AUDIENCES AND INSTITUTIONS
• You will need to know at least three case studies e.g.
Monsters, Dark Knight Rises, and Wild Bill – most of this
stuff is available through slideshare but you were told to
make your own notes. The Monsters material was in the two
packs I gave you. There is a lot about The Lego Movie (a
particularly strong example of synergy) on the blog and links
to even more material about it.
• You will need to know (and use) key terms such as
convergence, synergy, vertical and horizontal integration.
• You will need to draw on the way people your age ‘consume’
(and share) media texts.
• The missing phrase from the title but always present in
these questions is DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
• What impact does media ownership have on the impact of the range of
products available to audiences in the media area you have studied?
• Cross media convergence and synergy are vital processes in the marketing of
media products to audiences. To what extent do you agree with this
statement in relation to your chosen media area?
• To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and
consumption of media products in the media area you have studied?
• Successful media products depend as much on marketing and distribution to
a specific audience as they do on production practices. To what extent
would you agree with this statement within the media you have studied?
• Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production and
exchange of media texts in your chosen media area.
• What significance does the continuing development of media technology
have for media institutions and audiences?
• Media production is dominated by global institutions, which sell their
products and services to national audiences. To what extent do you agree
with this statement?
• How important is technological convergence for institutions and audiences
within a media area you have studied?
• Discuss the ways in which products are produced and distributed to
audiences in a media you have studied.
What impact does media ownership have on the impact of the
range of products available to audiences in the media area you
• Who are the big multimedia conglomerates and what impact do they have
on the UK film industry?
• How does the local film industry attempt to deal with this?
• Lots to talk about here – think of the way Hollywood dominates the UK film
industry – in fact, a healthy part of the UK film industry (sfx for
blockbusters, for example) actively supports the Hollywood model; think
about choice and type of films – use the Warners produced Dark Knight
Rises or The Lego Movie as an example. Can you find out how many
screens it was initially shown on in the UK – Dark Knight – 594 screens;
Monsters – 164 screens;
• The way the big companies dictate technical specifications – digital film-
making, distribution, marketing and exhibition – think of the negative
aspects on local cinemas and arthouse cinemas…
Cross media convergence and synergy are vital processes in the
marketing of media products to audiences. To what extent do you
agree with this statement in relation to your chosen media area?
• How are they used and who uses them?
• Common with product from Hollywood studio films –
example? Look at viral marketing too… This year, for
the first time ever, there are more devices connected
to the internet than there are people on the planet…
• Remember, about half of a film’s budget goes on
• How does a smaller British independent film compete?
Remember, many smaller films don’t get distributed in
the marketplace or are shown in arthouse cinemas –
they don’t have the money to compete
To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and
consumption of media products in the media area you have studied?
• See the slide above…
• Who dominates the industry and why? How has this affected digital
filmmaking and distribution (but note that some leading filmmakers
prefer to shoot in 35mm…)
• Digital distribution doesn’t just mean cinemas. What else are we
talking about? How do some of you watch some films? How are
they marketed to you?
• Look at a big Hollywood film – Lego movie or Dark Knight Rises and
compare with Monsters. Both used digital distribution and
marketing but which do you think was more effective and why?
• IMAX and 3D? Hyped but…?
• Look at a genuinely local filmmaking outfit like Amber – how does it
use digital technology to distribute its work?
• What about illegal digital distribution? How does this affect the
marketing and consumption? How do audiences take advantage of
this and how has the industry reacted to piracy? Be honest here.
Successful media products depend as much on marketing and distribution to a specific
audience as they do on production practices. To what extent would you agree with this
statement within the media you have studied?
• Here, you’re being asked to make a judgement and justify
your choice. However, your answer may not be as simple as
black and white – and maybe it shouldn’t be.
• Half a film’s budget goes on marketing so what advantage
does a film produced by a big media corporation have over
a small independent UK company? Again – look at the case
studies. Monsters was not a particular success – but it’s
competing in a marketplace dominated by Hollywood films.
It seems to have a lot going for it – SciFi, US cast, special
effects, good story – probably not enough action to satisfy
fans of that sort of thing; it was more cerebral but possibly
not enough for the arthouse either. It DID use up to date
digital techniques to make and market the film, however.
• Wild Bill – another film that wasn’t marketed or distributed effectively – and failed
at the box office. Films like this, though, are competing in an arena where the rules
are dictated by dominant media corporations – however – what about the global
success of Slumdog Millionaire? Low budget British film – production practices –
writer of the most popular UK film in recent years – James Purefoy (Full Monty);
story with world wide appeal (rags to riches/boy gets girl and the money/underdog
wins against all odds); co-produced with Celador, the owners of Who Wants to be a
Millionaire – a show that his a huge success around the world; a ‘name’ director
who had hit films under his belt…
• But distribution deals cut with Fox and Pathe and other companies so it received
worldwide release could be released was distributed by Fox.
• Careful distribution – shown at the Toronto Film Festival where there is a large
Asian/Canadian audience – was a hit. Staggered release in the USA – word of
mouth/social networking sites; vigorous promotion by Fox – which has its own TV
network and other media outlets like newspapers (New York Times, for example) .
Successful at Golden Globes and Oscars; received wide release in the UK with all
audiences, not just Indians living in the UK, with its reputation going before it; a hit
in Europe and a moderate hit in India and remember, 2/3 of the film isn’t in
English, where there was obvious cultural connections (well known Indian actor
playing the host of the quiz show and even a Bollywood dance at the end!
• So – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but note the muscle lent to
Millionare in terms of distribution by Fox
Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production
and exchange of media texts in your chosen media area.
• See question 1
• “Exchange” means the point at which
audiences consume the text.
What significance does the continuing development of media
technology have for media institutions and audiences?
• Digital distribution and exhibition – cinema/DVD/BluRay/On
Demand/XBOX/mobiles – more? Negative effects?
• Digital filmmaking – on a budget – guerrilla filmmaking – sfx
done expertly on a low budget (Monsters)
• Digital marketing – websites/social networking/viral
marketing (Dark Knight Rises – but compare it to what a
smaller film has the budget to do…)
• But – dominated by big companies at the expense of what?
• More audiences choosing NOT to go the cinema
• DVD and IMAX – expensive and expensive to see – still in the
• Illegal use of technology – loss of revenue. How is this
• More devices connected to the internet than people on
Media production is dominated by global institutions, which
sell their products and services to national audiences. To what
extent do you agree with this statement?
• What are those institutions that dominate the industry in the UK?
• Companies that practise vertical and horizontal integration are at a
• How is their dominance affecting the UK film industry in terms of
production, distribution and exhibition.
• Funding? How are British independent films funded? You could look
at Working Title films and see how they’ve coped, but some would
say they have compromised and are no longer a British independent
company. In contrast, how were Wild Bill and Monsters funded?
• Production? Small independent films – like Wild Bill - aimed at local
audiences cannot find it difficult to compete; Monsters tries to
compete with the Hollywood model, but on a fraction of the budget.
• Distribution/marketing/exhibition – half the budget goes on
marketing, so…? The global institutions are horizontally and
vertiaclly integrated – hwo do these factiors put them to
How important is technological convergence for institutions and
audiences within a media area you have studied?
• Technological convergence during the production stage – digital filmmaking and
editing/sfx – CGI now hugely important in the making of Hollywood blockbusters –
almost in competition with each other in terms of spectacle – but note Monsters –
guerrilla filmmaking in Mexico on a budget – filming with lightweight portable digital
cameras – then editing done on a laptop in a hotel room; high quality special effects
done by one man in post-production in the UK. If used carefully and skilfully – it
allows films that look like big budget effects movies to be made on a low budget – no
major stars, however
• Distribution/marketing – various techniques coming together to promote a film to
reach a larger audience – old technologies - posters/trailers/interviews in magazines
and on TV combined with website that acts as a hub for information, with various
gimmicks to interest the audience – or a series of websites in the case of the Dark
Knight Rises – links to and use of official social networking sites.
• How convergence is used in terms of synergy – things like games being used to
promote a film and vice versa – The Lego Movie for example
• Viral marketing – the more money behind the campaign, the more effective it can be
– compare Monsters with DKR or the Lego Movie.
• Exhibition – digital distribution and exhibition – cheaper, but has become the
• The ways in which technologies can come together for audiences to watch movies –
legally or illegally.
Discuss the ways in which products are produced and
distributed to audiences in a media you have studied.
• Companies that practise vertical and horizontal integration
are at a clear advantage – how? Compare with small UK
• Note the dominance of the majors and the effect this has
on production etc in this country
• Use your case studies and talk about use of new
technologies during all stages of
• Note the changes towards digital and where the pressure
for this change has come from
• Note negative and positive effects on the industry
• Note the different ways in which audiences watch film –
cinema/DVD/BluRay/On Demand and so on
• Don’t forget illegal practices…