o Introduction – state focus and argument.
o Cross-media convergence – what is it? How does it relate
to the film industry?
o Cross-media convergence and Disney – how is Disney an
example of cross-media convergence.
o Synergy and the Film Industry – how does synergy work in
the film industry?
o Synergy and Disney – how have Disney used synergy?
o Conclusion – sum up your argument, relate to your own
Cross-media convergence and synergy are essential to the success of major
blockbusters, and allow the Big Six studios to dominate the film industry. I will
explore cross-media convergence within The Walt Disney Company, and
demonstrate how their use of synergy underpins their success.
o Link to question.
o State focus.
o State argument.
o Film industry has moved from vertically integrated model during Studio Era
(1920s-1940s) to a horizontally integrated model.
o The concentration of media ownership has seen different media companies
merge leading to huge media conglomerates which dominate the film
o These conglomerates are all examples of cross-media convergence as they
own a range of different types of media (e.g. Time Warner –
publishing, television, film, music).
o The film industry is dominated by the Big Six studios which include 20th
Century Fox, Warner Bros, and Universal. All of the Big Six studios are
subsidiaries of major media conglomerates such as Viacom and Sony.
o Cross-media convergence allows studios to use synergy to promote films and
maximise ancillary revenue.
Cross-media convergence and Disney
o Disney are a key example of cross-media convergence as they produce a wide
range of types of media.
o Outline ownership structure of Disney – 5 divisions each with various
subsidiaries which allow them to produce a range of products around one
o How does this help Disney to ensure their films are successful?
o “The Disney Stores promote the consumer products which promote the parks
which promote the television shows. The television shows promote the
company.” Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner
Synergy and the Film Industry
o Success of films like Star Wars in the late 1970s lead to shift in Hollywood to
focus on big budget franchises.
o Big budget franchises with synergistic tie-ins such as soundtracks, video
games, theme park rides have become a key source of revenue for Hollywood.
o Synergy is beneficial as it allows strands under the brand umbrella to promote
each other, and maximise revenue.
o Franchises also rely on spectacle – big budget, special effects, high production
values which encourage viewers to watch the film and work as a barrier to
entry to independent productions.
o Hollywood increasingly focused on sequels – 25% of Hollywood films by
2003, 8/10 films at global box office were franchises.
o You may want to link in to relevant examples of synergy.
Synergy and Disney
o Disney are one of the largest media conglomerates in the world.
o A large part of their success is down to the fact that they have ‘mastered the
art of media synergy’ (The Economist).
o Disney’s audience more receptive to spin-off products.
o Cross-platform brands targeted at tweens – High School Musical.
o Use of synergy to promote Tron: Legacy – soundtrack, Toy Story 3 – Disney
Channel Toy Story Day.
o The Avengers – Marvel – subsidiary of Disney – film franchise (Avengers 3rd
most successful film of all time), other films (Iron Man, Thor, etc.). New
animated series airs on Disney XD channel, TV series Agents of SHIELD shown
on ABC – subsidiary of Disney. Wide range of merchandise, them park being
built. 365 days a year brand – The Avengers brand becomes ubiquitous.
o You could also refer to Disney buying LucasFilm giving it the rights to Star Wars
– it plans more films in the franchise, TV series, merchandise, and theme park
rides at Disney resorts.
o Explain why these types of cross-media brands are so successful - crosspromotion/maximising ancillary revenue.
Sum up your argument – Cross-media convergence have proven essential to the
success of the Big Six studios. As they are all subsidiaries of major media
conglomerates which own a range of different types of media these studios have
been able to use synergy to promote their films. This makes it harder for
independent filmmakers, and filmmakers in other countries to compete with the
major Hollywood studies.
Relate to your own experience – do you watch franchises? Do you mostly watch
Hollywood films? Why is this? Do you watch any independent/British films?
o Keep referring to specific examples – films, statistics, studios, to support the
points you make.
o Explain/evaluate the effect of example you are discussing.
o Refer to your argument – how does synergy help major studios to dominate
the film industry?
o Refer to your own experience as a consumer.
o Use terminology.
Some of the key terms you could use in this essay include:
Concentration of media ownership
Theatrical box office
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