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01a general introduction to the film industry convergence


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01a general introduction to the film industry convergence

  1. 1. AS Media Studies 2010 Study Notes Unit G322 Section B Audiences and Institutions The Film Industry Part 1 Convergence
  2. 2. General Introduction 1. 2. For the exam you should be prepared to understand and write about the processes of film production, distribution, marketing and exhibition and… The changing way audiences consume films and the changing relationships between audiences and the film industry.
  3. 3. General Introduction  1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. In addition, you need to know about: issues raised by ownership in the contemporary film industry; the importance of convergence and synergy in the making of films; the new technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange; the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for film institutions & audiences; the importance of technological convergence for film institutions and audiences; the issues raised in the targeting of national and British audiences by international or global film institutions; the ways in which your own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.
  4. 4. General Questions   How do different films get produced and what is the ‘production process’? How do films get distributed and what does film distribution involve? What does the exhibition of films involve? How do audiences ‘consume’ films and how has this changed? How does the film industry, and particular film production companies more specifically, attempt to develop the relationship between institutions and audiences?
  5. 5. How to approach this exam Case Studies     These will involve the study of a specific studio or production company within the contemporary film industry that targets a British audience. These might be based in the US (Hollywood) or in Britain (Film4, BBC Films, Working Title), or part of World Cinema (Bollywood). They will include the study of a studios patterns of production, distribution, exhibition and consumption by audiences. They will also be accompanied by study of how contemporary films are distributed (digital cinemas, DVD, Blu-Ray, downloads, etc) and how this has changed the production, marketing and consumption of films.
  6. 6. Specimen Exam Question  Discuss the issues raised by the need for institutions to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied.  By institutions the question is asking for you to write about a particular studio/production or distribution company specifically. By specific audience the question is asking you to write about a cross section of the potential film going audience – you might like to think of the typical target audience for most mainstream films. And naturally, you are focussing on the film industry.  
  7. 7. Anticipated for almost as long as the second coming, the digital media era is finally upon us and that much misused word 'convergence' has become meaningful. From Murdoch's deal to buy MySpace to the selling of YouTube for more than a billion dollars after 18 months of trading, we are slap back in the middle of the second boom. Gibson (2007) Digital media has changed the way the film industry works.
  8. 8. Introduction    Media Studies is all about the contemporary, so while it is useful to have a sense of the history of the film industry in Britain (so we know how successful the industry is at present relative to other time periods) we are much more concerned with how films are currently being produced and distributed and how this is changing. The key agent of change is convergence. This is because it makes little sense these days to talk about the film industry without referring to Internet distribution. This topic involves an understanding of media as business, the relationship between film producers, distributors and exhibitors and the public or audience.
  9. 9. The question that needs to be answered is: do new media forms produce both distinctively different ‘content’ and 'audiences' when compared with their predecessors? The answer to this question is a qualified yes. Marshall (2004) Digital media have changed the kinds of films we make and want to see
  10. 10. What is Convergence?    First, technologies coming together, for example, a mobile phone you can use as a still and moving image camera, download and watch moving images on, use as an MP3 player and recorder and access the internet with. Second, media industries are diversifying so they produce and distribute across several media—for example, a newspaper with an online version and audio podcasts or the coming together of videogames with films e.g. Quantum of Solace (2008) or Avatar (2009). We no longer live in a media world where television, videogames, films, newspapers, radio, magazines and music exist separately. For this reason it is essential that we study the impact of convergence on the film industry - the focus here is on the contemporary nature of film production, distribution and exhibition.
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  13. 13. What is Convergence?  Go to two film websites. Use ‘Skyfall’ or ‘Looper’ or a more recent film if you like…  Find as many examples of ‘convergence’ as you can. Or, put another way…  Q. How many different ways can you ‘consume’a film on the internet?
  14. 14. Why is convergence important for consumers? For consumers, convergence helps to ensure greater price transparency and makes accessing those films more convenient.  Convergence also presents us with the potential to choose from and access a far wider and more diverse range of films in different media.  Convergence is also an aesthetic choice by filmmakers to create films that look like videogames - 300 (2006), Sin City (2005) Avatar (2009) and videogames that resemble films. 
  15. 15. Why is convergence important for the economy? o o For the UK economy convergence represents an opportunity to build on its competitive strengths internationally in respect of creative talent and content creation and to enhance growth and productivity and to develop skills. For the film industry it presents opportunities to reach wider audiences. But it also presents large challenges in respect of copyright and distribution windows, most particularly for independently-produced British films.
  16. 16. Why is convergence important for the economy?        Creative employment provides around two million jobs. Employment in the sector has grown at double the rate of the economy as a whole. The OEDC estimated that the UK's creative industries make up 6% of its GDP, twice the figure of the US. Creative industries contributed 2.9% of the UK’s Gross Value Added in 2009. 5.1% of the UK’s workers are employed in the creative industries or in creative roles in other industries. Exports of services by the creative industries accounted for 10.6% of the UK’s exports of services. There were an estimated 106,700 businesses in the creative industries on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) in 2011, this represents 5.1% of all companies. DCMS (December 2011)
  17. 17. How does the UK compare internationally?    The UK is well placed to seize the opportunities presented by convergence provided it addresses the challenges. A rapid transition to the next generation of broadband access networks is critical if we are to remain competitive with other economies such as those of Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore which have invested very significant resources in advanced broadband networks. In Hong Kong speeds of 1GB are already available, while the highest speed on general offer in the UK at the moment is 50Mbs.
  18. 18. What are the key opportunities convergence presents?   The ability to create and distribute content in a much larger variety of ways will accelerate the segmentation of the film industry such that there will be many more different business and cultural models, each based on different sets of aims and objectives. Just as the audience’s ability to choose between different ways of consuming TV programmes is greatly enhanced by digital technology (e.g. the emergence of BBC’s iPlayer), so too is the ability of institutions to create different ways to make films and to deliver them to audiences.
  19. 19. What are the key challenges convergence presents?  The now defunct UK Film Council consistently argued that film theft and online copyright infringement represent a major threat to all elements of the UK film industry and to film culture.  Some 5% of UK adults have downloaded a film and/or a TV show and the quantity of titles illegally downloaded has risen to an average of between 7-15 per year.
  20. 20. Film Piracy   Q. What might happen in the UK if broadband internet access spreads rapidly and offers greatly increased download speeds? A. The very rapid take-up of broadband in the UK could increase copyright infringement by means of file-sharing.
  21. 21. Film Piracy  HWQ. What are the cons (for institutions) and the pros (for the audience) of digital film piracy?    