# How to visualize movie trailer views pre and post movie release?

I want to visualize how view counts on movie trailers (e.g. on Youtube) evolve over time. Specifically, I want to see whether the rate of views increases or decreases following the release of the actual film.

For a single movie this would be simple - I would make a line plot of views on the y-axis, time on the x-axis starting at the time that the trailer was released, and denote the point in time that the movie was released. I could then look at the trends in views before and after the movie release fairly easily. But what about when I want to scale this to include 1000 movies, all released at different points in time, with different lengths of time between the release of the trailer and the movie. I cannot just stack them due to these time constraints.

What might be an elegant way to display this?

Instead of using an absolute time scale, use a relative timescale. An absolute timescale would say that The Matrix was released March 31, 1999.

An example of a relative timescale could set day 0 as the release date of a movie, and day 1, 2, 3, ... are the first, second, third days after release. Likewise, day -1, -2, -3, ... are the day before, 2 days before, 3 days before the release of the movie.

This way, all movies are being compared in terms of offsets relative to the release date.

It really depends on what you want to communicate, and in most cases you probably don't care that much about the specific time of release of each movie.

For example, you may want to simply highlight the difference in views a set time before and after the release, this could be accomplished by a simple graph bar showing the average trailer views:

Of course, it would be better to show the distributions, for example with a boxplot, although it really depends on your audience.

Or maybe you want to show how the behaviour evolves over time. Again, you probably want to average so that you can show a pattern:

Or you may want to show the distribution:

Notice how in none of these cases I need to show the specific release date of each movie, yet I convey the information I want to.