Genre Evolved

Genre Evolved
It’s not just “action” and “drama” anymore...


Finding the perfect movie to watch has always been a challenge. Whether you were wandering the aisles at Blockbuster eons ago or browsing titles on your new streaming service yesterday, the genres haven’t changed much. We’re used to thinking of movies as drama, action, romance, and adventure. Of course, you know what these categories mean, but they don’t really help you find a movie you want to watch tonight.

Do a quick search for “Action Movies”. Among the top 8 you’ll find:

  • Mile 22 - an American espionage movie
  • Mulan - a Disney movie
  • The Gentlemen - a British gangster comedy • Peninsula - a Korean zombie flick
Genre EvolvedSure, these could all be considered action movies, but can you imagine saying, “I just can’t decide between Peninsula and Mulan. They’re so similar.” The problem is that genres like action, adventure, and drama were created long ago by movie studios and critics. It’s time for an update because everything has changed – audiences, content, and content providers. There’s a new opportunity to inform and attract audiences to shows they’ll love. That’s why we developed new genres using an algorithm based directly on how modern audiences respond to movies and TV shows.

At Nanocrowd, we provide audience analytics for studios by analyzing audience comments about movies and TV shows. When viewers describe their reaction to a show, they use powerful and interesting words – ranging from common words like funny and friendship to evocative words like honorable, soulful, or hard-hitting. Using these words as our source data, we analyze the types of movies that are trending and box office hits.

Through this work, we discovered that audience responses didn’t really fit into categories like action or drama. Instead, titles are clustered around common themes or character arcs, like heroic leaders overcoming obstacles in their quest or the disrespected underdogs finding victory in their own unique style. It’s these themes that drive audience reactions, and we used these themes to uncover new genres.


With genres like “Epic Heroes” and “Victorious Underdogs,” you immediately have a rich image of what to expect. Not only are these genres clear and evocative, they’re engaging because they’re based on the viewers’ words and affinity for specific content. Let’s look at these two examples.


“Epic Heroes” includes stories of bigger-than-life characters who use their strength, bravado, and brains on grand journeys. These heroes may be superheroes, swashbucklers, or college-professors-turned archaeologists, but every time they’re Epic Heroes. These stories have been classified as Adventure, Action, or Superhero movies, but what holds all of them together is that the character is bigger-than-life, struggling in the face of adversity. You know when you want to watch an Epic Hero story – you want to be excited and entertained by the hero’s struggle, perseverance, and success.
Epic Heroes


Bullied nerds, unheralded sports teams, or unlikely spelling bee superstars all share something in common. As their story begins, they’re disrespected by
the “leaders” in their world. As their story unfolds, these underdogs find a path to success while hanging onto their original character. Whether these titles are currently classified as Sports, Coming of Age, or Drama, they consistently make us feel happy and inspired by the possibility that our unique spirit can also be victorious.

Victorious Underdogs


New genres make it easier for audiences to find the kind of stories they want to watch, and they help studios find the largest passionate audience for their content.

How many times have you said to yourself, “there’s just nothing good on”? Viewers want it to be quick and easy to find a title that matches what they feel like watching. And distributors want that too. Viewers are tired of browsing the long list of titles on each of their streaming services by old genres like action and drama.

Remember that list of action titles that showed up in our search? Here are the new genres for each of them:

Mile 22

Mile 22 is
“High Speed and Special Ops”


Mulan is
“Epic Heroes”


the Gentlemen is
“Crime Drugs and Gangsters”


Peninsula is
“Monsters, Aliens and Sci-Fi”


revenant, drama
Whip It, drama


Epic Hero
Victorious Underdogs
Moving Relationship Stories
Creating audience-driven genres is just the start. Using the same audience analytics, we’ve developed tools that help content providers find the largest audience for their titles. Because our analytics are based on viewers’ words, we also help content providers understand exactly what kind of content audiences will love. Then we help them find marketing words that will resonate with that audience. These tools are used for each stage of the development process – from greenlighting through release.
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