Sunday, 3 January 2016

Audience & Institution Notes - Festive 50

The 7 Concepts -

• The issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;

The depth and range of ownership across a range of media and the consequences of this ownership for audiences in terms of the genres and budgets for films. 

• The importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing;

- Digital technology is enabling various media to converge in hubs, platforms and devices.
- Media convergence is having an enormous impact on the film industry because of the ways in which institutions can produce and market for audiences/users on a widening range of platforms, capable of receiving their films.
- Synergies can come out of an organisation's size; smaller media organisations such as Channel 4 can-cross promote their films, etc. but the scale of cross-media promotion is nowhere near as great as that which can be gained by massive media organisations.

• The technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;

- The audience's ability to interact with films by, for instance, using digital technology to put extracts on You Tube and overlay new sound tracks on them, etc. and make answering videos has been greatly enhanced by Web 2.0; Film studios can make films using CGI, greenscreen and other special effects that were impossible to make only a few years ago. 
- The ways of filming and editing films have changed, too, with the introduction of digital film and film cameras, editing software, laptops, digital projectors, etc. Distributors market films using the latest software for designing high-concept film posters and trailers.

• The significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;

- This means the increase of something: i.e. digital cameras, software, CGI, 3D films, film genres, etc. which are part of current trends.

• The importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;

- This is a WEB 2.0 issue and how technology is coming together in hubs like laptops is one of the features of our age; the mobile phone in your pocket is a great example of technological convergence: it can do so much more than a simple phone call; think how this is affecting film making at the production, marketing and exhibition stages? The Internet is acting as a hub for many aspects of film: you will find film posters, YouTube videos on films, interviews, trailers, official film and blog websites, etc. on it. 
- Audiences can also remake their own films by creating extracts and running new scores over them and then posting them on YouTube. This often leads to answering videos, never mind the comments, etc. that people make on such sites. 
- The internet, film and videos games seems to be converging in so many ways. People can watch films in a range of ways, using an astonishing range of hardware and software. They can also find audiences of their own. This amounts to free publicity for film institutions for their films and "A Long Tail" sales into the future through endless exchange.

• The issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;

- "Slumdog Millionaire" was originally aimed at Asian audiences living in various parts of the UK and also at Danny Boyle fans. The film's unexpected success at film festivals and being nominated for the Oscars led to another theatrical release and a crossover from the "indy" art-house into the mainstream. 

- British film makers often make social realism films and aim them at local and regional audiences whereas this would never be enough for the major media players who tend to make high budget, high concept films. 
- They have boutique offshoots who make and often distribute lower budget films, aimed at more high brow audiences. Disney's Mirimax and Fox's Fox Searchlight are examples of such boutique, art-house film distribution.

• The ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour;

- How you consume films whether it is as a social activity after visiting a shopping centre or on an MP4 player or Playstation, is what is at issue here. 
- In an age of falling DVD sales, home cinema and an increase in downloading for both music and film audiences are changing in how they want to consume film. Identify trends and consider where the audience trends are going in the near future.

Film Distribution

  • Distribution, the third part of the film supply chain, is often referred to as 'the invisible art', a process known only to those within the industry, barely written about and almost imperceptible to everyone else.
  • Distribution is about releasing and sustaining films in the market place. In the practice of Hollywood and other forms of industrial cinema.
  • Distribution and exhibition operate most effectively when 'vertically integrated', where the three stages are seen as part of the same larger process, under the control of one company. In the UK, distribution is very much focused on marketing and sustaining a global product in local markets.
  • In the independent film sector, vertical integration does not operate so commonly. Producers tend not to have long-term economic links with distributors, who likewise have no formal connections with exhibitors. Here, as the pig-in-the-middle, distribution is necessarily a collaborative process, requiring the materials and rights of the producer and the cooperation of the exhibitor to promote and show the film in the best way possible. In this sector, distribution can be divided into three stages - licensing, marketing and logistics.
Wide Release 
  • The most common release pattern, in which the film is released nationally in all markets. This is the pattern used by the majors, since this type of release pattern requires a heavy investment in prints and national advertising, which while having reach into all markets, is expensive.
  • With a wide release, the producers and distributors can realize revenues to recoup their investment in a shorter time period (provided that the film is successful).
  • Finally, revenues from DVD sales can also be realized faster from a quickly-executed theatrical release (the shorter the time period between the theatrical release and the DVD release, the greater the potential for DVD income).
The Modified Wide Release
  • The film will open in a few major markets and expand week by week to build awareness and allow positive word-of-mouth reputation to develop. 
  • This type of release would initially be supported spot advertising (advertising in a specific geographical area, such as a city) and may move to national advertising once it expands to other markets.
Exclusive and Limited Runs
  • Exclusive and limited runs begin with engagements at a limited number of screens, traditionally in large urban areas, such as Toronto.
  •  Based on favourable reviews and positive word-of-mouth, the film may move slowly to additional theatres. 
  • This release pattern is almost always used for upscale 'art-house' or foreign films and may be part of a platforming strategy, where critical acclaim in an important market will assist in providing momentum for a wide release.
Territorial Saturation ( a territory is an geographical area in which the film is released, i.e. Europe, the UK, USA, etc.)
  • Territorial saturation involves saturating a territory with bookings, heavy advertising and promotion, before moving on to another territory. 
  • This method would be used for films tailored to specific markets. In Canada, this would be seen with French-language films, which primarily would be well-received only in Quebec. It is also used by independent distributors for exploitation or family movies.
Universal Release 
  • The film is released in several countries on the same day. For instance a major blockbuster is sometimes released in the USA and the UK on the same date.

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