Movie Theaters' Social Media Use During COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Beyoglu Movie Theater

Yolcu O.



Movie theaters were closed down during the COVID-19 pandemic leaving them with no way of communicating face-to-face with their target audiences and, more importantly, they lost an important source of revenue. Social media became one of the most important tools used by movie theaters to communicate with their target audiences during the pandemic. In this regard, this study seeks answers to the research problem: "Does social media provide new opportunities for independent movie theaters to continue their activities?" Accordingly, this article analyzes how movie theaters used social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the example of Beyoglu Movie Theater's use of Twitter. Beyoglu Movie Theater was sampled since it is an independent movie theater, which has the largest number of followers on Twitter in Turkey. In terms of methodology, this article employs a descriptive analysis and a content analysis to examine 794 tweets and retweets shared by Beyoglu Movie Theater between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The topic codes identified in the Tweets have been classified under 26 different categories. As an outcome, it was revealed that the tweets by Beyoglu Movie Theater underwent a major transformation. The use of social media evolved from promoting movie showtimes and selling tickets before the pandemic into a form that focuses on maintaining the connection with audiences and asking them for material support during the pandemic. Finally, this article concludes that Beyoglu Movie Theater's use of social media during the pandemic can be read as an example of participatory culture expressed by Jenkins, in contrast to passive media audience.