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Media OwnershipWarp films is an independent British film company which was set up in 1989 throughrecord label Warp Records. Warp records created Warp Films, Warp X, Warp MusicVideos & Commercials and Warps afflicted company Warp Films Australia. The companywhich is based in Sheffield and London is truly independent and therefore,consequently, focuses on producing low-budget films with unique, and sometimes,controversial storylines. The absence of strong Media Ownership results in Warp Filmshaving small budgets. It often works with other studios to produce films as, unlikeWorking Title which is owned by Universal Studios and has support from 20th centuryFox, it doesn’t have financial backing. Warp Films was set up with funding for NESTA(National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) which allowed the companyto develop even though it was without prominent Media Ownership (unlike one ownedby a ‘Big 6’ company).Advantages of being without strong media ownership like Working Title:• Create genre specific films as they don’t have a need to draw huge audiences• Be controversial and honest- storylines audiences can relate toDisadvantages• Small budgets- unable to use special effects or well-known actors• Less resources and connections needed for distribution
Synergy and Cross Media ConvergenceThe definition of synergy in terms of film can be seen through film companies workingtogether advantageously. A company may work together with another ( most likely to belarger and more successful) to use its studios and resources and then work together with oneof its subsidiary companies to release the soundtrack.Synergy in terms of Warp Films ( Four Lions 2010)• Produced by Warp Films• Worked alongside Film 4• Distributed by Optimum Releasing• Worked with Wild Bunch for international sales which is a division of StudioCanal, a Frenchcompany owned by Vivendi Australian film distributor Madman• Showcased at Sundance Festival Entertainment announced a collaboration• Was shown in some large cinemas ( Odeon, Vue) with Warp Films to make at lease two filmsThe example of Warp Film’s ‘Four Lions’ shows how synergy has been used throughout theprocess of production to consumption. The low-budget film company employed the help ofother companies for use of studios, sales and distribution. One of Warp Films key financialbackers is Optimum Releasing who are involved closely with the development and distributionof Warps’ products. Synergy is used in both independent and large-scale film companies inorder to create the best quality film that will attract and reach the largest number of peoplepossible. For Large- scale companies synergy would be used to reach the mass market whereindependent film companies target a specific group.
New Media TechnologiesNew media technologies are developed in order to appeal to large audiences and reach the mass market.In the current day, there are numerous ways to watch films anywhere at any time. New mediatechnologies increase access to films of all origins from small-scale independent companies to one of the‘Big 6’ media conglomerates. Films are accessibly via technology such as: cinema (IMAX and improveddigital), television ( satellite, cable, digital terrestrial), computers, smart phones, tablets, game consolesand websites such as Netflix and LoveFilm. Advances in technology has made it possible for anyone tocreate films and showcase them on the internet on sites like YouTube.Advances in new technology has made it easier for audiences to become aware of the films ofindependent film companies. Companies are able to make their films noticed through setting up specificwebsites to draw an audience in- this happened with Warp Films ‘Four Lions’. A website was set up to givethe audience knowledge of the film, its plot and characters and appeal to people through un-censoredhumour and controversial, uncommon themes. Disney and Pixar, parts of the ‘Big 6’, also used advancedtechnology in web design, interactive, special effects and higher quality internet and broadband to createtheir specific website for ‘Monsters Inc. University’ to consume audiences and promote the film andrelated products.New Media Technologies are advantageous for Warp Films as it enables their films to have access topeople through every day forms (e.g. smart phones, laptops, internet and game consoles.) Whereas,previously, Independent film companies only reached a very specific following, they are now able to reacha wide variety of people. An example of this is with Warp’s films (including ‘ This is England’ and ‘FourLions’) which appear on both ‘LoveFilm’ and ‘Netflix’ allowing viewers to watch the films anywhere at anytime.
The Spread of Technology and the Proliferation of technology (hardware)As technology continues to improve worldwide, films gain the ability to reach fresh newaudiences. As technology spreads and improves, films become easier to produce and thereforethe number of independent film companies/makers increase.As technology spreads, more people have access to equipment which allows them to create filmsand then share them using tablets/laptops and computers on blogs or sites like YouTube.Independent film companies have access to high quality equipment enabling them to producemore aesthetically good films which will gain them more recognition in the industry and in termsof audiences. However, the spread of technology can increase piracy as more people have accessto discreet or simply the correct recording equipment. This could be helped by countries nowreceiving the film with a smaller time space between them- preventing the demand for piracyfrom different countries.The proliferation of hardware enables film companies to broaden their product options. A newformat of films is Blu-ray which can be played on devices such as game consoles and is a higher-quality form of film. This benefits independent film companies by enabling them to distributetheir films with the ability to be played in a higher quality form.The spread of technology benefits both Warp Films (independent companies) and the mediaconglomerates as it widens their audience possibilities and allows a diversity use of equipment.The spread of technology also allows more independent companies to be set up as more peoplehave access to the required equipment, resources and networking options.
Technological ConvergenceTechnological Convergence: This is the joining of two or more distinct technologies to create one multi-functioning device with several purposes. For example: An ‘iPad’ is a tablet computer which allows theuser to access the internet, watch films through various websites or downloadable programmes (iTunes)and create their own films through either one of two cameras which can be uploaded straight toYouTube. ‘iPad’s can also be used for social networking with apps for websites such as ‘Facebook’ and‘Twitter’ whereas sound tracks can be listened to or downloaded through ‘Spotify’ and ‘iTunes’.Technological Convergence is beneficial to independent film company Warp Films as it enables them totarget their audiences through minimal devices. Due to the use and demand of smart phones, Warp filmscould even manufacture an app which would appeal to many and promote the films. Social networkinghas never been more accessible which has resulted in Warp Films creatingboth a Facebook page and a Twitter page. It is the Disadvantage: Piracy isconvergence of technologies which has improved knowledge made easierof Warps’ films and allowed them the ability to reachAudiences which may not have been interested or accessibleIn the past.Technological Convergence has made it easier for even smallerIndependent film makers to share their films through being able toresearch, film, network and share the films on one single device.This image shows the elimination of the need for various devicesas the smart phone increases its functions and purpose. Thismakes accessing audiences easier for film companies/makers ofany size.
Big Industries Targeting British AudiencesWith more big industry film companies targeting the British audience, small independent filmcompanies are struggling to survive and beat the Hollywood giants and their much anticipatedfilms. Media Conglomerates belong to the ‘Big 6’ and include film companies such as Universal andWarner Bros. With the companies, and their subsidiary companies distributing large volumes offilms to Britain, independent film companies are decreasing in popularity and are more unable tomake their films successful.Warp X, a company connected to Warp Films and one also branched from Warp Records, fightsagainst the media conglomerates by ensuring their films are purely British and are shot within theUK. They are part of the UK Film Council and Film4’s plans to provide new opportunity and talent inBritish film to improve its success rate. Warps Films’ ‘This is England’ highlights the strongly Britishaspect of their films and shows how success can still be found by British film through thecompetition with the big industries.Warp Films is disadvantaged due to not being part of strong Media Ownership unlike Working Titlewho have the backing of parent company Universal Studios to promote and distribute their films.The Media Conglomerates a threat to Independent film companies because:• They are larger budgets and therefore can make better quality films with special effects• Have more ‘univeral’ plots which are not specific or controversial like most independent films and therefore appeal to more people• Create serialised films which draw audiences in a sustain them• Can afford better and more advertising which allows their films to reach more audiences.
Personal Media ConsumptionFilms are a prominent form of Media in my life. I frequently watch films through severaldifferent technologies. Films are made increasingly accessible through the development oftechnology which maximises the possibilities of how to watch films through different devices.The continuous development of this has enabled me to watch films through a number ofmethods:• Most frequently I watch films on television through DVDs.• Television- Cable, Satellite, Digital Terrestrial• Internet- Through the website ‘LoveFilm’ I am able to watch films through my laptop• I use my IPod to purchase and watch filmsMy overall media consumption is fairly large as I have access to a number of devices of whichI can watch films on. Technological convergence also enables people to watch films ondemand anywhere. Through these avenues I frequently see trailers and promotionsadvertising films which enables film companies to reach their audiences.Personal media consumption is becoming increasingly higher across developed countries dueto the improved access. This affects Warp Films as their films can reach large audiences- morethan previously possible due to independent film companies having small followings of onlythose with knowledge of them.