Media Ownership Essay

To what extent does media ownership have an impact on the successful distribution of media products in the media area you have studied 2015

Todays film industry could be described as an oligopoly as the 7 largest film companies own 90% of the total market meaning the influence and power they have in releasing and distributing their products is huge when compared to smaller independent companies methods. The Big 6 is a term to the seemingly monopolised film industry that involves merely 6 conglomerates, those being;  GE, News Corp, Disney, VIACOM, CBS and Time Warner. The Big 6 have developed a routine method of releasing their films regulated by the “release windows”. The release windows system was first conceived in the early 1980s, as a strategy to keep movies from competing with each other, allowing the movie to take advantage of different markets such as cinema, home video and TV at different times. While The Big 6 loosely follow this model for almost all of their releases, they can do this purely due to the immense amount of wealth they hold, whereas smaller independent film companies have to develop their own unique ways of distributing their films.

Channel 4 as a whole is worth £1B which although is a respectable figure for a businesses worth, but it is a drop in the ocean for the conglomerates. Because of the relatively small company worth they have had to develop unique ways of distributing their films. An example of a small company being able to successfully distribute their film is Channel 4’s A Field in England directed by Ben Wheatley. With such a small production cost of £300,000 the film was able to spend money elsewhere which included getting the film distributed to as many outlets as possible while still keeping the costs low. One way Channel 4 achieved this was by developing a symbiotic relationship with Film4 and Picturehouse who had previously created a synergy of their own. Film4 and Picturehouse decided to create a synergy in order to lower the risk of losses due to the risky nature of the film. Both sets of companies benefited from the symbiotic relationship as it provided exposure from one fan base to the other. By distributing the product this way not only could they show their film on their own platform boasting an impressive audience of 13.1m, but they could also release it on film4’s platform. This method was successful as on the opening weekend, for the non theatrical viewing, the film attracted 367,000 people as well as an additional 714 on Film 4’s VOD platform, Film 4OD. In terms of theatrical release, that is where Picturehouse comes into the equation. Due to the exclusiveness of the film and the reputation Picturehouse has of the films it chooses to show in cinemas, they were able to sell the tickets for a high price which not only helped them financially but it also helped channel 4 gain more discussion and exposure of the film. Working with Picturehouse was also a success as it tuned over it projected earnings of £35,000. This unique way of releasing the film was overall successful as it made profit of £50,000 and proved that the involvement of conglomerates were not needed in order to distribute a film successfully.

A successfully distributed film owned by a conglomerate would be Warner Brothers’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Due to Warner Brothers Studio being owned by Time Warner which is 1 of the “Big 6” and is worth £47 billion, the film was completely self funded on a budget of £140 million. Convincing the studio to spend £140 million on the film was relatively easy as they had previously worked on the Harry Potter franchise which grossed £5.9 billion in the 8 movies made. Not only was the franchise proven to make almost £750 million per movie but it was guaranteed to pull a wide range of audience due to the amount of exposure the company is able to give the film. For most of Time Warners films, they use Horizontal integration, however for the Harry Potter franchise their is an exception in which they use vertical integration due to Heyday films being independent yet still affiliating themselves with the harry potter franchise. Although this means Time warner has to share some of the profits to a company that isn’t owned by them, they benefit more than they lose as they get exclusive access to their prestigious studios that all of the previous Harry Potter movies have used. Distributing the film is an easy task as a conglomerate as the film just having the logo attached to it, means it is able to be widely distributed. The film followed the classic release windows system in which they theatrically released it first in cinemas to over 1000 IMAX theatres and over 3000 regular theatres world wide. After the films views stagnated in the cinemas, a few months later the film arrived on digital platforms such as Google, AmazonPrime and Channel 4 as they had a promotional agreement. DvD’s were then released on the 28th of march and included additional features such as deleted scenes and virtual tours around the studio. Overall the film grossed £630 million through distributing the film in this way.

Although the profit margins between the small company and the conglomerate is huge, it is undeniable that their methods of distributing their films are both successful. It could be said that in order to have a risk free and 100% successful distribution of a movie, you need intervention of a media conglomerate due to the purchasing power and market control that they posses. However, as shown by A field in England‘s release, it is still very possible to distribute a film successfully due to symbiotic relationships they are able to form and synergy that occurs. Media ownership is no longer completely accountable to a certain extent,  for a successful film in the ever changing film industry. A field in England‘s release is an example of a step in the right direction for independents and it could be possible that we see the conglomerates control of 90% of the market drop in the coming years if independents can carry on distributing their movies in the unique and successful way they are doing so.

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New Technologies Essay

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 releaseThis 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

 

Case Study: Ricky Gervais Projects

David Brent: Life on the Road

David Brent: Life on the Road’ is a 2016 British mockumentary comedy film staring Ricky Gervais who also wrote and directed the feature film. The film follows one of Gervais’ most recognisable characters: David Brent from the UK TV series ‘The Office’. David Brent now has a film crew who shadows him up and down the country as he lives his dream of becoming a rock star. The film was financed by Entertainment one and BBC films.

Released in cinemas on the 19th of August 2016, the film was shown in the Uk, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand by the distribution company Entertainment One and in the US the film was set to be distributed by Open Road Films. However this then changed as the US release then varied from traditional release as Netflix bought the film and agreed to distribute it off of its platform to every country other than the ones where it was released in cinemas.

On the 17th of January Netflix brought out its first official teaser of the film before releasing it on the 10th of February, While in the uk the process of releasing the film was more delayed as  the first teaser trailer was released On 7th of April 2016 and the film was not fully released till the 19th of August 2016.

Ricky Gervais was happy with the deal he had with Netflix as on top of making $5.5 million dollars at the box office, he also released his film on the largest VOD service which has over 86 million members and can be used in 190 different countries.

Special Correspondents

Special Correspondents is a 2016 British-Canadian-American satirical comedy film written, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais. The film is a remake of the 2009 French comedy Envoyés très spéciaux and is about how Two radio journalists fake their own kidnappings in South America.

In November 2014, it was reported that Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions had purchased the rights to the film for territories including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Latin America. In April 2015, it was announced that Netflix had pre-bought the global distribution rights to the film for roughly $12 million. On the 23rd of March 2016 Ricky Gervais himself released the first trailer to his 12.3 million followers on twitter. The film then had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on 22 April 2016 and was released worldwide by Netflix on 29 April 2016.

John Lewis 2016 Advert

Easily one of the most overhyped days of the year is the day that the John Lewis’s “Tear Jerking” Christmas adverts come up on our televisions and I hate to be the Grinch but I honestly don’t see why these mildly above average adverts (which I want to skip through anyway) get half the attention that they do! Fair enough some of them in the past can count as being “Cute” with Snowmen wanting to find their partners and Woodland animals wanting to decorate a Christmas Tree but this year was exceptionally awful.

I’ll let you have a watch first:

 

Im sorry to tell you that if you have a Boxer…you also have an ugly dog and especially if it’s CGI like good old Buster here. Boxer’s aren’t even ugly enough to become cute like a Pug is able to but I digress.

The advert is basically showing a cult of vermin found in Britain, tainting a poor girls brand spanking new christmas present. No doubt that there would be a small army of flees now colonising the trampoline after the cult were done vandalising the innocent girls gift, so now Christmas is ruined for her. Buster is also shown as being nothing more than a jealous a selfish dog that doesn’t care for his owner after he clearly pushes in front of the little girl.

Overall I can take away that Boxers are still ugly dogs with and without CGI and Britain’s Vermin are teaming up together to ruin christmas. Try harder John Lewis.

Why I hate the Big Bang Theory

I Have had it. Its on at almost every time of the day and yes, I know that there are other channels but I’ve had enough of constantly seeing it everywhere. The Big Bang Theory is like a rash on your television that you cant get rid of.

I hate The Big Bang Theory and not just because of it lingering around on the Tv constantly but for so many more reasons and i shall use this post as a platform to have a small rant.

It is simply not funny

I can’t even say that it doesn’t have a tasteful humour because that would be implying that it was some sort of humour when in reality it simply has none. It never has had any good humour through jokes or gags and as long as the writers and actors are the same, it never will have humour. If you don’t believe me just watch this video in which someone blocked out the audience ‘laughs’ to highlight how non existent the jokes and humour is.

As you can see the ‘jokes’ (if you can even call them that) are empty and have no depth and sometimes just are none existent

Lack of Originality 

Every single episodes follows the same format time and time again and this helps make it extremely boring. Sorry for using another video but this one is just so perfect that i cant not include it:

Geek Stereotype

They’ve completely overplay the geek stereotype with the constant references to Lord of the rings (Great set of films and a post about the trilogy is to come soon, comic books and any scientific topic.The worst part of it all is that the geek quartet has characters such as Sheldon and Raj who seem to be basket cases that need counseling and possibly medication for their ailments. But no… they are just ‘geeks’. The Irony of it all now is that all of the characters go against the stereotype the writers originally set for them being that 2 of them are married and the other 2 are in a relationship.

Bugsy Malone

bugsymaloneposterweb.jpg

I attended St.Andrews C of E Primary School in Wood hall Spa and as tradition, before you left the school to go to Secondary School, we’d spend the last few months of our time there rehearsing for the play. Bugsy Malone will always have a precious place in my heart being that it is the same musical which we chose to perform for our end of Year 6 play and I have nothing but the fondest of memories about it.

It was absolutely bliss. We were all the eldest kid’s at school and we had nothing to worry about given that all of our 11+’s had been completed. As a child there was nothing more exciting as to when the Tv got rolled into the classroom because you knew that for a good 30 minutes you could sit back and not have a care in the world and just enjoy a good lesson of doing diddly squat. We must of watched the film Bugsy Malone about 3 times all the way through before actually getting on with casting, etc, etc, so life was pretty easy.

The first time watching the Musical i was amazed and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it amazing, and still find it amazing upon re-watching it recently, how well executed a full cast of children who play adults was done. The concept is very rare and gives it a very unique feel to it and makes for a good Y6 Performance perfectly given that we were the same age as the characters seen in the movie.

I was casted as one of the main characters of Dandy Dan and I couldn’t of been happier, I got plenty of time on the stage and Dandy Dan was my favourite character from the Movie so I was chuffed when I was casted for the role. For the following months I rehearsed my lines and spent a numerous amount of lessons in the hall playing out certain scenes with my class mates and I can happily say that they are some of my fondest memories of Going to Primary School.

We had to perform our Play twice and the performance was a hit with all the Parents. I Strongly recommend people to watch this film if they are looking for something out of the ordinary conventions of film.