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Impact of Media Ownership on Products Available


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Exam question

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Impact of Media Ownership on Products Available

  1. 1. What impact does media ownership have on the range of products available to audiences in the film industry?
  2. 2. • Address the issue in the first sentence – has a great impact etc etc • What is ownership? Controlling a media company or a range of media companies • E.g. Warner Brothers – vertically and horizontally integrated company – Warner Bros Entertainment calls itself a fully integrated broad based entertainment company which owns film studios and the means to distribute the films as well as some of the cinemas in which they are shown. Warner Bros in itself is part of an even bigger conglomerate called Time Warner which is a huge media conglomerate institution which uses horizontal Integration to consolidate its power and profits. • Time Warner Inc. is a leading media and entertainment company, whose businesses include interactive services, cable systems, filmed entertainment, television networks and publishing. • ‘Whether measured by quality, popularity or financial results, our divisions are at the top of their categories. AOL, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, Home Box Office, New Line...
  3. 3. • Give some examples of the other interests they have – i.e. other companies – you could talk about the advantages of their ownership of DC Comics here. • Many different parts of their company with potential to make money – possible for an expensive film to fail. You should switch examples here and talk about Disney and all the different parts it has to the business (budget and box office figures for The Lone Ranger) because other films are so successful (box office figures for Avengers) and because of all its other successful business interests.
  4. 4. • Contrast with small independent film company which has to arrange a network of deals to secure funding and distribution whether in local or foreign territories – Warp – cannot afford to own all stages of the film-making process. • No financial input from major studios = less expendable money, therefore make fewer products which are often aimed at a niche audience. Contrast budgets of Tyrannosaur and Dark Knight Rises
  5. 5. • Conglomerates have the financial clout and the commercial infrasctructure for cross media convergence – explain what this is – and can afford a larger advertising/marketing campaign. Remember, the average Hollywood film costs over $50 million and half of that is spent on the marketing budget – now how much would that mean Warners could spend marketing The Dark Knight Rises? • Give some examples of how The Dark Knight Rises was marketed. Explain that you’re giving only SOME examples – talk about the use of different websites (which they would have access to being part of Time Warner AOL), the use of viral marketing (give one example), synergy (like DC producing comics/graphic novels), promotional partner deals (like Nissan Juke) – and check to see if the soundtrack came out on Warner Brothers Records – if so, this is another example of synergy.
  6. 6. • Big media conglomerates can also produce franchises (like Fox - and now Disney - with Star Wars, Disney with the Marvel Universe films and Warner Brothers with the DC Comics films – so, effectively, one promotes another/creates anticipation for the next. • How was Tyrannosaur marketed? Synergy • Tyrannosaur might not be the best example of a smaller independent film when it comes to synergy, but others have had more success with things like soundtracks, like Slumdog Millionaire and The Full Monty – but these will be the result of deals, because the companies don’t own a company that makes and releases music in the way that a major conglomerate like Warner Brothers, Disney or Sony/Columbia – and the better the budget, the more synergy and the more promotional partners
  7. 7. • The big conglomerates can practise cross media convergence and dominate the market – can deliver and distribute their products on more than on platform. • E.g. Sony – large conglomerate – own Sony Pictures International who distributed Skyfall – cinemas, but also NOWTV, iTunes, Netflix • In Britain, the film industry is dominated by Hollywood industrial cinema - the Big Six (explain who they are) • The set the digital agenda – explain – and explain the negative effect on independent cinemas • Explain how they dominate the market in terms of release time • How saturation release stifles the growth of alternative independent cinema • How American (or Anglo/American) films made – or partly made in the UK can qualify for UK tax breaks at a time when finance is precious and should arguably be used on local product • What are the effects on the UK film-making sector? • How they set expectations/anticipations for the audience sometimes to the detriment of them experiencing other kinds of cinema – i.e. they want more big budget US (or Anglo/US, like the Bond and Harry Potter) films and want to see them on IMAX screens and/or in 3D.