Issues Raised By Media OwnershipPresentation Transcript
Issues Raised by Media Ownership
What is media ownership? All “media” whether it is film, music, or print is owned by a company. They hold the “rights” to publish, distribute and manipulate their work. For example: Warner Bros own DC Comics and therefore own the “rights” to all of the characters in the “DC universe”
Key Issues For a question on “issues raised by media ownership” you will primarily write about the following key areas: Piracy The dominance of Hollywood over the industry The destruction of the UK Film Council
Piracy Piracy – the illegal distribution of media without the permission of its owner. E.g. Downloading, Pirate DVDs Advances in digital technology (see digital cinema notes) have made piracy easier, cheaper and has improved the quality of the content. Electronic files can be leaked in advance of a films release. The internet allows pirate material to be distributed all over the world very quickly
Piracy Digital cameras and sound equipment used in cinemas to record pirate copies of a film have improved greatly in quality This technology is now far cheaper and easier to use.
Combating Piracy Digital technology has allowed films to be released simultaneously across the world. Previously the delay in films reaching the UK from America meant that piracy was a more popular option. Digital encryption means that films can be securely distributed. The rise in digital film production and exhibition has paved the way for 3D cinema. 3D cinema is currently more difficult to “pirate”. It can not be filmed effectively in cinemas. The cost of watching good quality 3D material at home currently means mass audiences aren’t yet interested.
Hollywood – the big issue Production companies like Warner Brothers, Paramount and MGM are multi million pound industries. This enables them to dominate the international film industry as they are able to release lots of titles and have vast amounts of money to market and distribute them. They are businesses that are interested in making money, hence they concentrate their efforts in to endless sequels
What does this mean for audiences? Limited choice in cinemas Endless sequels Poor quality films A dying British industry
Tackling Hollywood The number of America films shown at Odeon or VUE is always far greater than the number of British independent films beings shown. Organisations like the UK Film Council have been forced to act in recent years to challenge this problem. Write a paragraph about one scheme introduced by the UK Film Council to help tackle Hollywood
Films helped by the Film Council Vera Drake, The Last King of Scotland, My Summer of Love, Bend it Like Beckham, Fish Tank, Adulthood, London to Brighton, Nowhere Boy, How to loose friends and Alienate People, This Is England, Happy-Go-Lucky For everyone £1 of lottery money invested, British films are reckoned to generate £5 at the box office.
UK Film Council axed! The UK Film Council is essential to film-making in the UK. Put simply, if it wasn’t for the UK Film Council, many projects (films) wouldn't exist Along with BBC Films and Film4, the Film Council is the main port of call for film makers trying to get feature films off the ground, especially if those films are outside the mainstream. In 2010 the government announced that the scheme was going to be axed.
The Kings Speech Would not have been possible without the support of the UK Film Council. Both Film 4 and the BBC turned it down. Head of the UK Film Council's Film Fund, said "The rise of The King's Speech from a British independent film to a worldwide commercial and critical phenomenon is a huge testament to the creators…It's a magnificent final chapter for the UK Film Council.“ The film won 4 Oscars, including Best Picture.
FACT FILE: THE KING’S SPEECH Directed by Tom Hooper Released 2010 Starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Geoffrey Rush Budget: £10,000,000 The Weinstein Company, Alliance Films, Paramount Pictures
CRITICAL SUCCESS Nominated for seven Golden Globes Nominated for fourteen BAFTAs Nominated for twelve Academy Awards Won four Oscars for, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay
FINANCIAL SUCCESS In the UK it took £3,510,000 from 395 cinemas on the opening weekend. In the US it made $355,450 in four screens, It was then widened into 700 screens and then 1,543 The film has made $40 million in profit from the theatrical release alone. Compare these figure to those of Shifty
FINANCIAL SUCCESS: SHIFTY Opening weekend 51 prints – took £61,000 After 3 weeks down to 12 prints after taking over £131,000 Final box office - £143,000
Sample Question Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice within a media industry which you have studied. The main issues you will focus on are: Piracy Hollywood’s Dominance The loss of the UK Film Council
A Case Study: Watchmen An extra example that could be used in the exam Understanding Film Rights
Film Rights When an existing story (book, play, comic) is made into a film the “rights” have to be bought from the author – the product is their “intellectual property” E.g. Warner Brothers bought the rights to make the first 4 Harry Potter for £ 1 million. (They bought the remaining 3 when the first had been a success.) Film makes may “option” a script – meaning they only pay 10% of the fee and then pay the full amount if the project is“green lit” ( goes into production) . There is normally a time limit on an “option” – usual two or three years. If the film isn’t made in this time the rights can be re-sold.
Film Rights Establishing who has the “rights” to make a film offer results in long legal battles and the delay of a film being made. Case Study: Watchmen
Watchmen There have been numerous attempts to make a film version of Watchmen since 1986, when producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver acquired film rights to the series for 20th Century Fox. In 1991, Fox put the project into “turnaround” and was moved to Warner Bros., Aturnaroundis an arrangement in the film industry, whereby the rights to a project one studio has developed are sold to another studio in exchange for the cost of development.
Watchmen Gilliam later abandoned the project because he decided that Watchmenwould have been un-filmable. Subsequently it was dropped by Warner Bros. In 2004 the film went to Paramount Pictures but again it was placed in turnaround when the lead director left to work on other projects. In 2005 Lawrence Gordon took the film back to Warner Bros where it was eventually brought to life.
Watchmen 20th Century Fox filed a lawsuit to block the film's release, stating that they still had the “rights” to the film and that L. Gordon was supposed to resubmit Watchmen to Fox every time he came up with a changed element. Warner Bros fought this claim but eventually the studios eventually settled. Fox received an upfront payment and a percentage of the worldwide gross from the film and all sequels and spin-offs in return. The film was released to cinemas in March 2009 a year after the original release date.