To what extent has the internet played a significant role in the marketing and exchange of media products in the area you have studied?
Created in 1983 and commercially used in 1995 the internet has been rapidly growing and has played a major role in all aspects of modern life, including the marketing and exchange of films. As of May 2017 3.6 billion people have access to the internet which means that around 46% of the world population has an internet connection today. In 1995 less than 1% of the world’s population had access to the internet meaning the number of internet users has increased tenfold in just 22 years. With this rapid increase in a new platform of consuming media means that the marketing and exchange of films has had to adapt.
Social media has developed out of the internet and sites such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter have now become integrated in modern society. Snapchat and Instagram boast over 400 million daily users collectively and it is because of the huge amount of traffic that runs through the social media site, that film companies have started to take an interest in advertising their films through it rather than traditional means. Symbiotic relationships have thus formed out of the cooperation between social media sites and film companies, as both companies can benefit from working together. In exchange for increasing the awareness of the film through their social media site, the film companies will often release exclusive trailers on the said social media site which means dedicated fans of the film or franchise will often sign up to use the site. David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them utilised the social media websites of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to market the film to arguably a great success by developing a symbiotic relationship with them. Upwards of $750,000 per day was spent to market FBWFT through snapchat filters as well as non-skip adverts and this provide global exposure to 308 million active monthly users as it ran for 35 days. Using Snapchat, they were also able to market their film to a specific target audience as we see that the highest proportion of users on snapchat are between the ages of 14 to 24 which means the platform was perfect for marketing the film. Instagram was also used in a similar manor to advertise the film, where they too had compulsory adverts that every one of its users had to watch in order to access the site. When it came to advertising on Facebook’s platform of over 1.8 billion users The FBWFT Facebook page took a different approach. Not only did the Facebook page run adds and exclusive teasers but it also served as a platform to sell merchandise and offer giveaways which often involved users sharing a certain form of promotion on their Facebook page which would then cause the advert to have more exposure. Ultimately, the film would not have been exposed to such a huge audience and may not of earned its $812 million had it not been for the internet and development of social media. A more specific way of utilising social media to market a film to a target audience is Twitter. Twitter is unique in that advertising is mostly done through fans of the site as there is a feature in which you ‘retweet’ a film companies adverts which then causes exposure of the advertisement to snowball across the huge amount of users. Ben Wheatley used his loyal 12,000 followers to cause the ‘snowball effect’ when releasing his new film A Field In England as it became the most trending topic on the whole of the website during its Friday release. This proved as a useful method of marketing as when people who watched the movie were surveyed 54% of the under 35’s stated that they heard about the film via social media and 35% of the over 35’s also heard about it through its unique marketing on social media. Ricky Gervais similarly used Twitter to market his film as on the 23rd of March 2016, he released an exclusive trailer of his new film Special Correspondents to his 12.3 million followers.
With the introduction of the internet, there has been a constant ever-growing demand to have access to movies at any given time and it is because of this that the distribution of films has had to change and adapt to the modern day consumers demands. From the consumers demands films are now commonly distributed through VOD, Subscription VOD and transactional VOD. Netflix is one one of the most popular subscription based video on demand service as customers gain access to a large variety of shows and movies for as long as they have access to the internet and pay the required amount monthly. Ricky Gervais’ David Brent: Life on the road was sold to Netflix due to its huge audience of 86 million users in 190 countries. Due to Ricky Gervais being ‘glad’ about the success of his Netflix release he went on to do a similar project through the release of Special Correspondents. Netflix bought the global distribution rights for roughly $12 million and was released exclusively to Netflix meaning fans of the popular celebrity would have to pay a subscription fee for a month if they wanted to access the film. A Field in England exclusively utilised the popularity and the different methods of VOD and gained 714 views through Film4’s Free VOD service, 1,746 downloads through Virgin Media and additionally 3,133 downloads on iTunes which is transactional VOD. Another film to successful take advantage of VOD services is Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. The on-demand services involved in the release included CHC, Sky Store, FilmFlex, BlinkBox and the BFI Player. CHC offered the film through curzonhomecinema.com, on Samsung Smart TV and BT TV which further widened the audience and provided a unique way of releasing the film. The theatrical release not creating the revenue predicted was not a problem for the film due to the increase in popularity of VOD
The internet has not only benefitted the distribution of films on new VOD platforms but it has also immensely helped the distribution of film for the traditional method of viewing films, the cinema. For many years film was made in huge reels of tape which was not only expensive but also highly inconvenient as the amount of screens showing the film could only match the amount of film reels the company had made. Film was also very delicate and had a expiry date in which the films quality would stoop so low that it became useless. However. The internet has now completely changed the traditional methods of distributing films as now films can be transferred on protected files and sent around the world meaning there is there a larger audience to watch the film due to multiple screens being able to run it. Distributing the films via the internet also mean the quality of films has increased as when using film, different reels would have to be inserted which would occasionally alter the continuity of the film. All the problems that came with film tape disappeared and had a hugely positive effect on the way we watched films.
However, there has been some negatives with the inclusion of the internet in distributing the film from studio to cinema and that being Piracy. Although the protected files film companies use to distribute the film over the internet are highly protected, hackers are always finding new ways to access the files illegally. Piracy has now turned into an epidemic with almost 30% of Britons watching movies illegally online or buying counterfeit DVDs, costing the industry £500m a year. An example of this is The Wolf of Wall Street, In 2014 more than 30 million people individually downloaded the film illegally using Torrent software this year. It is because of piracy that The Wolf of Wall Street only made $17 million despite it being nominated for a numerous amount of awards
In conclusion the internet has played a immensely significant role in changing how films are marketed and exchanged . It has acted as a means in the creation of many services such as social media, VoD services and Illegal websites. The internet has also contributed to the improved efficiency and security to the marketing of films and how they are exchanged from the creators to the distributors. For better or for worse the internet has forever changed how we can access films and how we hear about films and it will continue doing so as it is forever developing and improving.
include lars von trier theatrical release is less important -VOD money +important