Before we look at the process of
distribution, we must look at company
• Horizontal integration
• Vertical integration
• Parent company
• Sister company
A large company or media institution that owns
large numbers of companies in various mass media
• Walt Disney Company
• News Corporation
HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL INTEGRATION
Often a single parent company will own multiple
companies in the film industry.
This is divided into two types of ownership:
The parent company
companies at the same
stage of the film
industry. A smaller
company, owned by the
parent is a subsidiary.
For example Walt Disney also
For example Time Warner owns: owns:
•Warner BrosFilms (Production)
•Warner Bros (Distribution)
•Used to own Warner Bros
Cinemas in the UK (Exhibition
The parent company
different stages of the
What are the
advantages for a parent
company of each type of
Distribution involves everything that
happens in between production and
exhibition. It involves all of the deals
done to get films shown and
Marketing falls under distribution and
we will explore this as a separate
The distribution company is in charge of getting the film out to
audiences, this involves organising for the film to receive an age
certificate by regulation bodies, such as the BBFC and MPAA;
arranging exhibition outlets globally and DVD/Television rights;
arranging for prints of the film; and marketing, publicity and
promotion of the film.
Of course it has to sell things, but it doesn't rely
on waiting, listening, responding to what
audiences want and then delivering that to
them. It relies on knowing which parts of the
world and the media need its products and will
pay for them.
There are five major distributors:
United International Pictures,
20th Century Fox, and
9 out of 10 films seen in the UK are from these
distributors, and in most cases the distributors
are directly linked to the Hollywood Production
Companies who make the films.
What is vertical integration?
What is horizontal integration?
Can you find out which subsidiaries
are owned by Time Warner?
Who distributed ‘Pacific Rim’?
• This is good news for films like
Pacific Rim: distribution is a
done deal since WB are
responsible for its production.
• Spare a thought for the
independent producer: he/she
might have enough money to
make their film, but how are
they going to get it into cinemas
when companies like this
control much of the industry?
Compare the production and distribution
companies involved in ‘Pacific Rim’ and ‘A field in
What does this tell you about:
• The finance involved
• The target audience
• The logistics of distribution
• The marketing and merchandise
• Film distribution is not a helpful stage in
the life of a film whereby distributors
treat all films equally and ensure fair
play in getting films to the public’s
• The key players, the big companies who
control much of the industry, control
distribution of their own products, and
• Effectively, films are loaned out to
cinemas for a limited period of time and
released deals are done that secure
access to a certain number of screens at
• In the UK film market, an increase in the
quantity of screens showing films has
not led to an increase in the number of
Watch the videos on simultaneous
1. What does this tell you about the future of film
2. Did ‘A field in England’ benefit from this
3. If so, how and why?
4. What does this tell you about the target audience
for this film?
5. Who is the distributor?
Distribution also involves planning and
organising the production and distribution of
merchandise as well as exhibition formats such
as DVD, Blue Ray and Ultra Violet.
• What products and formats can you find in
association with ‘A field in England’ and
• Which audience are these targeted at?
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