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  • 1. AS Media Studies Study Notes Unit G322 Section BAudiences and InstitutionsThe Film Industry Part 6 Distribution 78
  • 2. Film DistributionConsider these two competing views of who holds the most power in terms of influencingwhat films get made and seen: If you break it down and look at it as a business then the audience has the greatest power. Its the audience that tells you what they like. So if the audience likes a particular superstar, then Hollywood is forced to use the superstar and that star then becomes extremely powerful. (Tony Angellotti) In a world where money spent on the budget of a film often sees50 % going on promotion as opposed to what you actually see on screen, the idea that we have a world where the consumer can exercise authority is absurd. This industry is like any other. Of course it has to sell things, but it doesnt rely on waiting, listening, responding to what audiences want and then deliveringthat to them. It relies on knowing which parts of the world and the media need its products and will pay for them. (Toby Miller)They cant both be right and you therefore need to come to an informed judgement on thisdynamic. In the case of film marketing, it is a complex issue.Q1. Did millions of people go to seePirates of the Caribbean 2 in the firstweek of release because it is such a greatfilm, or because it was so well marketed?Or both?It took $135.6 million in itsopening weekend in the US alone, 32% ofits final total gross, FYI…Definition of a distributorA distributor is the link between the film-makers and the public, and allows a film to reach the public via the cinemas, DVDand ontelevision. There are a number of distribution companies in the UK, all with different styles,funding structures, aims and marketing plans, all trying to sell their films in an incrediblycompetitive environment. Back in Section 2 we looked at Film Distribution in the UK – herewe’re taking a more global view.Each distribution company takes on a certain number of titles each year and creates anindividual release-plan for those films. Their responsibilities include: o deciding on a release date; o deciding how many prints to produce and in which cinemas to screen them; o advertising campaigns; o designing art work for adverts, posters, flyers and billboards; o organising premieres and talker screenings; o booking talent (i.e. the stars or director) for press interviews and personal appearances.Distributors are also responsible for negotiating deals regarding the films release on videoand DVD, and showings on television, cable and satellite channels.A film could come to the distributor in a range of ways —films produced by the main 79
  • 3. American studios will be distributed through their own companies, so Warner Bros. willdistribute their own films as will 20th Century Fox and Buena Vista International will distributeDisney films as it is the Disney distribution arm.Some films are seen at film festivals and are picked up through complicated negotiations withsales agents and producers so deals can be struck in different territories (i.e. North America,Europe, Asia, Australasia).Some Background Facts andStatisticsWorldwide spend on films is around $68 billion ayear, of which the distributors share is about $38billion. Total revenues are split almost equallybetween the North American market and the Rest ofthe World. The industry has doubled in size since2000 - an annual growth rate of almost 10%. Few, ifany, major businesses can boast such continuedgrowth over this period. DVD has contributedsignificantly to the growth levels. DVD sales haveseen a tenfold rise in the last few years.The average cost for an American studio film is nowmore than $50m with a further $30m spent onmarketing (up from $8m and $3m respectively in1980).Theatrical (i.e. cinema) revenues only account forabout 25% of the total profit, with DVD takingabout 40%; television screening accounting for 28%and ancillary revenues the final 7%.The main revenue streams for filmed entertainment are: 1. Theatrical (cinema) exhibition 2. DVD/Blu-ray rental 3. DVD/Blu-ray retail 4. Pay per View Television 5. Subscription or Pay Television 6. Free to air TelevisionThe industry maximises revenues at each stage of the chain and avoids any clashes in themarketplace. Release windows are starting to close up as the DVD streams start to eclipsethe original release in terms of revenue (although the cinematic shop window still remainsthe main driver of revenues throughout the chain in most cases) but are roughly as indicatedbelow:Theatrical: 0 - 6 MonthsDVD/Blu-ray: 6 - 12 MonthsPay Per View: 12 - 15 MonthsPay TV: 15 - 20 MonthsFree TV: 20 + Months 80
  • 4. The success of the home DVD market has led to increased pressure on the DVD rentalwindow with some of the major distributors keen to put their product into the retail marketplace as soon as possible. In the immediate future more films will be released simultaneouslyinto the rental and sell-through DVD/VOD windows. The rental window, which currentlylasts for about six months before titles go into retail outlets, may be closed altogether beforetoo long. This may also lead to the Pay per View window moving forwards with titlesreaching television screens within 9 to 12 months of their theatrical release.Theatrical Distribution DealsThe share of Box Office paid over to distributors varies between territories. The typicalexhibitors share in the US is 45% and in the Rest of the World 55%. The UK has some ofthe highest retentions by the exhibitor, averaging around 65%.Quick reminder - Types of UK distributorsIn the UK, distributors are divided into the majors and the independents. The MajorsThe majors are those affiliated to the biggest Hollywood companies and are: Warner Bros. (18.3%); 20th Century Fox (15.9%); Paramount (14.8%); Walt Disney/Buena Vista International (14%); United International Pictures (UIP) who release films from Universal and MGM studios(10.2%).The films released by the majors tend to be mainstream Hollywood blockbusters as well asUK/USA co-productions. Most companies have an indiewood arm such as Fox Searchlightor Focus Features (Universal) that will take risks on films that are not such commercialblockbusters. The IndependentsThese are companies who release a much wider range of films, and include Artificial Eye,Metrodome andMomentum. Titles will include foreign language films, documentaries,re-releases and non-mainstream Hollywood/UK titles picked up at film festivals acrossthe world.Entertainment Distribution is an unusual case in that it is a UK independent that has along standing relationship with US studio New Line Cinema (a unit of the Time WarnerCorporation). Entertainment release their titles in the UK, therefore getting such films as LordOf the Rings as well as small UK films. (http://www.entertainmentfilms.co.uk)Acquiring a filmA distributor can acquire the rights to release a film in the UK in a number of differentways: directly from their parent studio (i.e. Universal through UIP); through a deal a distributor may have with a production company or studio; a distributor may be approached by a third party sales agent; a distributor may attend a film festival and approach a sales agent after watching a film at a screening. 81
  • 5. A distribution deal is different for every film, and will include theatrical rights (i.e. thescreening of the film in cinemas), and possibly the release of the film on DVD as well as TVand satellite rights.Releasing a filmHollywood distributors will consider their release strategies from (at least) four perspectives:Global: where will the film work?Regional: how will we make it work in (say) Europe?National: how should we release it in each country?Local: are there any particular local conditions that need to be taken into account withineach country?Many things have to be taken into consideration when distributors choose a release date for amovie. School holidays in Easter, half term, summer and Christmas tend to be the time when bigfamily movies are set for release. Big national sporting events, particularly when England aretaking part, such as the European Championships and the World Cup can affect audiences, socare is taken about releasing male-orientated, action-type movies at that time.It is also crucial to know the landscape with regard to film and media related eventshappening nationally and most importantly, what else is being released at the time. The lastthing you want is your film being released on the weekend The Lord of the Rings: TheReturn ofthe King (2003) or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), arereleased, both of which will swamp the media and the national consciousness (unless, that is,you are consciously positioning the marketing strategy in opposition to these blockbusters). Box office - A films performance in the cinema is judged on the box-office figures. Box-office figures are based on the number of people who purchase a ticket to see a particular film and what they pay: it is the accumulated cost of tickets which equals the box-office figure. The US box-office figures will give a rough indication of how successful a film might be in the UK.For most films, almost 40% of total Box Office will be taken in the first week, with themajority of that arriving in the first weekend. Takings tend to fall to about 5% of the total bythe sixth week of release (if the film has lasted that long). Oscar winning films have tendedrecently to gross more internationally than at the US Box Office, partly because the releasepattern means that their Academy Award success can be used in the International marketingcampaigns. Films like The English Patient (1997), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The King’sSpeech (2010) are good examples of this. 82
  • 6. Case Study – United International Pictures (UIP)Whenever you visit the cinema, theres a strong chance that the film you are watching is onehandled by United International Pictures (UIP). UIP is jointly owned by two of Hollywood biggest studios, Paramount and Universal. They channel the films they produce through UIP, which is responsible for distributing them to cinemas in the international marketplace outside North America. UIP also handles films from their non-mainstream divisions, Paramount Classics and Universal Focus.Stephen Spielbergs studio Dreamworks also distributes its films around the world through UIP. Furthermore, UIP will acquire and distribute films made by independent producers in local and international markets.Since its launch in 1981, UIP reckons it has distributed over 1,000 films internationally -including Shrek, Love Actually, Jurassic Park, Collateral, Mission Impossible, and BridgetJones: The Edge Of Reason.It is a huge and complex operation, with offices in 35 countriesstretching from Russia to New Zealand and South Africa to Singapore. It also hasrepresentatives or agents working in another 23 countries. Its takings from the global boxoffice in 2003 stood at nearly $2 billion.An important focus for UIP at the moment is expanding into what it regards as growthmarkets, in particular countries with huge potential like China and Russia.UIPs globaloperation, which employs 700 people around the world, is co-ordinated from a small towerblock office in Hammersmith, West London, with 150 staff. Key departments include themarketing and distribution teams, which liaise with the US studio parent companies and UIPoffices around the world to agree release dates as well as marketing and press strategies forfilms.However, UIP chairman and chief executive officer StewartTill (pictured right), says: "We try to let the territories be asautonomous as possible and empower them as much as wecan." The Hammersmith HQ also includes departments such ashuman resources, business affairs and finance.Also in Londonis UIPs separate UK distribution office, based in GoldenSquare in Londons Soho. Run by Chris Hedges and employing35 staff, the operation consists of a sales and distribution teamresponsible for booking UIP films into theatres throughout theUK, as well as a PR and marketing unit charged withgenerating press coverage and reviews of films and for runningmarketing campaigns.Q2. Prepare a 10 slide Powerpoint on UIP as a company. Who are they? Who arethey owned by? What do they do? Why are UIP virtually guaranteed to be successful?Find some recent releases by UIP to use as examples. Think about the kind ofcompanies backing them?(http://www.uip.com/) 83
  • 7. Film ClassificationBefore a film can be shown to a paying audience, it is required by law that it iscertificated by the British Board of Film Classification. This ensures, for example, thatfilms which are of an adult nature are not shown to children.Distributors must submit their films to be watched by examiners who write reportsdescribing each film and justifying the decisions they have reached. The cost to thedistributor is roughly £9.50 per minute, so classification of an average film costsaround £800 – £1100.The British Board of Film Classification produces a set of guidelines which are easilyobtained for your reference from the organisations website (www.bbfc.co.uk). The BBFC isnot a separate entity from the film industry or a government department. It is a self-regulatory body as it is made up of film industry representatives. But despite this, this is theone area of film distribution over which the makers and promoters of a specific film havelimited control. It is possible for a film to be targeted and promoted for a particular audiencegroup such as 15 and over, only for the BBFC to impose an 18 certificate, although this israre.The film certificate influences the marketing campaign of the film since this will needto be pitched at the age range indicated by the certificate. A distributor may indicate tothe Board which certificate they are hoping the film will be awarded, for example, aPG certificate to allow a wider audience to see the film. The Board, in turn, mightsuggest cuts are made in order for it to get this certificate.Conversely, there might be times when a higher rather than a lower certificate willactually help to sell a film. For a thriller or a horror film to be rated 18 will do morefor it than if it were to be awarded a 15 certificate.In 2008, 639 films were classified of which 7had to make cuts - 4 at the 15 rating, 2 at 12Aand 1 at PG.The BBFCs guidelines state that there are threemain considerations for any film:1 Legal (material may break the law—-there are several laws to do with obscenity, equality, incitement and the protection of children)2 Protective (material is scrutinised for its potential to cause harm though this is a huge area for debate—who decides who needs protecting from what?)3 Societal (material is reviewed with broader public opinion in mind with particular regard to language).The second and third considerations are moresignificant in stipulating an age classification 84
  • 8. for a film. It is important to recognise that the BBFC make recommendations, but it ispossible for local authorities not to comply and either allow films to be exhibited to a widerage range than the BBFC recommends, or to deny younger viewers access in the locality, oreven to ban a film from release in the area. This hardly ever happens, but a famous examplewas the decision of Westminster Council to ban the screening of David CronenbergsCrash(1996), which was given an 18 certificate elsewhere.The BBFCs relationship with Government is known, rather misogynistically, as aGentlemans Understandingwhich means that Parliament observes from a distance and theBBFC regulates itself in accordance with the political climate established by the Government(stricter or more liberal depending on who is in power). During the New Labour Blair/Brownera, the BBFC has been more relaxed about material for the 18 certificate, but ‘tougher’when considering material for younger children. It is important to be aware of classification as an element ingate keepingthe distribution process. The classifications, as published in the BBFC guidelines, are as follows: U: Universal (suitable for all). PG: Parental Guidance (general viewing, some scenes may beunsuitable for young children). 12 and 12A: Suitable for 12 years and older. No one younger than12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by anadult. No one younger than 12 may rent or buy a 12 rated DVD. Responsibility for allowing under 12s to view lies withthe accompanying or supervising adult. 15: Suitable only for 15 years and over. No one younger than 15 may see a 15 film in a cinema. No one younger than 15 mayrent or buy a 15 rated DVD. 18: Suitable only for adults. No one younger than 18 may see an18 film in a cinema. No one younger than 18 may rent or buyan 18 rated DVD. R18: To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or suppliedonly in licensed sex shops, and to adults of not less than 18years.(Source: BBFC guidelines) 85
  • 9. Classification Case Studies - Spiderman (2002) & The DarkKnight (2008) The BBFC announced in September 2000 that it would look at the possibility of making the 12 cinema category advisory, like U and PG. This was in response to complaints from parents - particularly whenever a new James Bond film came out - who felt that they were better placed to decide which films their under 12s could cope with. In 2001 they carried out a pilot in Norwich. The outcome was that the public was only in favour of making the 12 cinema rating advisory if under 12s wereaccompanied by an adult throughout the film, and if consumer advice about the content ofthe film, for instance, Contains a single use of strong language and moderate violence - wasavailable on publicity material and was included in local cinema listings. The Board thencarried out a national survey in May 2002 and got almost identical results with over 70% ofpeople supporting the introduction of 12A.Once the Board was satisfied that the filmindustry was including the Consumer Advice on publicity and that the cinema exhibitorswere including it in cinema listings, the new category was introduced on 30 August 2002.Spider-Man had been passed 12 in April 2002, in spite of a request from the distributor for aPG. The reason for the 12 was that the film contained a level of personal violence and arevenge theme that went beyond what was acceptable under the PG Guidelines. Thedecision proved to be unpopular with the under 12s who had collected the merchandise, toys,lunch-boxes etc, which were specifically marketed at young children. The BBFC receivedmany letters from disappointed children questioning the decision.The distributor of Spider-Man, Sony Pictures, decided to re-release the film immediatelyafter the introduction of 12A so that young fans had the chance to see the film at the cinema.The decision to introduce 12A had nothing to do with Spider-Man or the pressure fromparents and children who wanted to see the film. The Board had announced its decision toconsider changing the category in September 2000 because it recognised that children weregrowing up faster and that parents were better placed to decide what their children shouldwatch. For the record, the first 12A film was The Bourne Identity.Much excitement and anticipation surrounded Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight basedboth on the success of the previous film and the recent death of Australian actor HeathLedger. But though there has been much critical interest in Ledger’s final high profileperformance some quarters of the British press focussed on something quite different – thefilm’s ‘12A’ certificate.The Dark Knight was submitted with a 12A request which came as no surprise given thelikely appeal of the film to younger audiences. It had also recently been awarded a ‘PG-13’,(a near 12A equivalent), by the American ratings organisation, the MPAA. 86
  • 10. Several factors were noted which supported a ‘12A’ certificate. These included the film’scomic book style, the appeal of thework to 12 –15 year olds, the clearfantasy context and the lack ofstrong detail, blood or gore.The BBFC was also careful toensure that additional advice wasavailable to parents and othermoviegoers through the bbfc.co.ukwebsite including extendedinformation about the filmdetailing how and why it wasclassified ‘12A’ and urging parentsto think carefully before takingyoungsters to see it.Films classified 12A are, broadly speaking, the most complained about decisions. As isoften the case such complaints about The Dark Knight focussed largely on the possibility ofvery young children seeing the film – although many correspondents also cited what theybelieved to be brutal, sadistic and strong violence. Several noted in particular the focus onknife threat and violence perpetuated by the Joker character. Some complaints also linked thecontent of the film to concerns about knife crime. Everyone who contacts the BBFC gets apersonal reply. But it is important to set the complaints in the context of the number ofpeople who saw the film. In the case of The Dark Knight the 200 plus complaints are a tinyproportion of the five million people plus who saw it in the first two weeks after it opened.The introduction of the 12A classification demonstrates that the BBFC have become morecareful with childrens viewing, but the introduction of the R18 legalises forms ofpornography that were previously banned completely.Q3. Prepare a 5 slide powerpoint explaining what you think of the 12A rating. Whatare your opinions on the debate surrounding film classification in this country? UseSpiderman and The Dark Knight as a starting point.Look at the example of Juno alsofrom 2008 (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/case-studies/juno-0) and the definition of 12 and 12Aratings (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/12a-and-12) Why is the rating soimportant? 87
  • 11. Marketing a FilmMaking an audience aware - The Unique Selling PointAs with any product, the potential buyer (the audience) needs to know that a film is availableand is coming to their local cinema. Not only do they have to know about the film, they alsohave to be persuaded to want to go and see it.In starting to plan a marketing campaign for afilm, the distribution company has to decidehow it will present the film to the potentialaudience -they will look for the unique sellingpoint (USP). If, for example, a distributor ishandling a science fiction film, they will need tolook for the aspect of the film which sets it asidefrom other science fiction films.Normally, in deciding what theUSP of a film is,the distributor will first of all look at thestoryline to see how this differs from other filmsand what the key elements of the story are.Thisis vitally important as the key storyline elementswill influence the way that the visual campaign -posters, trailers etc. - is put together.After this they will look at such things as stars,special effects and director to see how these canbe incorporated within the campaign.Once theUSP of the film has been decided on, thedistributor will begin to develop the marketingcampaign and set their overall budget.The budget spent on distributing a film is known as the Print and Advertising (P & A)budget. The P & A comprises the cost of prints, advertising, publicity and promotions and isset at around 40% of the estimated box-office income. The P & A budget is set by assessingthe potential box-office income of the film. The distributor will take into account the lastpicture the star of the film has appeared in, which gives them an idea of the popularity of thestar. For example, in setting the P & A budget for a film starring George Clooney, the boxoffice of his last film will be used as a guide for the estimated box office of his next film.Films which do not feature well-known stars could have greatly reduced box-office takingsand therefore a smaller amount will be estimated in the P & A budget.However, some films defy this logic. Trainspotting (1996) was a case in point. It did notfeature any stars and yet the film managed to capture the publics imagination. The marketingcampaign, combined with the simultaneous release of the soundtrack and book, meant thatthe film became a major box-office successattracting a wide audience in both the UK and theUS.Even though a film may have big stars with vast amounts of money spent on marketing it,there is no guarantee that the film will recoup the money invested. As William Goldman, 88
  • 12. author of Adventures in the Screen Trade said "in the film industry nobody knowsanything." In the end, it is up to the audience to decide whether a film is a success or not.Very few films make a profit at the box office; this does not mean that they make a loss, butthat they make their money in pre-sales deals with television and DVD companies.A marketing campaign is divided into three areas: 1. Advertising 2. Publicity 3. PromotionsThe marketing campaign is also divided into above-the-line and below-the-line costs.Above-the-line costsHere, the above-the-line costs are for advertising. This is where the distributor pays a certainamount of money to buy advertising space. They pay for a slot on television or radio, or buyadvertising space in newspapers or magazines, and know what they are getting for theirmoney. They know the size of the advert, when and where it will be placed and roughly howmany people are expected to see it.Below-the-line costsPublicity and promotions are below-the-line costs. Publicity is where money is spent onbringing stars in from the United States for example. By doing so the distributor hopes to getgood coverage in the media, but its not guaranteed. Its all about taking a risk and hoping thegamble pays off. Promotions are set up with another company (e.g. a tie in with McDonalds)to promote the film to a wider audience.The trailerThe trailer often plays in the cinema around six weeks before the release of a film andcontinues to play until the picture opens in the cinema. The trailer aims to raise audienceawareness of a film by logging the film title in their minds. It gives an overall impression ofthe film to its potential audience, making sure that the audience is aware of the stars —particularly where their names will help to sell the picture. It should create the desire to seethe film when it finally opens. Trailers tend to use a combination of footage from the film,graphics and voice-over to generate curiosity.Teaser trailers might also be used to whet the appetite of the audience in the same way as ateaser poster. Lasting approximately 30 seconds, these are shorter than the main trailer andplay in the cinema for anything up to six months before a film opens. However, it isimportant to understand that cinema advertising will only reach a cinema-going audience. Itis always important to make as many people as possible aware that a film is coming and soother audiences must also be reached.Media advertisingThe distributor will want to buy advertising space in as many different media as isappropriate both for the film and its P & A budget.The media normally available arenewspapers, magazines, televisionand radio. Internet websites are also set up to announce thearrival of a film.The form of the advertising in each medium must tie in with the overallcampaign. Thus, newspaper advertising will be based on the campaign poster, whilst 89
  • 13. television advertising will have elements of the cinema trailer in it.What is vital is that theright media outlet is chosen for the film. Research will already have shown who the targetaudience for a film is. It is up to the distributor to decide which would be the bestnewspapers, magazines, slots on television and radio to select in order to reach that audience.Extensive use is made of radio advertising on regional commercial radio stations. Radio is apowerful medium, and reinforces the message of the poster and trailer, particularly if the filmhas a strong soundtrack.Radio advertising is considerably cheaper than television, and isusually used for mainstream films. Radio stations which target a particular audience, such asa jazz station or a classical station, might be appropriate for the advertising of specialistfilms. Adverts themselves consist of music from the film and narrative voice-over detailingthe cinema and release date.Preview screeningsThe general public are invited to a preview screening of the film in the hope that they willenjoy it, and more importantly, that they will recommend it to friends. Following a previewscreening a questionnaire like the one opposite is handed out which the audience is expectedto complete in return for their free ticket to see the film.These preview screenings, sometimes also called talker screenings, start the process of wordof mouth publicity, with audience members telling their friends and contacts about the film.The completed questionnaire also provides the distributor with information about theaudiences enjoyment of the film, which will affect the way the film is sold to the public.PublicityPublicity involves gaining attention for the film in the media - newspapers, magazines,television and radio - without paying for the space. Some distributors employ independentcompanies who specialise in this area, known as PR companies, short for Public Relations.Working in this area involves dealing with national and regional journalists, keeping theminformed about the film using the publicity tools outlined in the following pages.Althoughthe distributor will have to spend money on publicity, the amount of coverage that could begained will probably far outweigh in value the amount of money spent.Using Film Festivals PR strategies will vary hugely between different films - the most important thing is to make sure that the strategy is appropriate for each particular film. Film festivals can be a very effective way of raising awareness of a film, but they must be used carefully - for example, there’s rarely any logic in showcasing a film at the Toronto Film Festival if you do not already have a US distribution deal in place because the PR impact achieved at Toronto throughout North America will have been dissipated by the time the film is eventually released some months later. 90
  • 14. Obviously, there are exceptions that prove the rule, films that have created a feeding frenzyat Sundance or Toronto that are then nurtured and fully exploited by the winning distributor.Cannes remains the most important international event, particularly for independent films,although Venice and Berlin can be better platforms on occasion. Cannes is the most difficultmarketplace in which to create any noise because there are so many other films jostling forpress attention at the same time. At any festival, a priority is to give the press as manychances as possible to see the film in order to stoke their interest and open up otheropportunities for interviews. It can often be advantageous to pre-screen films (on anembargoed basis) prior to their Festival screenings to build up awareness and get the mediaschedules partially filled up in advance of the Festival.If there are stars attending the festival in support of the film, then clearly it is important thatthe press are given access to them - but bear in mind that, in Cannes, there may be 5000accredited media either chasing or needing persuading to conduct an interview. Somehowtheir needs have to be satisfied within 10, 20 or, if you are lucky, 30 working hours fromeach of a small number of stars, each of whom may be spending fewer than 3 days at theFestival. PR Agencies spend a lot of time nurturing their relationships with the key mediarepresentatives, so that they can increase the chances of winning their attention when it isbeing stretched across so many competing priorities.PR BudgetsVery often, PR is over-looked when producers are putting budgets together and, even if thereis an allowance made for this expense, it is usually too small. A typical budget for unitpublicity might be around £10 - £15,000 on a £3-5 million film. There also need to beallowances for photography, Electronic press kits (EPKs) and media visits.The Press KitPress kits are sent to journalists all over the country to give them information aboutforthcoming films. They are one of the basic tools of any publicity department. Kits includea set of authorised stills to be printed in newspapers and magazines, cast and crew credits,production notes, biographies and filmographies of the stars, director and producer.EPKs arealso available to journalists working in television and contain many of the same items as thewritten kits but with the addition of selected video clips and interviews for television. Audioclips are also made available for radio.Star Tours & Press JunketsTouring a star of a film is a costly business, but one that usually pays dividends. Stars arebrought into the country at the distributors expense, which means paying for flights, travel(usually a chauffeur driven car), hotels, meals, a daily spending allowance andentertainment.The distributor plans the tours down to the last hour, making good use of theirstars time and carefully scheduling interviews to make sure that a spread of media arecovered, and that publications or television programmes with similar audiences do not clash.Newspapers with a similar readership, and television programmes will want exclusivity of astar.For radio broadcasts, tapes of interviews are usually syndicated: for maximum publicity oneradio interview is recorded with a star or director and then sent to local radio stations on a 91
  • 15. tape ready for immediate broadcast. As with the press and with television, interviews of thiskind provide good material for a radio show as well as free publicity for the film.Where stars are unable to travel, perhaps because of other filming commitments, a pressjunket will be arranged. Selected journalists are taken, at the distributors expense, to alocation convenient to the star for a round-the-table interview with them.The Press ScreeningBefore a film is released, the press who are reviewing the film will be invited to a specialscreening which will encourage the spread of word of mouth recommendations among themedia.Gala premieresFor high profile films, the release might be preceded by a Royal or Charity Film Premiere.These premieres are prestigious evenings where the stars, cast, crew and celebrity guests areinvited to a special screening of the film a few days in advance of its release. The media arealso invited to secure coverage of the event and increase public awareness of the film.The benefit of a film premiere for the distributor is that this will usually gain a great deal ofmedia attention. It is very expensive to organise a premiere and it is only filmswith larger marketing budgets that can afford to do this. A large cinema is hired and a post-screening party is organised. We are all familiar with pictures in the newspaper or shots ontelevision of stars arriving at these events, usually in formal evening wear. The guests arriveat the cinema in chauffeur driven cars, and members of the public often turn out to see thearrival of these celebrities, all helping to make the premiere a "special occasion". Theseevents are not easily accessible to the public: tickets are extremely difficult to obtain, withthose that are sold raising money for a selected charity. The publicity gained for the film,including newspaper editorials and news items is better than any advertising. 92
  • 16. Screening programmesTo build on awareness for a film, screenings are organised prior to the release of the film inconjunction with a media outlet which will appeal to the target audience. An example of thiswould be the screening programmes organised through T4. These are free screenings withtickets obtained by calling a hotline number advertised on the television screen.Merchandise and Promotion CampaignsEver since the promotional campaign surrounding the release of Star Wars in 1977, moviemerchandise has become an important part of film marketing.The merchandising deals thatcan be made from a potential blockbuster are very lucrative, and in some cases can evennecessitate the setting up of a department which deals solely with merchandising producedfor the companys films. Merchandising has become a sophisticated, well-oiled department –toys, clothes and gimmicks such as pencil cases and lunch boxes are now commonplace.Promotions give added awareness to a film and help reinforce its title. They tend to take theform of joint involvement with another party, known as the third party, who will gain fromtheir involvement with the film, for example, a tie in with Pizza Hut or McDonalds.The BiggestSeller? Call it Word of mouth, call it buzz, call it chatter…Research has proved that the key factor which will get audiences in to see a film issomething which cannot be bought - the personal recommendation of a friend oracquaintance who has seen the film. It is word of mouth that really gets audiences intocinemas. This explains why the opening weekend of a films release is so important.Whatever the advertising spend or however good the publicity - it is the audiences verdictwhich will make or break a film.Release PatternsAn important decision for the distributor is how many screens to open the movie on. Thisdepends largely on the results expected for the film but may also be influenced by the wishto attract as big an audience in the first week as possible to help the film retain its screens forsubsequent weeks. (Conversely, a higher screen average from fewer screens can also help topersuade exhibitors to keep a film in play even if its overall Box Office is not as high assome competitors). The different types of release that might be considered are: Approx. number of screens inthe UKPlatform: 15Limited: 150Wide: 300Saturation: 600+ 93
  • 17. There are basically three types of release in the UK:SaturationClick on the link to discover what films being released this week are being given whatcoverage…(http://www.launchingfilms.com/release-schedule)A film that literally saturates the country in terms of number of prints and national publicity, i.e.The Lord Of The Ringsand The Hobbit series, the Harry Potter series, Spidermansequels,Avengers Assemble and so on. These are usually films backed by the major Hollywood studios and will have had an extremely large publicity and production budget behind them. There will also be advertising tie-ins to high street companies andmerchandising spin-offs such as computer games, books, magazines and a TV Making of ... documentary.The films will also have almost as much publicity when they are released on DVD .In terms of screenings, films like Avengers Assemblewill be shown up to 12-15times a day at most multiplexes even three or four weeks after their release. Posters will be on key billboard and bus shelters sites, and recognisable images will usually feature on magazine covers with saturation coverage inside. In Empirefor example, each month the cover and dozens of inside pages are given over to one new blockbuster film in terms of articles, reviews, interviews and adverts. For example, inEmpiresJuly 1999 issue, over 50 % of the pages in the magazine featured articles, adverts andinterviews about Star Wars Episode III, The Phantom MenaceThe number of prints for a saturation release can range from 600-800 and will screen at all themajor cinema chains (Odeon, UCI, UGC, Warners), as well as high street commercialindependents such as City Screen sites, opening across the country on the same day. It is nowusual for the biggest films to have 1 or 2days of preview screenings before theFriday opening.Wide release (Key Cities)This is still a large release, but not on the same scale as the blockbusters. There will usuallybe around 300 prints. These titles are also known as crossover films, as they may alsoscreen at subsidised independent cinemas as well as multiplexes. The film may open inLondon, gradually spreading across the country over the next few weeks.Limited release (London only)This is a small scale release, around 10-20 prints. Titles are usually known as art house orspecialised films and will play in the Regional Film Theatres (RFTs), the National FilmTheatre in London and some City Screen sites. Films will tend to be foreign language titles, 94
  • 18. re-released classics, small independent English language titles. Some films on a Platformrelease may have as little as 4 or 5 prints, and if its a film touring as part of a festival (i.e. TheLondon Film Festival on Tour), only one print may be available.CostsCinemas will pay distributors a percentage of net box office, which is usually between 35-60% but may be higher for some multiplex chains for franchises such as James Bond, HarryPotter, The Lord of the Rings, etc. In the case of smaller cinemas that may get the film on asecond run or may screen a classic repertory title, the rental fee may be around 25-30 %.Universal Pictures International claimed the crown as the UKs No. 1 distributor in 2008 on the back of a slew of hits, the biggest of them Mamma Mia! which secured a whopping £67.9 million alone. UPI, Universals overseas distribution arm, took £176.6 million for the year, an18.5% market share. Sony’s best boxoffice showing was Quantum of Solace which bonded with audiences to the tune of £50.7 million. January 13, 2009Throughout the marketing campaign the distributor will be concerned about the effectivenessof their pre-release film advertising and publicity. Private companies are employed toconduct the audience research which can take a number of forms:Audience trackingAt regular intervals leading up to the release of a film and during its first weeks of play, arandom selection of the public will be interviewed over the phone or on the street by aresearch company. This is known as tracking. People are asked whether they have heard ofthe film, whether they intend to see it or, if they have seen it, whether they enjoyed it. Thistype of information can then be used by the distributors to assess the effectiveness of theirmarketing campaign. If there are any serious problems, for example, the audience does notknow that the film is coming, then they can change the emphasis of the campaign.After the Cinema Release…DVD Distribution DealsFilm distributors take an average of 75% of consumerspend from retail DVD activity compared to about 25 -33% from rental activity (hence their keenness to get titlesinto the sell-through market as quickly as possible). A billion DVDs have been sold in the U.K. since the format launched less than a decade ago, according to the British Video Association. The bestselling DVD ever in the U.K. is Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, which has soldalmost five million units. The two sequels -- The Two Towers and Return of the King -- have also proved home hits,coming in second and fourth respectively in the all-time DVD sales chart. The DVD one billion mark was reached seven years quicker than it took the same number of VHS units to fly off shelves. (Variety June 2007)Television DealsPay per View: the Pay TV service retains about 40 to 50% of the viewers fee, recoups the 95
  • 19. distributors advance and pays any balance to the distributor. The distributor usually retainsaround 25 to 35% in commission.Subscription TV: The TV operator pays a fixed fee to the distributor (of £50k to £1.2m)which usually depends on the films performance at the Box Office.The distributor takesbetween 25 and 35% commission with the balance to the producer / financier / agent.Free TV: the fee paid by the broadcaster usually depends on the films Box Officeperformance. The distributor takes percentage fees of between 25 and 50% in the US and 20- 40% in the Rest of the World, with the balance to the producers.The Film Industry and DVDsIn 2002 the worldwide Home Entertainment business, encompassing video and DVD, wasworth $46 billion dollars globall, which made it as valuable as the entire music industry.Some $15.9 billion (35%) of this total was accounted for by the international market(including the UK), with the US accounting for the other $30 million. It is expected to growto $62 billion by 2006.The key international markets for DVD the UK, Japan, France and Germany which betweenthem account for more than 60% of international revenues and reflects the higher penetrationof sales of DVD players in these territories: in the UK in 2003 44% of households have DVDplayers (or other hardware that can play DVDs) and this is set to rise to 114% by 2006 - ie.an average of more than one player per household.The Home Entertainment business is now worth twice as much to the studios as their cinemabusiness although commercial success at the Box Office is still crucial to making money inDVD sales.The rental proportion of this market in 2002 was around 30% and this is expected to fall to20% by 2006. The studios are keen to continue to support the rental business because itbrings them higher margins than retail, but it does appear now to be in decline. In the UK themarket is fragmented, with one major player (Blockbuster) generally dominating the largenumber of smaller outlets but Blockbuster is in decline. The rental window is alreadyclosing, with DVD releases happening nearer and nearer to the rental release date, and in anincreasing number of instances, the studios are going day and date with retail and rental. The Home Entertainment market is expected to continue to achieve dramatic growth over the next few years fuelled by the rise of VOD. Pressure on retail prices, however, will mean that the total value of the business may eventually start to fall even though sales volumes will still be growing. Windows of exploitation will close over time in an effort to ward off the impact of piracy and to improve cash flows to the studios. By 2008, every household in the UK will have at least 1DVD player. Good extra features are becoming increasingly important as a means of selling DVDs and maintaining margins. 96
  • 20. Issues for DVDs in the early 21st CenturyWindows of Exploitation - In 2001, the average timetable for roll out of a film fromtheatrical release to free television was around 30 months. In 2008, this has shrunk to as littleas 20 months. All other revenue opportunities have shrunk: Video Rental - 2001: 6 months 2008: 4 months Video Retail - 2001: 12 months 2008: 4-8 months Pay per View - 2001: 18 months 2008: 7-12 months Pay TV - 2001: 24 months 2008: 10-18 monthsThis change in pattern is partly to combat the effects of piracy which is proving to be a hugeproblem in certain territories, but also to boost the studios cash flow by reducing the amountof time it takes for them to see revenues from further along the value chain.‘Fast Burn’ Sales - 50% of new DVD sales are generated in the first month of release.Getting the in-store point of sale materials and displays right is crucial to the studios if theywant to maximise sales of their top titles.Release Days - Traditionally new videos and DVDs have been released on a Monday.Distributors are now looking to move key releases to a Thursday or Friday to make best useof their major marketing campaigns immediately before the heaviest buying days (50% ofDVD sales take place on Friday and Saturday).Pricing - DVD retail prices are falling much faster than was the case with CDs. In the UK,CD prices fell 13% in the first 6 years after their introduction; DVD prices have fallen by19% in just three years. This is the result of some aggressive market by the majors who havepriced very aggressively to boost sales and consumer behaviour: research suggests that a40% drop in retail price can lead to a 3,4 or 5 times lift in unit sales.To maintain their profits,the studios will have to reduce their costs of sales by reducing the additional cost ofmarketing DVDs by reducing the gap between cinema and DVD release - or develop morepremium priced products by improving the extras supplied on the disc.DVD Extras - Extra features on DVDs are becoming increasingly important to differentiateproducts in the market and to generate premium pricing. Reviews of DVDs often focus onthe extras and consumers are increasingly expecting them - research has shown that thepresence of good quality extras increases the consumers intention to buy the disc. To ensuretop quality extras, it is essential to plan their content at the films pre-production stage andget endorsement for them from the producer and director of the film. Additional footagemight need to be shot on set or produced during post-production. Finished bonus materialneeds to be delivered before the films theatrical release so that it can be factored into theDVDs release schedule.Piracy - The MPAA estimates that piracy is currently running at 20% of the total DVDmarket and is likely to get worse with the increased domestic take up of broadband. Thestudios are considering technical solutions to help combat this problem but their mainweapon may be closing exploitation windows to reduce the time available for pirated copiesto circulate.Marketing - Mobile Phone Campaigns -There are 290 million mobile phone users in Europe- 100 million of whom are under 25. This makes text-based campaigns ideal for movies that 97
  • 21. are aimed at the younger market.Online Campaigns- People spend approximately twice asmuch time online each day as they do reading a newspaper. £7 billion of transactions arecarried out on the internet each year (excluding pornography) and DVDs are the mostpopular item purchased online. Many DVD buyers do their research online even if they buythrough traditional outlets.And in the future…Digital Delivery – VODThere is little doubt that at somepoint in the future, all films willbe distributed and screeneddigitally. The big question iswhen this revolution will takeplace. The digital roll-out willinvolve a huge capital investmentand, although the benefits will beenjoyed by both exhibitors anddistributors, it is not yet clearwho will pay for the necessaryinvestment. There are also stillissues to be resolved oversecurity - with piracy an increasing problem, the transmission mechanism for the digitaloutput will need to be 100% secure. The different methods of transmission available -satellite, cable and data file - will have to be assessed against this criterion but also for theirease of delivery and relative costs.Day and Date DistributionWith the various exploitation windows closing, there is an increasing trend towards filmsbeing released internationally on the same day as (or close to) their North American release.This has the advantages of reducing the opportunities for piracy; enabling marketingcampaigns from the US to roll over into other territories; and allowing earlier exploitation ofother windows. On the other hand, day and date releasing requires more prints and meansthat marketing spend must be committed internationally before the studio knows how thefilm has played in the US. It also reduces the time that the distributors have for sorting outdubbing, classification and other issues in each territory and makes it less likely that thetalent will be available to promote it in as many markets. In practice, decisions on releasepattern will continue to be taken on a film by film basis, with release dates generally movingcloser to the initial US release. 98
  • 22. Case Study – The Marketing of Cloverfield (2008) Constructed specifically as a monster movie for the YouTube generation’, Cloverfield built a viral marketing campaign - and its own audience - through an enigmatic teaser-trailer, word of mouth and a widget. Its innovative uses of an alternative reality games and videocam techniques involve audiences in new and interactive ways. With a very low production budget in Hollywood terms (£15m), Cloverfield became an instant financial success making £22 million in its opening weekend. It is a recent example of the power of viral marketing (sometimes called user- generated marketing) to create audience interest before a films release and, most importantly, to get people into the cinema. Whether or not Cloverfield is a good film is up to you to decide (critics are divided); but it stands asa great example of the way modern marketers are using a range of methods to attempt toreach their audience and sell a film.The films media language choice of an eye-witness presentation of the story using a hand-held camera acts as a representation of our current technological age. Cloverfields marketingalso makes use of recent developments in technology and changes in audience activity andbehaviour to create and sustain interest. The director (Matt Reeves) called the film amonster movie for the YouTube generation indicating that the producers of this film werespecifically aware that their target audience were Internet-literate young people. It is thesepeople who have been the targets for the marketing campaign and have also been encouragedto be a part of it.The first glimpse – Teaser TrailerThe first anyone knew of the film was a teaser trailer shown before the 2007 summerblockbuster Transformers. The trailer did not name the film and only gave a release dateafter showing glimpses of an apparently home-made video of New York being attackedbysomething, culminating in the shocking image of the head of the Statue of Libertycrashing through a New York street. By creating memorable images and using anunconventional method to present the events, the filmmakers were using a tried-andtestedmarketing device, the creation of enigma mystery. Creating audience curiosity is a great wayto generate interest in a product. Those who saw the trailer would have been left wonderingwhat they had just seen: What genre was the film alluding to (Sci-Fi/Disaster/Monster)?Why was the footage they had been shown more like their own home-movies rather than aslick Hollywood production? 99
  • 23. Target audienceThe trailers placement gives an indication of the target audience, one which is a difficultmarket for advertisers at the moment: teens and, more specifically, young adults. Thesegroups are becoming hard to reach for advertisers who rely on conventional methods.Young adults tend not to watch TV on a predictable, regular basis and often have access tomulti-channel cable television which fragments the audience across a range of channels.Devices like Sky+ mean they can record television programmes, watch them when theychoose and fast-forward through any advertising. Alternative methods of viewing televisionprogrammes also make this audience hard to find. On demand. downloads and YouTubesplit the audience further and this is the generation that is likely to wait to buy televisionprogrammes and films on DVD rather than watch them in traditional settings surrounded byadvertising.Alternative advertising methods were needed if Cloverfield was going to be able to attractthe attention of the group of people who could be used to help make the film a success in thecinema. A specialised online and computer savvy audience was specifically targeted as theirinteraction with the marketing was vital in the film generating interest from another valuableaudience group, the mainstream movie-goer. The story of Cloverfields marketing showshow the online audience was used to create a buzz about the film to support a moretraditional marketing campaign.Building the campaignThe teaser trailer provided one piece of important information, the name of the producer JJAbrams. This would have created a number of genre expectations. Abrams is the creator ofAlias and Lost and so the audience could expect an element of Sci-Fi/Horror within this filmand might anticipate a narrative that was complex, fragmented and laden with clues ratherthan explanations. Web searches after the teaser trailer led the audience to a website namedonly as the date of the films release (www.1-08-08.com). This site slowly released photoswhich were time and date stamped to allow the audience to build up chronological glimpsesinto the narrative of the film. 100
  • 24. Building ‘buzz’ and ‘chatter’ on the NetThe enigma and the slow release of information were both constructed to encouragediscussion online in blogs, social networks and chat rooms, which was how the realmarketing took place via word of mouth. Web-chatter was heightened on the release of aposter showing a decapitated Statue of Liberty, a devastated New York and the release of asecond, more detailed trailer. Still maintaining the mystery, the trailers exposition containeda chilling geographical marker identifying the location of events to be in the area formallyknown as Central Park. For the first time the films title was identified and the trailer wasreleased online along with an official movie website (www.cloverfieldmovie.com) whicheventually provided links to MySpace and Facebook pages created by some of thecharacters from the film. These regularly updated pages created a real-time story whichshowed the characters moving towards the eventful night and provided a back-story to thefilm itself. The MySpace blog was where the films protagonist announced he was moving toJapan to take a new job at Slusho!, a Japanese soft drinks company, which explains why thefilm begins with a going away party.In addition a widget was available for download from the website. This piece of softwarecould be attached to MySpace pages, blogs etc. and contained the first five minutes of thefilm with an introduction by JJ Abrams. To download and use the widget people needed toregister their contact details.This registration immediately entered people into a competition based on who managed todistribute the widget to the most people; a direct encouragement of more word of mouthmarketing.They did the traditional stuff too…Adverts were also sent to mobile phones, traditional posters and TV slots were also used andthe culmination of all these events was an increasing public and mainstream press awarenessof the film. The campaign was creating a deep curiosity as so much information had beenheld back and the only way for the audience to gain answers to the questions the marketingraised was to go to the cinema to see the film. As the character Hud said in the second trailer, 101
  • 25. with this much interest it was almost inevitable that people are gonna want to know how itall went down.But thats not all... Parallel to this campaign, a related story was being told through an ARG. The ARG centred around a fictional Japanese company called Tagruato and its subsidiary Slusho! and only a few direct connections were made to the Cloverfield plot. Home pages for Slusho! andTagruato were put online. The former ran a competition for audience members to create adverts for the frozen soft drink whose USP was its addictive nature (You cant drink just six) and the happiness it would bring its consumer. (Remember,Slusho! was the company the character Rob from the film was taking a jobwith.)http://www.slusho.jp/ Vocab - ARG — alternative reality game A set of interlinked sources, mostly websites, along with voicemails, scavenger hunts and even novels, which shed light on a hidden story. ARGs challenge players to make connections and solve puzzles to piece together a distributed narrativeTagruatos corporate homepage looks like a conventional business website — even down toexperiencing hacks by eco-terrorists It appeared that Slushos key ingredient, seabed nectar,might not be entirely safe. The site reported that a drilling rig in the Atlantic Ocean had beenmysteriously destroyed.TV reports based on mobile phone footage showed huge chunks ofdebris being hurled from the sinking rig although there was no explanation for thisphenomenon. Pictures from the scene were added to www.1-01-08.com.Theres more...A Manhattan couple Jamieand Teddy set up a websiteto post video-blogs to stayin touch after Teddy hadgone to Japan to work forTagruato. Jamie assumedshe had been dumped asshe hadnt heard fromTeddy for over a monthwhen she received apackage containing aTagurato baseball cap,something wrapped in tin-foil (which she wasinstructed not to eat) and arecorded message indicating Teddy was in some sort of trouble. Interpreting this as a sick 102
  • 26. practical joke, she assumed he had a new skanky girlfriend and decided to eat the gooeyproduct she received. Almost immediately she appears to become extremely intoxicated.Jamie makes a brief appearance in Cloverfield where the audience can glimpse her passedout on the sofa at Robs leaving do in the opening scene of the film.Marketing + movie = more mysteryThe addition of a number of back stories to the Cloverfield tale, without giving clear ideas ofcause and effect encourages the audience to attempt to build a story for themselves; first ofall to attempt to make sense of the promotional material and, after watching the film, tosupplement the limited information provided by the films highly restricted narration.The marketing has created aCloverfield universe bigger than the events of the 90-minutefilm, but has held back on providing enough information to give resolution to all themysteries. The films story is told from the point of view of people who (just like the targetaudience) have very little information as to what is occurring around them; the charactersjust catch snippets of information in news reports and in conversations with the military (justlike the audience).The viral marketing, the ARG and then the video-cam style presentation all enhanceaudience identification with the characters and this heightens the shocking nature of theevents we witness with them in the film. The desire to make sense of the events unfoldingwithin the film has been played on for both the interactive and mainstream audience but thefilmmakers are still holding back vital pieces of information: What does Slusho! have to dowith all of this? Where did the monster come from? Do the military manage to destroy themonster? Do any of the characters from the film survive?Cloverfield 2?Could the actual film Cloverfield be just another element in a complex marketing campaign?Is the film an expensive advert for yet another product still to be made? There are onlinerumours already about a Cloverfield 2 with theories ranging from the sequel being told fromanother victims perspective (plenty of people can be seen filming events in the film) or froma military or reporters point of view. Maybe Cloverfield 2 will be a standard blockbustermovie with omniscient narration and a solid resolution. At this point the truth is irrelevant.What is important is that people are talking about a potential second film and so the viralcampaign has already begun.Q4. Why do you think Cloverfield was such a successful movie? In your opinion whatwas particularly attractive about its marketing campaign. Go to the websites listed inthe case study to see if they’re still live.Film likes Wedding Video, Paranormal Activityand End of Watch have used the ‘found-footage’ format more recently? How have theybeen marketed? Do you think this format is beginning to become ‘tired’? 103
  • 27. Film and the Audience of TomorrowDanah Boyd Cannes Film Festival Opening Speech - May 16th 2007IntroductionFilm has gone digital. The digitization of film takes place at multiple levels, but mostnoticeably: production, distribution and consumption. 1. Production: What cameras you use, how you do lighting, special effects, storage of content, editing of content, etc. 2. Distribution: Advertising your film, DVD culture, download culture. 3. Consumption: remix, sharing, clipping culture.At each of these three levels, there are stages to how technology affects practice.The first stage is TRANSLATION. Old practices are kept intact and imported into thenew medium. Many of you are familiar with this - your cameras went digital but they stilllooked and acted like cameras... for the most part.The second stage is LOCALIZATION. People realize that there are much more effectiveand efficient ways of utilizing the technology to reach a desired end goal. Practices aremodified to take advantage of the technology, usually to make things more efficient. At thesame time, these practices feel quite similar to the translated ones. Tickets for films can bebought online and printed. People can sign up to be notified by email when a film is released.The third stage is CO-OPTION. This is the stage when new practices emerge that arecompletely incomprehensible to those who were fluent in the previous culture of film. Youcan see this in visual effects where things like CGI were impossible without digitization, butmore radical practices have to do with how viewers consume, share, and mess with film.Think REMIX. It is easy to be terrified of co-option because much of what emerges seemsto go against what was typical before.Conclusions – the future of Digital Rights Management (DRM)Film is not disappearing, but the Internet is here to stay. Its easy to play ostrich and pretendnothing is changing, but the fact is that the Internet is changing many things includingthefilmaudience. When we talk about how how audiences have changed these are four key areasthat help define them: 1. They are Persistent. 2. They expect searchability 3. They expect replicability 4. They are invisibleFilm can always be turned into video, regardless of what DRM you choose to use. Sure,DRM makes it harder, but when theres a will, theres always a way and you lose yourviewers trust in the process if you choose to make their lives more difficult. As we saw a fewweeks ago with the HD-DVD hack, once information is out there, theres no bringing it back.Once its digital, it can be copied and reformatted to make searching difficult. Its much faster 104
  • 28. to copy than it is to clean up copies, for better and for worse. DRM will never protect filmbut it will alienate consumers. DRM does slow the flow of content, which can benefit bigblockbusters but makes independent film even more obscure. For example, theres no pointin crippling a trailer with flash DRM. Trailers are advertisements. Put it up on YouTube,Revver, MySpace, everywhere you can think of... provide the code for people to copy/pasteyour trailer into their blogs and MySpaces. If people like it and want to pass it on, encouragethem! Copy/paste! The more people who hear about your film, the better.I bring up DRM because as we think of the audiences of tomorrow, we need to think of waysto engage them, not alienate and control them. Theres a lot of creativity in this room. Whyput it into trying to maintain status quo rather than taking things to the next level?By and large, we treat the Internet as another broadcast medium where you push content atpeople. In other words, were still aiming to localize rather than to co-opt. A better way ofconceiving it is as a public space where people want to pull content in to personalize it,identify with it, and share it. It is no secret that were not yet sure how to monetize thispractice, but efforts to stop it are like trying to build gigantic walls after planes wereinvented.The audience of tomorrow is online. Theyre consuming video; they want to beconsuming film. Theres unbelievable room for innovation and creativity in this space. Thetechnology is not stable and it never will be stable. Successful filmmakers will need to payattention to the dynamics and optimize their strategies accordingly. We all know that agilityin the presence of challenges results in good art.So, in conclusion, here are four things to remember: Youth are online to hang out with friends... they use media to jockey for status and socialize with their peers. Youth do not and will not consume media whole in a passive way..the more they are able, the deeper they were engage. This means remix, chopping it and sharing it. Building walls to stop deep engagement scares off fans and never actually closes the loophole. It is time for the film industry to innovate rather than trying to control. Many new opportunities lie ahead.Q5. To what extent do you agree with the statement that the audience of tomorrow isonline? What examples from your own consumption of films and media lead youtowards the internet? Write a paragraph answering each of these questions. 105