News Corporation Assembled by Kuldip Judge For the benefit of AS Media student’s unit Institutions & Audiences (OCR)
1. History of News Corporation (20 th century fox)
2. Media ownership in contemporary media practice
3. Cross media convergence/synergy in production, distribution and marketing
4. Technology used in production, distribution and marketing
5. Targeting national and local 'British' audiences by News Corp’s global network of media operations
6. Audiences own experiences of media consumption of News Corp’s products
7. Mock examination
Q: How did 20 th Century Fox target a British Audience through the promotional campaign behind ‘AVATAR’ (2009)?
History of News Corporation (20 th Century Fox)
Subsidiary of News Corporation
Founded May 31, 1935 (31/05/35), by merger of Fox Films (founded in 1915) and 20th Century Pictures, Inc. (founded in 1933)
20th Century Fox's most popular film franchises include Avatar , The Simpson's , Star Wars , Ice Age , Garfield , Alvin and the Chipmunks , X-Men , Die Hard , Alien , Speed , Revenge of the Nerds , Planet of the Apes , Home Alone , Dr. Do-little , Night at the Museum , Predator , Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Chronicles of Narnia
A potted history
20 th Century Fox
With financial stability came new owners, and in 1978 control passed to the investors Marc Rich and Marvin Davis .
By 1985 Rich has fled the US on tax evasion. Davis sold Rich's half of Fox to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Six months later Davis sold his half of Fox, giving News Corp complete control. To run the studio, Murdoch hired Barry Diller from Paramount . Diller brought with him a plan which Paramount's board had refused: a studio-backed, fourth television network that was financed by advertising.
1986 the new Fox Broadcasting Company took to the air. Over the next 20-odd years the network and owned-stations group expanded to become extremely profitable for News Corp.
In 2008 Fox announced an Asian subsidiary, Fox STAR Studios, a joint venture with STAR TV , also owned by News Corporation. It was reported that Fox STAR would start by producing films for the Bollywood market, then expand to several Asian markets
News Corp ownership
Founded in Australia in 1979 by Rupert Murdoch who owned a vast number of Australia's newspapers
Rupert wanted global expansion into other mediums such as TV,Film,Cable,Satellite TV, Magazines etc and own other significant and iconic newspapers such as ‘The Times’ to add to his expanding portfolio
Rupert Murdoch is chairman and CEO and he likes to have various members of his family involved in his media empire, hence the CEO of News Corp in Europe & Asia is his son James Murdoch
What is a conglomerate? A conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses together into one corporate structure, usually involving several (or many) subsidiaries . Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company . Conglomerates are often large and multinational (across countries)
News Corp is the 3 rd biggest media conglomerate in the world?
News Corp own a great range of cross media institutions. They own various institutions that cover a whole range of mediums from Film, TV, Cable, Satellite, Print and the internet.
List the most significant media corporations which come under the ownership of News Corp from the next slide?
2. Media ownership in contemporary media practice
An introduction to News Corporation
Watch and analyse the promotional video (which is in run on a loop at the entrance of News Corporation) - What do you learn about the Corporations Media interests in Film? Web? Print? industries??
Can you name any TV shows News Corp has been responsible for? Can you name any Films News Corp has been responsible for? Can you name any Newspapers that belong to News Corp?
Homework: Go onto the News Corp website and list the many products they make through their various companies
“ Ofcom to review News Corp bid for Sky ” The Guardian
The business secretary Vince Cable has asked Ofcom (the media watchdog) to look into the impact News Corp’s proposal to take over BSkyB Television.
Currently News Corp has 39% shares in the company buy wants to buy the remaining 61% of shares to take complete ownership
Rupert Murdoch already owns 37% of all the uk newspapers including The Sun, The News of the World, The Times and The Sunday Times
There is a law that prevents certain mergers and takeovers taking place on the grounds it could eliminate competition and become biased in its coverage
The worry is that Rupert Murdoch will have too much power and influence over key media which could bias his coverage
2. Media ownership in contemporary media practice 5. Targeting national and local 'British' audiences by News Corp’s global network of media operations
Partisan News = Fox News
If he owns all the key newspapers and Sky news he could enforce his own political ideologies like he has done with Fox News which is partisan towards the Republican party and is highly biased in its adoration for the republicans, the criticism is that it is un-democratic and UK TV coverage has to be legally unbiased and independent of political and business influence
The BBC are also nervous of Murdoch having more media power
BSkyB is the biggest broadcaster in the UK. It’s revenue in the UK was $5.9 billion in 12 months compared with BBC’s global revenues of $4.8 billion
British Sky Broadcasting was formed in 1990 by the News Corp’s Sky Television and rival British Satellite Broadcasting
3. Cross media convergence/synergy in production, distribution and marketing
Avatar premiered in London on December 10, 2009, and was released overseas on December 16 and in the United States to critical acclaim and commercial success.
The film broke several box office records during its release and became the highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S. and Canada and also worldwide, surpassing Titanic , which had held the records for the previous 12 years. It also became the first film to gross more than $2 billion.
Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards , including Best Picture and Best Director , and won three, for Best Cinematography , Best Visual Effects , and Best Art Direction . The film's home release went on to break opening sales records and became the top-selling Blu-ray of all time. Following the film's success, Cameron signed with 20th Century Fox to produce two sequels, making Avatar the first of a planned trilogy .
3. Cross media convergence/synergy in production distribution and marketing : Action figures
Mattel Toys announced in December 2009 that it would be introducing a line of Avatar action figures. Each action figure will be made with a 3-D web tag, called an i-TAG, that consumers can scan using a web cam , revealing unique on-screen content that is special to each specific action figure.
A series of toys representing six different characters from the film were also distributed in McDonald's Happy Meals in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia , the United States and Venezuela .
Convergence/synergy in production, distribution and marketing : Books
Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora , a 224-page book in the form of a field guide to the film's fictional setting of the planet of Pandora, was released by Harper Entertainment on November 24, 2009. It is presented as a compilation of data collected by the humans about Pandora and the life on it, written by Maria Wilhelm and Dirk Mathison.
Harper Festival also released Wilhelm's 48-page James Cameron's Avatar: The Reusable Scrapbook for children.
3. Cross media convergence/synergy in production, distribution and marketing: Video Games
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game
Cameron chose Ubisoft Montreal to create an Avatar game for the film in 2007. The filmmakers and game developers collaborated heavily, and Cameron decided to include some of Ubisoft's vehicle and creature designs into the film.
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game was released on December 1, 2009, for most home video game consoles ( PS3 , Xbox 360 , Wii , Nintendo DS , iPhone ), Microsoft Windows and December 8 for PSP .
See GAME documentary - blog
4. TECHNOLOGY USED IN PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING (marketing)
The first photo of the film was released on August 14, 2009, and Empire magazine released exclusive images from the film in its October issue.
James Cameron announced at the Comic-Con Avatar Panel that August 21 will be 'Avatar Day'. On
this day the trailer for the film was released in all theatrical formats. The official game trailer and toy line of the film were also unveiled on this day.
The 129-second trailer was released online on August 20, 2009.
The new 210-second trailer was premiered in theatres on October 23, 2009, then soon after premiered online on Yahoo! on October 29, 2009, to positive reviews. An extended version in IMAX 3D received overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Trailers – Fox exclusive
The Hollywood Reporter said that audience expectations were coloured by "the [same] establishment scepticism that preceded Titanic " and suggested the showing reflected the desire for original storytelling.
The teaser has been among the most viewed trailers in the history of film marketing, reaching the first place of all trailers viewed on Apple. COM with 4 million views.
The three-and-a-half-minute trailer of the film premiered live on November 1, 2009, during a Dallas Cowboys football game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on the Diamond Vision screen, the world's largest video display, and to TV audiences viewing the game on Fox . It is said to be the largest live motion picture trailer viewing in history.
Marketing and Promotion
The Coca-Cola Company collaborated with Twentieth Century Fox to launch a worldwide marketing campaign to promote the film. The highlight of the campaign was the website AVTR.com. Specially marked bottles and cans of Coca-Cola Zero , when held in front of a webcam, enabled users to interact with the website's 3-D features using augmented reality (AR) technology.
The film was heavily promoted in an episode of the Fox Network series Bones in the episode "The Gamer In The Grease" (Season 5, Episode 9). Avatar star Joel David Moore has a recurring role on the program, and is seen in the episode anxiously awaiting the release of the film.
Coco-cola zero promo
From your notes list the companies associated with the marketing and promotion of ‘Avatar’ thus far?
4. TECHNOLOGY USED IN PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING (Production)
Avatar – 3D
Avatar was officially budgeted at $237 million. Other estimates put the cost between $280 million and $310 million for production and at $150 million for promotion. The film was released for traditional 2-D viewing, 3-D viewing (using the RealD 3D , Dolby 3D , XpanD 3D , and IMAX 3D formats), and " 4-D " viewing. The stereoscopic filmmaking was touted as a breakthrough in cinematic technology.
Box office success
Avatar earned $3,537,000 from midnight screenings domestically (United States and Canada), with the initial 3-D release limited to 2,200 screens .
The film earned $27 million on its opening day , and $77 million over its opening weekend, making it the second largest December opening ever behind I Am Legend , and the 25th largest national United States weekend opening, despite a blizzard which blanketed the East Coast of the United States and reportedly hurt its opening weekend results.
The IMAX opening also broke box office records, with 178 theatres generating approximately $9.5 million.
Cameron initially stated that Avatar would be released in 3-D around November 2010, but the studio issued a correction: "3-D is in the conceptual stage and Avatar will not be out on 3D Blu-ray in November.“ In May 2010, Fox stated that the 3-D version would be released some time in 2011.
It was later revealed that Fox had given Panasonic an exclusive license for the 3-D Blu-ray version and only with the purchase of a Panasonic 3DTV and 3D Blu-ray player. The length of Panasonic's exclusivity period is unknown and said to be "unusually long"
What is 3D Film?
Cameron first devised the concept for Avatar in the mid-90s, but decided to hold off on the actual filming until the technology caught up with his vision. When the technology appeared to be lagging, he stepped in to lend a helping hand. The director worked alongside cinematographer Vince Pace to pioneer and patent a "fusion digital 3D camera system" that he first employed on his 2003 documentary, Ghosts of the Abyss , and has subsequently refined and adapted. He shot large portions of Avatar on a "virtual camera" , a handheld monitor that allowed him to move through a 3D terrain, in effect editing this existing, computer-generated universe. The result, he boasts, turns cinema into "the ultimate immersive media
4. TECHNOLOGY USED IN PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING
“ Is James Cameron's 3D movie Avatar the shape of cinema to come?” The Guardian (20/08/09)
Friday 21 August, is officially designated "Avatar Day", although "Avatar Quarter-Hour" would be more accurate. It is the date that sees the public unveiling of a full 15 minutes of teaser footage from the new 3D blockbuster from director James Cameron , playing at hundreds of sold-out cinemas across the planet; the date that could come to define how Hollywood frames the world. "We are born seeing in three dimensions," Cameron proclaimed recently . "Most animals have two eyes, not one. There is a reason." After tomorrow, industry experts predict, 3D cinema will never be the same again.
They call it "the illusion of depth", a conjuring trick on the visual cortex, and it works like this. You take two cameras and shoot with them side-by-side. Later, when the results are projected, the viewer interprets these dual images as a single three-dimensional image.
We see (or believe we see) a foreground, a background and, best of all, bulky projectiles that threaten to leap from the screen and land in our laps. This is the USP of 3D or stereoscopic cinema , a gimmick as old as film-making itself. In the past the success of this illusion has likewise proved illusory – but this time, we are assured, the landscape is different.
Whilst 20 th century fox and its many departments were filming, editing the Avatar, the distribution and marketing divisions were busy developing strategies to promote the film in order to maximise profitability for their soon to be released film
Organisation of synchronised release, internationally
Getting film stock, ready for digital transfer to cinemas
Communicating with worldwide distributors for exclusive deals, country to country for maximum reach
Dealing with cinemas (Showcase/Cineworld/Odeon/AMC) etc for initial release phase, domestic & international deals
Technology – Distribution/exhibition
The days of film reels are eroding
It is cheaper and faster to send hard drives with film pre-loaded then shipping separate film reels around the world
Films are now projected on special projectors through a hard drive and not of actual film cells/negative through a projector in the traditional way (Imax projector below)
3D film needs a special projector and currently there are as not as many as 2D projectors
5: Targeting national and local 'British' audiences by the News Corp global network of media operations
Glitzy ‘Tent pole’ Movie premiere – Odeon London (images of celebrities showcased in Women magazines) – Hello, OK, Heat etc – wider demographic appeal and Newspapers – Sun, The Times, NOTW)
PR junkets (interviews in a rota in hotel, guest appearances on chat shows)
International news conferences (Brazil, France etc)
Advertising – Billboards, bus stops,
TV spots, Cinema trailers (various lengths – shorter then bigger)
Radio adverts – Commercial Radio/ Review shows
Newspaper adverts (Sun, NOTW, Times – synergy)
Magazines – Film and other genre magazines: Empire (exclusive)
Merchandising – Unique Products that stem from Film (see PowerPoint)
Online trailers (various) Exhibition
Technology - Exhibition
This is all about how ‘Avatar’ the film can and has been exhibited and accessed
1) Teaser trailers (x3?) various lengths
2) World Premiere – London Odeon
3) International cinema release on 2D & 3D (all around the world)
4) Special editions on IMAX 3D & extra 8 min’s version on Cinema prior to Oscars (March 2010)
5) 6 months later – DVD release (rental-blockbuster)
6) DVD & Blu-ray home release (Spring 10)
7) Internet downloading on mobile and VOD
8) Xmas special edition DVD & Blu-ray release Nov 10
9) Future 3D- Blu-ray release sometime in 2011
6. Audiences own experiences of media consumption of News Corp products
Students can assess how they are targeted by such News Corps products on a daily basis and does any of the marketing filter through in terms Passive theories such as the hypodermic needle effect? . Eg: Buying a happy meal at McDonald's, buying a ‘Avatar’ film poster, buying a book on the world of Pandora special?, dressing like the Na’vi for fancy dress parties? or are they Active consumers. Eg: You reject the hype and refused to watch the film when it was released due to ‘overkill’, and you have no interest in the franchise for whatever reason? Or you watch the film on your terms.
Also, FANDOM , making spoof versions of Avatar on YouTube shows that people have embraced the franchise and taken ownership of it. This helps to cultivate the brand and keep it in the public realm/public sphere
See examples of ‘Swedes’ on blog
The public making their own versions of Avatar , including new trailers for Avatar 2 etc.
When people remix music it is called “MASH-UP’s” and when films are remixed it’s called “SWEDES ” and part of what is known as the “LONGTAIL”
HW: Go onto Wikipedia and look up the term the longtail in the context of Audience ‘Active’ behaviour
Avatar made over $2 billion dollars making it the most successful film of ALL time
How did you consume ‘Avatar’? Think in terms of what items you bought to do with the film?
EXAM REVISION Section B: Institutions and Audiences
Answer the question below, making detailed reference to examples from your case study material to support points made in your answer
2. Discuss the issues raised by an institution’s need to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied
Write down the question and highlight the keywords
Re-write the question to make it applicable to us
2. Discuss the issues raised by an institution’s need to target specific audiences, within a media industry which you have studied
Think in terms of News Corp/20 th century fox /UK audiences etc
Discuss the issues raised by News Corp’s need to target UK audiences through its release of the Avatar, 2009
Why and how does News Corp target uk audiences with a film such as the Avatar, 2009?
How did News Corp target uk audiences through it’s processes of production, distribution and marketing?
Q: There are 3 core areas of discussion for the exam. Looking at the images, what are they?
[Draw the triangle and 4 arrows on A3]
2. MEDIA PRODUCT/ ARTEFACT: Avatar (2009) 3. AUDIENCES: UK audiences reception of News Corp products
INSTITUTIONS : News Corp
20 th Century Fox (subsidiary)
Synergy 1b. DISTRIBUTION/MARKETING 2. EXHIBITION 3. FANDOM 1a. PRODUCTION