Thursday, 28 April 2016

To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the area of media you have studied?

I think digital distribution can have both positive and negative affects on marketing and consumption for films and for the film industry. Over the years, movies have started to be filmed digitally instead of using a 35mm. Now, 9 out of 10 US cinemas have made the switch from 35mm to digital. Filming with digital has plenty of benefits. One of which is that it allows film-makers to review their work instantly, making the process of production a lot quicker. It is also useful when films are shown in cinemas for long amounts of time. Using a 35mm for a long period of time would result in the prints being worn down until they eventually fell apart in the projectors. This is not a risk for digital distribution. Digital distribution has the most well known benefits of allowing wide release, such as Mad Max: Fury Road which was released on thousands of screens at the same time all over the world, as the movie can be released on tens of thousands of screens at the same time across the whole planet, as well as having multi platform release while you're at it (iTunes.) This makes for a larger audience to be reached all at once.

However to have a digital film shown in cinemas, a digital projector must be used which on average can cost between $60,000 and $150,000. This raises an issue for small independent cinemas as they would be unable to afford the digital projectors and therefore are unable to play the films. This will result in a massive decrease in consumption when popular blockbusters are filmed fully in digital, for example The Wolf of Wall Street, which was the first major film to be distributed in digital format only. Another negative is that piracy is easier to do with digital as it is simple to copy and move onto a memory stick etc, whereas a 35mm was actual film and was not stored on computers or other digital technology. This has resulted in the rates of home entertainment increasing as there are now websites such as Megashare and, occasionally, YouTube that play copies of films, negatively impacting consumption for the Box Office. There was a 50% surge in downloads of digital HD formats, this lead to an increase in home entertainment revenue, therefore influencing the methods of distribution in the modern industry; surpassing $1 billion for the first time. 

As for the marketing of films, some rely heavily on digital distribution. For example, Ex Machina, which used almost 100% viral marketing. This is a type of marketing that involves social media sites spreading the marketing through reposts, retweets, status' etc and is free as the audience are marketing the movie themselves. As Ex Machina was a small budget movie, this was extremely beneficial. Therefore without digital distribution, Ex Machina would have had to spend vast amounts of money that they didn't have to market the film, which would have been very risky if the film had not succeeded. Digital distribution also has positive effects for Blockbusters. This is for similar reasons as low budget films, as YouTube and film promoting websites (e.g Rotton Tomatoes) would be unavailable which would be very problematic as these, especially YouTube, are the most used means of marketing. This means that they would have to spend a lot more on posters, adverts etc, which are not as noticed as most people don't really pay attention to them.

In conclusion I think digital distribution has had a massive affect on the marketing and consumption of films. Whilst some of these affects are negative, I think the overall the switch to digital has a generally positive affect on the film industry.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Christmas 50 work - audience and institution

1. How much did Disney pay to acquire the rights to Star Wars from Lucas Film?
$4.05 billion (£2.5 billion)
2. Which other major studios/franchises did Disney acquire in 2006 and 2009 respectively?

2006 - Pixar - $7.4 billion
2009 - Marvel comics - $4.2 billion
3. Why did Josh Dickey believe Disney was a good fit for Star Wars?
"They're so good at branding and brands. They're so good at working with existing intellectual property and making it resonate with fans and marketing it very well." 
4. When did the UK introduce generous tax relief for the film indiustry?
5. How much has Disney earned in tax rebates since 2007?
6. How many people were employed at Pinewood studios when working on Star Wars The Force Awakens?
7. What is Matthew Vaughan's criticism of the UK's tax arrangement (include the full quotation)?
“I think it’s crazy that we subsidise British movies with tax breaks but we don’t get any of that money back. We’re subsidising Hollywood. We’re service providers. We’re not an industry.”
8. How much was Harrison Ford paid to reprise his role as Han Solo?
As high as $20 million
9. How much money must the film make before its stars earn 'back end bonuses'? (A back end bonus is when an actor agrees to take a lower fee for staring in a film in return for a share of any profit a film makes over an agreed figure.)
$1 billion worldwide
10. How much did The Force Awakens take globally on its opening weekend?
$247m in the US and $529m globally.
11. Which 5 major companies have signed tie in deals with the film?
Pepsi, Burger King, M&MS/Mars, Hasbro and Kellogg’s
12. How was the White House linked with the film?
White House news conferences were attended by imperial stormtroopers and the president got a special White House screening. 
13. The article states "only finite resources for a movie like The Force Awakens are screens and seats: you cannot force four buttocks into one movie seat." What solution have cinemas dreamt up to cope with this problem?
By exponentially increasing the number of available screenings. 
14. How many screens are being used for saturation play (placing a film on virtually every screen in a cinema)? 
2,500 screens in the UK and Ireland, at 670 cinemas
15. What is the % rise in box office takings thanks to Star Wars?
16. How is the box office split between 2D, 3D and IMAX?
54% of box office in 2D, 36% in 3D and 10% in Imax. 
17. How many mentions has the film had on Weibo?
More than 750,000
18. When does the film open in China?
9 January 2016
19. How was the film promoted to China in October 2015?
The studio flew in an army of 500 stormtroopers to line up on the Great Wall of China as giant billboards flashed with the message “The Force Awakens” in Chinese and fans waved red and blue lightsabers. 
20. What other marketing strategy has been used?
The studio hired pop star Lu Han to introduce trailers, with the singer’s band EXO contributing the single Lightsaber.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas 50 work


There are many sub-categories to Age stereotypes: teens, children, infants, 30-somethings, mature, elderly, and mid-life crisis.
The key binary opposition is young VS old. 
Young: less responsible, criminal, out of control, academically weak - but also cunning, innocent and naive.
Old: dim, romantic/sexual plotlines for cheap laughs, slow, bad drivers.
Non diegetic music and how it can represent age groups e.g classical (older) and pop (younger).
Key words: irresponsible vs responsable, immature vs sensible, foolish vs wise

Crude stereotypes of women as housewives and men as bread winner. Men are superior and dominate power. 
Binary oppositions: strength/weakness, domestic/professional, victim/hero. Mental strength as well as physical: men are brave, women are helpless victims.
Gender divide has narrowed by male grooming and metrosexual icons e.g David Beckham.
Key words: physical/mental power/strength, hero vs victim, emotionally closed vs open (tears)

Gender attributes (feminine male/masculine female).
Gay characters often used for comedy - not taken seriously.
Lipstick lesbian - positive representation or male gaze?
Key words: camp vs manly (males), feminine vs manly (females), groomed vs scruffy (males)

Religion is key significance - religious people negatively treated (e.g muslims often associated to 9/11)
National and regional identities - question of Britishness and citizenship often featured.
Western vs non-western also key binary opposition.
Most negative stereotype of Muslim Middle Eastern characters: violent, religious, fanatical.
Black youth often stereotyped through language, clothes and musical taste.
Can also get white racist characters to contend with.
Key words: alien/different, non-western vs western, religious vs secular

Most under-represented chjaracteristic of disabled people is their invisibility.
Storylines typically revolve around the carer and not the disabled person themselves. Most disabled characters are those who had an accident and have to adapt to the lifestyle rather than those born disabled, presumably as the audience can relate more.
Sexuality is often ignored.
The handling of mental disability and TV drama is heavily critisised and is usually seen as sensationalised and stigmatising those who suffer from it.
Key words: independance vs dependance, result of accident, invisible, issues on sexulaity.
Also: good vs evil

Social class and status
Common issues with urban vs rural. 
Clothing often crucial, accent/speech too. Possessions and housing other key factors. 
Camera angles can establish class difference.
'Dramedies' willl have class clashes as humour. The easily offended sensibilities of middle class are also a source of humour.
Working class stereotypes revolve around crime, laziness and scrounging.
Key words: fined/sophisticated vs crude, urban vs rural, powerful vs powerless, victim vs criminal.

Regional Identity
Main issue is urban vs rural, advanced vs backwards. 
Accents can be used for comedy. 
Clothing is important to establish sophisticated vs backwards - also tied to urban vs rural identity. Latest fashions vs leisure/outdated wear.
Also issues around national identity e.g Welsh, Scots and N.Irish.
Often attempted to highlight differences but essentially all British. 
Regional identity annd social class and status often linked.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

What is Distribution?


What part of the supply chain is distribution?
Distribution is the third part of the supply chain.

What is distribution often referred to as?
 Distribution is also referred to as 'Invisible art'

What does 'vertical integration' mean when discussing distribution?
Vertical integration is where three stages are seen as one larger process.

Why isn't 'vertical integration' so common in the independent sector?
Producers have no formal connections with exhibitors and producers need exhibitors to promote and show the film it its best possible way.

What three stages are involved in the independent sector?  
The three stages involved are licensing, marketing and logistics.


What is licensing? 
Licensing is the process that the distributer of the film would go through to be able to legally show the film to the public. 

What are the two levels of licensing? 
International, marketing the film across the world and local, releasing the film in just one particular country.

What is the advantage of being a major US studio? 
They have their own distribution offices in all of the major territories already. 

What three different types of rights can you acquire on a local level? 
Theatrical rights, video rights, video and TV rights. 

What are royalties? 
Something that the distributor pays to the producer out of the profits that the film generates. 

What is the most effective way to increase interest in a film?
A theatrical opening. 

How long does it take for a film to reach 'free to air' TV? 
It takes two years for a film to reach 'free to air' TV.


What are the two key questions surrounding the marketing of a film?
The two key questions are 'When?' and 'How?'

What day are films typically released on?
Films are typically released on Fridays.

What will a distributor look at before releasing a film on a Friday?
To ensure there are only a few other films which are released on Fridays.

What is a 'light' week in terms of distribution?
It will ensure that there will be both screen space and adequate review column inches in the press allocated to any potential release.

What does it mean to 'position' a film distinctively?
It will be positioned distinctively and a void a release date occupied by other films with similar traits, such as story, subject, country of origin, etc.

Why has this become increasingly difficult in the UK?
It has become increasingly difficult, as the release schedule has regularly featured over 10 new releases in a week.

What are P&A?
Are the nuts and bolts of marketing and distributing films, and its known as Prints and Advertising.

How much can P&A cost?
Its the bulk of the distributor's investment, after paying the initial fee for rights, and can range from less than £1,000 to over £1 million for the release of a film in the UK.

Marketing - Prints and adverts
Typically how many prints will a specialised film have?
Specialised films will often have less than 10 prints, with them 'toured' over a 6 month period to all parts of the UK.

How many will mainstream films have?
Commercial mainstream films however, will often open on over 200 prints. These simultaneously screen in all major UK towns and cities.

What is a key factor in developing the profile of a film?
For most films, favourable press response is a key factor in developing the profile of a film. 

How else can awareness of a film be raised?
Awareness of a film can also be raised by posters, advertising campaigns (e.g magazines and newspapers), and press campaigns (e.g interviews.)

Why is distribution in the UK seen as risky?
Distribution in the UK is seen as risky compared to other countries because the cost of print advertising is comparatively high.

Why are companies looking towards viral marketing?
Companies are looking towards viral marketing in order to extend the reach of advertising and develop more effective communication with audiences at a lower cost. 

What are the benefits of a 'talent visit'?
The benefit of a talent visit is that the director and/or lead actors win significant editorial coverage to support a release. It makes the volume of coverage far outweigh the cost of talent visits.


In the pre digital film age what was a distributor responsible for? 
Before film became mostly digital, a distributor would arrange the transportation of the film to cinemas and theatres, the tapes, videos or DVDs to shops and ensure that this whole process is as efficient as possible.

How much does a 35mm print typically cost? 
Each 35mm print costs around £1000 so handling it needs to be done safely. If the film has subtitles than it may cost as much as twice this.

How many reals is a typical feature print? 
Within the UK specifically, feature prints are shortened so that they can be easily transported. They are usually around 20 minutes long and an entire feature film would require 5-6 of them.
Why do 35mm prints get damaged? The simple answer to this question is that 35mm prints get damaged from repetitive use as they are moved around lots of cinemas and played through many times.

Where are prints stored? 
The UK's central print warehouse which is located in West London.

How long did a theatrical release used to last? 
Originally, the distributor would run two different releases, the first of which would last for around 6 months, trying to reach optimum coverage until the prints are essentially destroyed after this period. Any remaining prints are then used in second-run which lasts for the rest of the film's licensed period.

Digital Distribution

When did digital distribution begin in the UK?
It began in 2005

Name two advantages of digital distribution
Easy to replicate and cost effective.

Which countries adopted digital distribution early and why?
China and Brazil.

How many screens were digital in 2005 and how many are now?
112 to 192 screens.

Why has digital distribution radically altered the operating model of distributors?

The comparatively low cost of film copies and additional logistical effectiveness of digital distribution provide the distributor with greater flexibility.

What has happened to the typical release period for a film?
Reduced 3-6 months to 1-3 months.

What is a loss leader and why are companies using the Cinema as a potential loss leader?
A loss leader is a product sold as a loss which attracts customers, and Cinema's are used as loss leaders so customers will buy DVDs.