SOURCE: Nielsen BuzzMetrics

May 19, 2006 11:13 ET

"Da Vinci Code" Generates Impressive Levels of Online Buzz, According to Nielsen BuzzMetrics

Blog Discussion Is Fueled by Religious Boycotts, Fan Anticipation... and Lukewarm Reviews

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 19, 2006 --The film version of "The Da Vinci Code," based on author Dan Brown's best-selling novel, is creating an impressive level of online "buzz" among bloggers in anticipation of its release today, according to Nielsen BuzzMetrics' BlogPulse.com (http://www.blogpulse.com) search engine and analysis tool.

"The Da Vinci Code" has enjoyed a six-fold increase in blog citations in the last three weeks, fueled by calls for boycotts by religious officials concerned about the film's core message, fan anticipation for the Ron Howard production, and recent lukewarm reviews emanating from the Cannes Film Festival and movie critics.

Beginning in early April, in fact, "The Da Vinci Code" shared about equal amounts of online buzz with the Catholic Church, or about .1% of all blog discussions, according to BlogPulse.com, a search engine and analysis portal that tracks issues, themes, trends and news from an index of 28 million blogs. By today, nearly .6% of all blog posts mention "The Da Vinci Code."

Buzz began to build in early April when the Vatican and other Christian organizations protested the movie's central, fictional premise: that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were married and produced an heir whose identity has been protected for generations by a secret religious society. The controversial nature of the film has been discussed by bloggers in the U.S., Canada, China, India, Italy, France, Germany and other countries.

Since the movie's debut this week at the Cannes Film Festival, blog buzz for "Da Vinci Code" also has been influenced by early negative or so-so reviews of the film, including feedback from Truth Dig ("most critics hate it"), the China Herald and the film review site Rotten Tomatoes, which describes it as "stagnant" and "more like a walk through a museum than a thriller."

"Consumer buzz and 'The Da Vinci Code' have a symbiotic relationship," said Pete Blackshaw, CMO of BuzzMetrics. "Both the book and the movie have benefited from unprecedented levels of conversational pass-along and word-of-mouth behavior. The movie itself is experiencing both ends of the spectrum, from 'buzz' created by fans, by religious officials who forced discussion of the movie's controversial theme onto the international stage and by early critiques that question its value as a thriller."

About Nielsen BuzzMetrics (www.nielsenbuzzmetrics.com)

The Nielsen BuzzMetrics service, marketed by BuzzMetrics, Inc., is the global standard in measuring consumer-generated media and word of mouth. Nielsen BuzzMetrics helps more than 100 leading global companies strategically leverage the buzz surrounding them -- clients like Canon, Comcast, Ford, General Motors, HBO, Kraft, Microsoft, Nokia, P&G, Sony, Target and Toyota, as well as 15 of the top 15 pharmaceutical concerns. BuzzMetrics, Inc. is an affiliate of VNU, owner of such renowned research names as ACNielsen and Nielsen Media Research.

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