Friday, 22 April 2016

January 2012 Essay

January 2012

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

Distribution is part of the third section of the supply chain film process and is often referred to as the Invisible Art. Digital distribution is in the form of the future and the fast growing development of technology and easy accessible online distribution. 

Two films which I have been studying are Mad Max Fury Road an American blockbuster directed by George Miller and Ex Machina a small independent British film directed by Alex Garland. Both films are successful but in different ways. Mad Fury Road is more profitable as it had a larger budget and a bigger crew team, it cost $150 million to produce and turned over $374 million at the box office. Ex Machina only made $36.9 million with a budget if $15 million. Ex Machina is a success in response to it's Britishness being unpredictable, the product would appeal to older film aficionados as it contains full frontal nudity where as Mad Max Fury Road aims to target a larger and older audience who enjoy continuous action.

The marketing of Mad Max was expensive costing them $7 million on TV advertising and an extra $4.37 million from Warner.Bros who helped them to advertise. Their image of advertising was going all out and targeting a wide market, by creating posters, turning an F1 car into a Mad Max car which looked rusty, and releasing constant video teasers, the first released on the 10th of December 2014. They spent a large amount of money on advertising because they were targeting their product at a wide audience who were the typical mainstream audience who like predominant action scenes and car chases. Ex Machina on the other hand was successful due to minimalistic advertising which heavily reflects their films context. They made social media their central focus point and made an app where you could have your face drawn by Eva (the artificial intelligence in the film), also a fake Tinder account was created which pretended to be an attractive 25 year old woman who was actually the actress who was playing the AI (Ava) in the film (Alicia Vikander), and was speaking to men who were then tricked and were directed to an Instagram page which was promoting Ex Machina. This was only done in Austin America which in comparison to other film marketing covers a very small proportion of the US. They relied heavily on self-promoting, receiving extra kudos from their fans spreading the excitement for them. The films advertising is almost parallel to its content, for example, the way in which fans were 'tricked' by the App symbolises the same process in the film where Caleb is 'tricked' into believing that he has been randomly selected to win a trip to the CEO of the company he works for. Advertising was also very minimalistic and simple but effective, this is the same in relation to the film as it is slow paced and simplistic where action is kept to a minimum, yet Ex Machina is perceived by a small part of the viral market as unique and a fantastic film, this shows how much of a successful part digital distribution has had on impacting the profitability of these films.

Distributing and exchanging a film with it's targeted audience has become a significant development over the past few years with the introduction of online internet streaming like Netflix and Amazon prime which offer audiences the chance to watch a film in their own homes through 'streaming' it, many fans have used this service to re watch a film after watching it in the cinema, this has generated extra sales for the film industry. Films can also now be downloaded online, which a lot of fans do 'illegally', Mad Max Fury Road was one of the most pirated films (in the top five) in 2015 and had 22.90 million shares on the torrent network. The film had 1.75 million pirated downloads over summer. Blu-ray also been another successful technological development in the exchanging process of a film, Mad Max Fury Road generated 48% of its second week sales from Blue-ray and remained on top of both national home video sales charts for two consecutive weeks. The success of this film has clearly been achieved through alternative methods of exchange like Blue-ray and online downloads which has caused the distribution of the film industry to become bigger and more profitable that ever before. Mad Max Fury Road is also set to release a console video game based of the film series in 2015 which shows how the film has become a success even a year after the original exchanging methods. Ex Machina was distributed unexpectedly and increased slowly in popularity, the product was distributed by Universal Pictures, and was released by piggy backing onto the Avengers ending excitement which then helped Ex Machina to increase it's screens. It was originally released on four US screens, and after a few weeks managed to increase to 1200 screens. A week after Avengers came out it was showing on 2000 screens with a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Mad Max went straight out and came out in 2D and was re mastered into 3D on Imax. Neither Mad Max Fury Road or Ex Machina are four quadrant as they are both rating 15+.

The development of digital distribution is creating a huge success in the film industry and helping films to reach a wider audience upon consumption. This is however giving films with a larger budget (typically action/adventures) an advantage over the smaller independent film companies as they can afford to produce more marketing material and dominate the industry, giving film goers less choice and more of the same. But the new advances in distribution could have a greater benefit to small companies, if the online methods remain cheaper and easier to produce.

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