OCR AS Media StudiesThe Exam: 2 hours long inc. 30 minutes for video extract to be shown• Section A - TV Drama Representation from videoextract shown 4 times (first time, no note taking)(50marks - 45mins)• Section B - Institutions and Audience (50 marks -45 mins)• We are doing film!
The Spec• the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;• the importance of cross media convergence and synergy, in production, distribution andmarketing;• the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production,marketing and exchange;• the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;• the importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;• the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) byinternational and global institutions;• the ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate widerpatterns and trends of audience behaviour.
Exam Questions1. What significance does the continuing development of digital mediatechnology have for media institutions and audiences?2. Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production andexchange of media texts in your chosen media area3. “Successful media products depend as much upon marketing anddistribution to a specific audience as they do upon good productionpractices”. To what extent do you agree with this statement, in the mediaarea you have studied?4. To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing andconsumption of media products in the media area you have studied?5. “Cross-media convergence and synergy are vital processes in the successfulmarketing of media products to audiences.” To what extent do you agreewith this statement in relation to your chosen media area?6. “Media production is dominated by global institutions, which sell theirproducts and services to national audiences.” To what extent do you agreewith this statement?3
MarkingOut of 50 you’ll get:20 Marks for Analysing, Arguingand Explaining20 Marks for Use of examples10 Marks for use of terminology
6Fox Searchlight Pictures1. Who runs News Corp?2. How much are they worth?3. Name all the films FSP specialise in.4. Our Media is dominated by what?5. Who are the two largest conglomerates?6. How do these corporations affect us and why?7. Name a controversy of News Corp.8. What type of integration do FSP normally work in?9. Name a ‘flop’ from FSP.10. Why would it not be such a problem for them?11. What type of marketing do they use?12. Who actually released The Black Swan?13. Name a below-the-line marketing strategy.14. Name an above-the-line marketing strategy.15. What is different from old audiences to today’s audience 2.0?16. What did Jim Carrey do for Black Swan and how did it help?17. How do FSP keep a strong online presence?18. Name ways the industry promote themselves.19. What has helped Black Swan been successful?20. How are audiences targeted more directly nowadays?21. Name the two new major media conglomerates that all major studios practically have to work with.22. What has the world turned into due to the internet?23. What camera was used to shoot some scenes in The Black Sawn and why?24. Name four new technologies that have changed the film industry.25. How do you consume films now?26. How do you think films will be consumed in the future?27. How is it possible that we won’t need to (indirectly) pay for films in the future?
Background• Fox Searchlight pictures’ whose parent companyis 20th Century Fox, which is part of the ‘FoxEntertainment Group’, a subsidiary of NewsCorporation (owned by Rupert Murdoch). The 2ndlargest Media conglomerate in the world!!• News Corporation is a huge Media conglomerate,a mass-media multinational company.• Their assets are worth over 56 Billion dollars.• Despite their owner being a global mass marketcorporation Fox Searchlight specialise in Britishfilms, Horror films, Dramedy and non-Englishlanguage films.
Concentration of media ownership (also known asmedia consolidation)Concentration of media ownership is a process whereby progressively fewerindividuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media.Contemporary research demonstrates increasing levels of consolidation, withmany media industries already highly concentrated and dominated by a verysmall number of firms.Globally, large media conglomerates include Viacom, CBS Corporation, TimeWarner, News Corp, Bertelsmann AG, Sony Corporation of America,NBCUniversal, Vivendi, Televisa, The Walt Disney Company, HearstCorporation, Organizações Globo and Lagardère GroupAs of 2012, The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate inthe US, with News Corporation, Time Warner and Viacom ranking second,third and fourth respectively.In nations described as authoritarian by most international think-tanks andNGOs like Human Rights Watch (China, Cuba, Russia), media ownership isgenerally something very close to the complete state control over informationin direct or indirect ways.This affects us culturally and politically. It also represents ‘Britishness’ in anAmerican way, which many British people don’t feel is a true representation ofthemselves.
News Corp ControversyNew Corp are know for being a biased Mediaorganisation. They have given donations to theright wing American political parties - theRepublicans who are ‘America’s Conservatists’.They have also had controversy surroundingthem with their news outlets. ‘News of the World’was closed in 2011 after phone hacking wasused by their journalists.So, unlike the BBC, News Corp, it could beargued, have subsidiaries which promote theleaders ethos and have an agenda much likeother propaganda.
Cross-Media Convergence and Synergy (different to technological convergence)Production – Being part of a conglomerate means that the money forproductions is available for Searchlight. Bigger budgets can also attractlarger Stars, utilise the newest and best technology for special effects andshooting.Films are generally developed by a smaller production company (often setup just for the film itself) who then seek more finance and or distribution withSearchlight as they have a film with British content or ‘indie’ content or anon-English language/horror/dramedy film that has done well outside ofAmerica.In many cases FSP can ‘pick-up’ a film that has already been developed(script, budgeting, stars attached) and has a lot of potential or they can helpdistribute a film that has done well in other regions already and is a ‘sure-fire’ hit (it may have won film festival awards previously or ‘opened’ a festivalwith it’s premiere).Ultimately, it means working with other companies through synergistichorizontal integration as oppose to the old style of vertical integration whereevery aspect of film making was done by one major company.
Cross-Media Convergence and Synergy (different to technologicalconvergence)Marketing and Distribution – FSP sometimes only distributes films. Theywould agree to distribute the film before production in many cases and themoney they pay for the rights to distribute the film counts towards theproduction budget. This can make some producers unstuck when theydeliver a film without music copyright permissions or a film that is in anywaydifferent to what was pitched by FSP.However, when FSP markets and distributes a film they have the financialbacking of a major conglomerate and can adapt their budgets inaccordance with how well the film does in the first few weeks at the boxoffice. Hence why ‘The Black Swan’ was able to be marketed to a massaudience after they had planned a limited release at first to a nicheaudience.In contrast, if a film fails at the box office and isn’t received well (e.g. TheGood Thief – made for $25,000,000 only to make $5, 756,945 after it onlymade $131,580 on its opening w/end in the U.S on 9 screens, despitehaving ‘good’ reviews and a satr Nick Nolte) the loss that FSP takes can beabsorbed by News Corp or the next ‘hit’ that came in as a low-budget film(such as The Black Swan (13 mil – 329 mil) and makes a mint!
13Online + Offline tools ! These strategies saturate the market. Above-the-line marketingcosts are very expensive and Hollywood companies can afford to pay them.Independent films don’t have the revenue to saturate the market in the same way.360 degree marketing360 degree marketing
14Teaser Trailers, and multiple trailersand Featurettes on TV and online
15Synergy - working with a number ofcompanies: horizontal integration
16Released by parent company with a largerdistribution network (once the film has proven itselfand already proving to be a hit, through test and previewscreenings)
17This is a quote from one of the marketing directors of Black Swan mentioning the impact the film has made:Due to marketing departments having an increased say in what goes into a film’s promotion, it can be quitedifficult pitching alternative design ideas to a film studio. However, many within the industry are optimisticabout the impact that ‘Black Swan’ has had on this mindset and are looking to capitalise on its success.This is a quote about how much a poster may actually affect the success of the film:Promotion for the film is now in full swing, especially with awards ceremonies, today Glamour got anexclusive, the international poster and it’s taking a different tack to the traditional and art-house posters we’veseen thus far. This one is simple but very effective focusing on Portman and her shattered existence as balletdancer Nina.
18Online buzzMany assume that Darren Aronofsky and Fox Searchlight are racing to have Black Swan ready for either the Venice or TorontoFilm Festival in September, and more definitely award season. It appears that they have a cut of the film they are willing to showselect public audiences, as the first test screening occurred sometime last week. Someone named Money B claims to haveattended a sneak preview screening in Los Angeles.“The film sneaked at the landmark in the westside pavilion and though I can’t spill the beansabout the plot, I will say that Natalie Portman has never been better. Man is Natalie Portmangood in it, yowzers. She epitomizes everything a movie star should be – just without theattitude. In it she’s radiant, spell-binding yet vulnerable; you can’t take your eyes off her.” - Aleaked comment from a test screen audience memberFilm news onOrange
19Cross-Media Promotion (below-the-line strategies):working in synergy with other companies for the benefit of bothFor theladies For the gentsFor the massaudience onJimmy Kimmellive
20More cross-media promotion in the form of reviews: good orbad it’s all good for promotion. This includes TV reviewshows, online reviews, magazine, newspaper reviews andof course AUDIENCE 2.0 public reviews on blogs,forums, youtube.
21Audience 2.0 - Unfiltered comments on FSP own youtube channelwith over 21million views of the trailer to date.Hosting this on youtube means it can go viral on social networking sitesand get ‘shared’ directly or ‘liked’ by the target audience who are theonly ones who would share it with friends/peers with the same taste.Paid for (expensive FB ads also get straight to the target audience andonly them as FB knows all about YOU!)
22Audience 2.0 and ‘We Media’Parodies are made of trailers and this has proved to be beneficial to theoriginal as it makes it more popular.Plus other popular tvshows doing parodiesinc. Jim Carrey on SNL.
23FSP - All films have official websites, FB and Twitter accounts.Audiences can ‘interact’ with the film before the release.
25Premiere, Press conference, three famous stars inc. an academy award nominee and a huge Frenchstar, controversy due to the lesbian scene (targeted at men) and self-harm as well as (big issues forwoman, as well as the ballet content), well known Director, official selection at various filmfestivals. Numerous awards have given the film longevity inc. the Oscar boost.All of this mass marketing means that it is almost impossible to avoidnot knowing about this film if you go the cinema, watch Tv, usesocial networking sites or read! Years gone by studios would havepromoted films through the traditional methods -posters, trailers, apremiere, etc. Nowadays the internet has meant that the media hasproliferated (spread out across more mediums inc. hand-held andconverged digital devices) this has meant more synergy is neededbetween companies, so they can work together and at times cross-promote both their products. This also means audiences are targetedmore precisely, but can also ‘interact’ with the films content and‘review’.
26Issues - These Media conglomerates now have towork with the new Media giants Google andFacebook. Due to the consolidation of all thesecompanies the Media is Americanised, which leadsto less diverse content. Leaving some audienceswith a lack of identity in their own countries, wheretraditions and culture is waining.
27Distribution, Exhibition and Exchange20th Century Fox is a global company and distributes films for exhibition and exchange world-wide.They have done this for many years. Luckily, for smaller independent production companies theinternet has turned the world into a ‘global village’, meaning they can also distribute films world-wide.Netflix, iTunes and Lovefilm all offer streamed and downloadable films. New technologies mean thatpeople can ‘rent’ films on their computers and after a period of time that film becomes unavailable ‘no-more late fees’. Ultraviolet is a new way to ‘own’ films as well as ‘iCloud’ - making copies of the filmavailable on traditional and converged tech, due to broadband and wi-fi.Release windows are changing. Films use to have a premiere - preview screenings - national release -international releases (at various times) - DVD/VHS! Release - DVD/VHS to own release - TVpremiere. Thus prolonging the ‘value’ of the film in the ‘film value chain’. Due to audiences now having‘home cinema systems’ they prefer to watch films in the comfort of their own homes and due to fibreoptic cabling they can stream or download films straight to their TV’s.Many Indie films are now released online and sometimes funded onlinehttp://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/zach-braffs-kickstarter-project-hits-445893 This explainsZach Braff’s kickstarter project that has around 25 days left but has already gone over his asking total of2 mil, so that he can have creative control and final cut of his film.Piracy is a huge issue, but interestingly film pirates are also the highest percentage of people that buyfilms anyway. Generally, because they are ‘cinephiles’ - film fanatics.
28New Technolgies in Production• Epic, The Wolverine, Walking with Dinosaurs,Turbo (co-production with Dreamworksanimation) - will all be released by 20th CenturyFox in 2013 in 3D. None in Fox Searchlightsshowcase at the moment, due to the ‘Indie’ style.• Many films by Fox searchlight are shot digitally.The Black Swan had some scenes shot on aCanon 7D dslr camera, meaning they could getin tighter to the action and get more versatileshots, due to its compact size and weight.
29Issues with ProductionAppears as ‘Indie’ therefore feels ‘alternative’or ‘diverse’, but has probably beenvetted/cut (therefore censored) in a way toplease the studio heads.
Successes Critical and Commercial• Slumdog millionaire (Academy award for Best film)• Juno• 127 Hours• Little Miss Sunshine• The Full Monty (3.5 mil – 257 mil)• Beasts of the Southern Wild• Napoleon Dynamite (400,00 – 46 mil)• 500 Days of Summer• 28 Days Later (5 mil – 28 mil)and…Black Swan (13 mil – 329 mil)
If you can compare FSP witha small British productioncompany like Warp x thenyou’ll do well too