AS Media Studies 2010 Study Notes Unit G322 Section B Audiences and Institutions The Film Industry Part 1 General Introduction
For the exam you should be prepared to understand and write about the processes of film production, distribution, marketing and exhibition.
The nature of audience consumption and the relationships between audiences and the film industry.
In addition, you need to know about:
the issues raised by ownership in the contemporary film industry;
the importance of convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing of films;
the new technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;
the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for film institutions & audiences;
the importance of technological convergence for film institutions and audiences;
the issues raised in the targeting of national and British audiences by international or global film institutions;
the ways in which your own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.
How do different films get produced and what is the ‘production process’?
How do films get distributed and what does film distribution involve?
What does the exhibition of films involve?
How do audiences ‘consume’ films and how has this changed?
How does the film industry, and particular film production companies more specifically, attempt to develop the relationship between institutions and audiences?
How to approach this exam - Case Studies
These will involve the study of a specific studio or production company within the contemporary film industry that targets a British audience.
These might be based in the US (Hollywood), in Britain (Film4, BBC Films, Working Title), or part of World Cinema (Bollywood).
They will include the study of a studios patterns of production, distribution, exhibition and consumption by audiences.
They will also be accompanied by study of how contemporary films are distributed (digital cinemas, DVD, Blu-Ray, downloads, etc) and how this has changed the production, marketing and consumption of films.
Specimen Exam Question
Discuss the issues raised by the need for institutions to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied.
By institutions the question is asking for you to write about a particular studio/production or distribution company specifically.
By specific audience the question is asking you to write about a cross section of the potential film going audience – you might like to think of the typical target audience for most mainstream films.
And naturally, you are focussing on the film industry .
Research Task Find out the definitions of the following words in relation to the film industry:
Anticipated for almost as long as the second coming, the digital media era is finally upon us and that much misused word 'convergence' has become meaningful. From Murdoch's deal to buy MySpace to the selling of YouTube for more than a billion dollars after 18 months of trading, we are slap back in the middle of the second dot.com boom. Gibson (2007) Digital media has changed the way the film industry works.
Media Studies is all about the contemporary, so while it is useful to have a sense of the history of the film industry in Britain (so we know how successful the industry is at present relative to other time periods) we are much more concerned with how films are currently being produced and distributed and how this is changing.
The key agent of change is convergence . This is because it makes little sense these days to talk about the film industry without referring to Internet distribution.
This topic involves an understanding of media as business, the relationship between film producers, distributors and exhibitors and the public or audience.
The question that needs to be answered is: do new media forms produce both distinctively different ‘content’ and 'audiences' when compared with their predecessors? The answer to this question is a qualified yes. Marshall (2004) Digital media have changed the kinds of films we make and want to see
What is Convergence?
First, technologies coming together, for example, a mobile phone you can use as a still and moving image camera, download and watch moving images on, use as an MP3 player and recorder and access the internet with.
Second, media industries are diversifying so they produce and distribute across several media—for example, a newspaper with an online version and audio podcasts or the coming together of videogames with films e.g. Quantum of Solace (2008).
We no longer live in a media world where television, videogames, films, newspapers, radio, magazines and music exist separately. For this reason it is essential that we study the impact of convergence on the film industry - the focus here is on the contemporary nature of film production, distribution and exhibition.
What is Convergence?
Go to the 007 website.
Find as many examples of convergence as you can.
How many different ways can you ‘consume’ this film?
Provide a case study of another film that has utilised convergence