Learning Objectives:• Understand what to revise and how to revise it for the ‘Institutions and Audiences’ section of the exam.
How to answer a question• Plan: Aim for 5 paragraphs, including an introductions and conclusion.• Make sure you include a variety of different games to support your points/ ideas: LA Noire, Red Dead Redemption; Just Dance 1/2/3; GTA; Manhunt; iPhone games; Other game(s) of your choice. Two games is an absolute minimum.• Intro: Explain which industry and which institutions you are going to discuss in a brief introduction. (e.g. videogames, Ubisoft and Rockstar).
1. Link your response to the question. Use key words from the question throughout – especially at the start of each paragraph.3. Use a wide range of technical terms (convergence, synergy, vertical and horizontal integration, streaming, social networking, etc).5. Mention specific audiences and how they are targeted -through age/ gender/ time era/ taste/ lifestyle/ location -do British audiences prefer British media? Is this a misconception? Consider differences in advertising.7. Mention the threat of digital technology to all institutions: Growth of internet; Downloading/ live streaming/ file sharing; Piracy; DLC; Cost/ inflation/ credit crunch
Media ownership• Budgets allow companies to reach a larger audience through marketing.• Low- budget, low- quality, home produced games have become incredibly successful in recent years – zero distribution costs mean that low selling costs can still mean high profits.• Institutions’ profits are at risk from piracy.• Large institutions are under threat from cheap, low- fi, downloadable games.• Large institutions at risk of being sued (e.g. Jack Thompson suing Rockstar for pretty much every single game they released.).• Large institutions also responsible for censorship issues (e.g. Manhunt 2 had to be cut so it would be released, Hot Coffee and $28m loss)
Recent technology• Graphics and production values have improved. (e.g. RAGE).• Latest software is used heavily in marketing (e.g. for designing high-concept film posters and trailers, phone apps., online marketing, facebook, etc.)• The internet: File-sharing and piracy are growing issues because the software exists to take the protective encryption off games. Internet enables people to make and share copies easily. Worldwide release dates are getting closer to each other to counteract piracy.• The internet is also key in building up a sense of audience community: You Tube, answering videos, audience participation.• iPhones / iPads etc. and their impact on gaming.
Audiences• How do you consume videogames? (Socially, either via console networks or physically with someone, individually, etc.)• How do you access/ purchase games?• Do you use streaming sites, etc?• Identify trends and consider where the audience trends are going in the near future.
Advertising/ Marketing• Impact of technology• Differences in UK/ US advertising• Note that ‘Just Dance’ ads are significantly different, whereas ‘Red Dead’ cinema trailers were the same. What does this suggest about audiences?• Increase in ‘trailer style’ cinema ads.• Use of social networking sites (e.g. Just Dance facebook group) to access key audiences.
Hardware• Improved hardware to allow for better graphics, internet connections and DLC.• X-Box Kinect goes further – massive disk space required to remember you.• Improved hardware means greater cost, potentially alienating audiences.• Issues with hardware can be devastating (e.g. PS3 launched late due to problems, lots of faults in units. Sales have never caught up with X-Box. Still no launch date for PS4.• Cheaper hardware with multiple purposes (e.g. phones) opens up gaming to new markets.
Essay plan – spend 4 minutesconsidering how you would approach the following question. Remember – 5 paragraphs, including an intro and conclusion. To what extent is production, marketing and distribution important for an institutions success in the British marketplace?
2. Production - Hardware production – timing, quality – e.g. PS3. Impact on sales – failure to recover. Continued impact (e.g. delayed PS4) - Software – impact on production – e.g Red Dead Revolver unsuccessful due to poor production values. Red Dead Redemption delayed until better technology developed (RAGE) and was consequently a critical and commercial success. Similarly, appeal of other Rockstar games is the verisimilitude.3. Marketing - Red Dead and cinema trailers / billboards – presented the game as cinematic. Appeal to a mature, masculine audience. Emphasis on impressive graphics and immersive experience. Same in US and UK. - Conversely, Just Dance advertising focuses on experience, with little focus on gameplay (poor quality graphics). UK ads for Just Dance 2 presented game as mixed- gender, grown- up fun. (Compare to US ads) Online advertising more aimed at younger, female audience – establishing community, uploading videos.4. Distribution - massive distribution costs for physical product. Reduced by DLC – institutions can charge similar price for not a physical product – massively increased profit margins. - Also seen in success and profits of simple iPhone games.
Now complete another 5-part plan for the following question. You have 5 minutes.• Explore some of the ways in which new technologies have had an impact on a media industry you have studied.• What has the impact of increased connectivity been on the media production, distribution and exhibition process?• How important is technological convergence for institutions and audiences within a media area which you have studied?
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