Facebook users are more likely to trust their friends when it comes to movie recommendations, and Deseret Digital Media saw an opportunity in this area, particularly when it came to families with children, resulting in the launch of online family media guide OK.com.
OK.com allows users to log in with their Facebook accounts and, rather than writing or reading long-winded reviews, to see or provide the answers to two simple questions: What ages is this film appropriate for? And was it worth your time to go see or rent?
OK.com General Manager Rob Johnson spoke with AllFacebook about the origins of the site:
What do people look for when they want to find out information about a movie? Entertainment value is not the only factor: Values are considered. Many families rely heavily on ratings from the Motion Picture Association of America — 80 percent reference those ratings, but 75 percent do not consider them to be enough information. OK.com allows users to assign their own MPAA ratings to movies, which resonated well with our audiences.
Deseret kept the user interface simple with the hopes of encouraging users to return repeatedly. The site features a color-coded ratings system, which displays an “OK” icon and the average suggested age range for each film. And at the bottom of each movie listing, a simple “worth your time” widget displays a green thumbs up for yes or a red thumbs down for no.
Johnson said OK.com allows users to rely on information from the people they trust the most: their family and friends on Facebook. Users will automatically see updates from their Facebook friends and receive notifications based on their activities. And OK.com users can expand their networks on the site beyond their Facebook friends, following other users with similar tastes, interests, or family demographics.
OK.com users can search the site’s database by age ratings, genre, and availability on platforms including Fandango, Redbox, and Netflix, and Johnson said deals are in the works with other platforms, adding that the site launched in September, and promotional efforts have not ramped up yet.
The site launched with movies as an anchor, but Johnson said video games are up next, and OK.com will eventually expand into other media, such as TV and books.
How much difference has there been between OK.com ratings and MPAA ratings in the site’s early days? OK.com offered two examples where the gaps were large:
- The King’s Speech, which carries an “R” MPAA rating, but received an “OK 12+” rating from OK.com users, presumably because profanity was the major reason for the R rating, but parents felt that the strong language was necessary to tell the story and fit within the context of the film, rather than representing gratuitous cursing. The film also received a “worth your time” rating of 92 percent.
- Dinner for Schmucks, which was rated “PG-13” by the MPAA, but which OK.com users deemed “OK 15+,” citing “sex, nudity, violence, gore, and profanity.” The comedy did not fare as well as the drama mentioned above, with only 17 percent saying it was worth your time.
Deseret Digital Media President and CEO Clark Gilbert said in a release:
We are investing in a platform that empowers both parents and media companies to localize all ratings and reviews specific to their user-base and demographic, helping build their online communities and increase user engagement. Ok.com is a powerful standalone resource for families, but it can also be licensed under any subdomain inside a publisher’s current website, enabling the licensee to receive 100 percent of the ad revenue from the sponsorship, leaderboard, and block ad. OK.com is a major part of our digital strategy, and we look forward to building on this strategic media property.
Vice President of Digital Products and Deseret News Publisher Chris Lee added:
Ok.com enables parents to make educated decisions by giving them a set of tools to connect with a trusted online community that shares their standards and criteria. It is not intended to tell people what they should think — rather, it empowers them to determine for themselves the appropriate movies for their families. Users log in and invite friends via Facebook Connect to build their personal reviewer network and to follow those they trust for great recommendations.
Readers: Would you use a platform like OK.com to help influence your entertainment decisions?