to describe how this is measured. Many thanks in advance!
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Ruth Bos

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Posted 4 years ago

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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Hi Ruth Bos,

Best of luck in completing and defending your thesis.

The MOVIEmeter rank of a film is a measure of popularity. It is essentially based on page views of pages related to a film. IMDb will not disclose specifics about how they calculate this measure, since it is a proprietary method, and to prevent people from inflating or distorting this measure. The MOVIEmeter rank is calculated on a weekly basis.

You would gain insight by signing up for the 30 day free trial of IMDbPro. However, the free trial is only available once and you will be charged if you do not cancel before the 30 days is over.

This is IMDb's Official help page for:
What are STARmeter, MOVIEmeter & COMPANYmeter?

STARmeterTM, MOVIEmeterTM , and COMPANYmeterTM are rankings of every person, title and company in IMDb. Available only on IMDbPro, our website designed for people who work in the entertainment industry, STARmeterTM, MOVIEmeterTM , and COMPANYmeterTM provide industry professionals with insights into the popularity of film and television productions as well as the people and companies that make them. To learn more about our rankings, sign-up for an IMDbPro thirty day free trial. To start your free trial, click here.

What do the rankings mean?

Plain and simple, they represent what people are interested in, based not on small statistical samplings, but on the actual behavior of millions of IMDb users. Unlike the AFI 100TM or Academy AwardsTM, high rankings on STARmeterTM, MOVIEmeterTM , and COMPANYmeterTM do not necessarily mean that something is "good." They do mean that there is a high level of public awareness and/or interest in the title, person or company.

How are these ratings calculated?

IMDbPro uses proprietary algorithms that take into account several measures of popularity for people, titles and companies. The primary measure is who and what people are looking at on IMDb.

The rankings are updated on a weekly basis.

Are STARmeterTM, MOVIEmeterTM , and COMPANYmeterTM based on polls?

Sort of. Users vote through their actions, every time someone visits an IMDb page about one of the over 3 million titles and over 6 million people in the database, we record that "pageview". It is the sum total of these pageviews that form the foundation of the STARmeterTM, MOVIEmeterTM , and COMPANYmeterTM rankings.

Could someone "rig" the ratings by visiting an IMDb page repeatedly?

No. has more than 250 million unique monthly visitors. The STARmeterTM, MOVIEmeterTM , and COMPANYmeterTM rankings are based on a cumulative total of more than 3 billion pageviews per month. Furthermore, we have designed the ranking algorithm so that the actions of one user (or small group of users) has a limited impact; we monitor STARmeterTM rankings for any possible fraudulent traffic generation, and the algorithm is periodically improved to detect and neutralize any attempts to 'stuff the ballot'.

How do STARmeterTM, MOVIEmeterTM , and COMPANYmeterTM compare with other rankings?

Some ranking systems are based on the opinion of one "expert" or a selected group of "experts". Others use statistical samplings of a few hundred or a few thousand people, offering them a controlled set of choices, and ranking only within that set.

We, on the other hand, offer a nearly unlimited set of choices with over 3 million titles and over 6 million people to choose from, and base our rankings on the behavior of a sampling group of more than 250 million unique monthly visitors in a real-world environment.

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