Soft Information, Hard Sell: The Role of Soft Information in the Pricing of Intellectual Property
William N. Goetzmann, Vicente Pons-Sanz, S. Abraham Ravid
There is a growing literature on the differential impact of soft' vs. hard' information on organizational structure and behavior. This study is an attempt to empirically quantify the value of soft information, using a data-base on the market for screenplays. Script quality is difficult to estimate without subjective evaluation. Therefore soft information should be an integral part of the pricing of these intellectual assets. In our empirical analysis, we find that hard information' (reputation) variables as well as soft information' proxies are priced. Screenplays with high soft information content are priced significantly lower than high concept' harder information'- type scripts. We also follow the screenplays to production, and find that buyers seem to be able to forecast the success of a script, paying more for screenplays resulting in more successful films. In other words, high concept' (harder information) screenplays sell for more and result in more successful movies.