Exam: Institution and Audiences

Section B of the AS Media Studies exam is called Institutions and Audiences. The exam gives you a range of media products to study and as a class we chose the media product of film. We will answer one question given and make detailed reference to examples from the case study material we have collected in our research, to support the points made in our answer.

Here are the questions from recent examinations:

June, 2016:

To what extent has the internet played a significant role in the marketing and exchange of media products in the area you have studied?

June, 2015:

To what extent does media ownership have an impact on the successful distribution of media products in the media area that you have studied?

June, 2014:

The increase in hardware and content in media industries has been significant in recent years. Discuss the effect this has had on institutions and audiences in the media area you have studied.

June, 2013:

Evaluate the role of digital technologies in the marketing and consumption of products in the media area you have studied.

January, 2013:

What impact does media ownership have upon the range of products available to audiences in the media area you have studied?

June, 2012:

“Cross-media convergence and synergy are vital processes in the successful marketing of media products to audiences.”

To what extent do you agree with this statement in relation to your chosen media area?

January, 2012:

To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the media area you have studied?

June, 2011:

“Successful media products depend as much upon marketing and distribution to a specific audience as they do upon good production practices.”

To what extent would you agree with this statement, within the media area you have studied?

January, 2011:

Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production and exchange of media texts in your chosen media area.

June, 2010:

What significance does the continuing development of digital media technology have for media institutions and audiences?

January, 2010:

“Media production is dominated by global institutions, which sell their products and services to national audiences.”

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

June, 2009:

How important is technological convergence for institutions and audiences within a media area which you have studied?

January, 2009:

Discuss the ways in which media products are produced and distributed to audiences, within a media area, which you have studied.

Although the questions are phrased differently every year, they will always relate to a study of a specific studio or production company within a contemporary film industry that targets a British audience (e.g. Hollywood, Bollywood, UK film) including its patterns of production, distribution, exhibition and consumption by audiences. This should be accompanied by study of contemporary film distribution practices (digital cinemas, DVD, HD-DVD, downloads, etc) and their impact on production, marketing and consumption.

You should be prepared to understand and discuss the processes of production, distribution, marketing and exchange as they relate to contemporary media institutions, as well as, the nature of audience consumption and the relationship between audiences and institutions.

In addition you should be familiar with:

  • The issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice.
  • The importance of cross media convergence and synergy, in production, distribution and marketing.
  • The technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, marketing and exchange.
  • The significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences.
  • The importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences.
  • The issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international and global institutions.
  • The ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.

Here are some of the examiner’s comments following last summer’s exams:

  • Media examples and case-studies should be mainly from the five years preceding the examination.
  • The most able candidates were well prepared, which enabled them to compare and contrast a range of examples through the case studies set. These focused on a studio, often Hollywood practise and UK film making.
  • There were good comments about the use of social media and mobile technology to market films and candidates were able to support their comments with examples.

There are 50 marks available for this question. The same mark scheme is used every year. Here is the description of a Level 4 answer:

  • Explanation/analysis/argument (16–20 marks)
    • Shows excellent understanding of the task.
    • Excellent knowledge and understanding of institutional/audience practices – factual knowledge is relevant and accurate.
    • A clear and developed argument, substantiated by detailed reference to case study material.
    • Clearly relevant to set question.
  • Use of examples (16–20 marks)
    • Offers frequent evidence from case study material – marks awarded to reflect the range and appropriateness of examples.
    • Offers a full range of detailed examples from case study and own experience.
    • Offers examples which are clearly relevant to the set question.
  • Use of terminology (8–10 marks)
    • Use of terminology is relevant and accurate.
    • Complex issues have been expressed clearly and fluently. Sentences and paragraphs, consistently relevant, have been well structured, using appropriate technical terminology. There may be few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

The examiner also offers the following note:

Candidates should be given credit for their knowledge and understanding, illustrated through case study material, in any of these areas; there is no requirement that they should all be covered equally. Examiners should also be prepared to allow points, examples and arguments that have not been considered if they are relevant and justified.


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