main points / structure
- How big 6 do it, then talk about how others do it.
- Big 6 have money = better, more targeted advertising
- Smaller companies cannot compete, use more innovative release strategies.
- digital distribution is an essential part of a films release and the money it makes.
To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the area you have studied.
Since the DVD was first released their have become more and more ways to watch films. due to improvements in both technology and the way we use the internet, films have become easier and easier to watch in both theatrical and non theatrical exhibition. Copies of films can now be shown in many more cinemas at once and in multiple screens at once, for example The Hunger Games Catching Fire was shown in 440 UK cinemas, this is due to digital distribution allowing for more copies of films to be distributed at once as they no longer require physical copies. This has also become present in non theatrical viewing. There are far more ways than ever to watch a film outside of the cinema, both on the number of devices available and on the number of services that these devices have access to. You can now watch a film on the bus.
Subscribed and transactional streaming services such as Netflix and SkyTV have created a technological disruption in the viewing of films, as in they essentially replaced the DVD, similar to how Spotify and Itunes got rid of the need for CDs.
This means that digital releases have become a far more viable way for a film to make money. For example the 2013 Ben Wheatley film: A field in England was released simultaneously both digitally and in cinemas and the majority of the £30,000 that the film made was through online, transactional video on demand and subscribed video on demand. Showing that people are choosing convenience of viewing online over the possible greater experience of viewing a film in the cinema. This is shown to be the case as the film got far more favourable reviews from people who watched the film in cinema than those who watched it online despite the demographic asked being the same; 18 – 35 year old males. However it is likely that those who watched it in cinemas were far more devout fans of Wheatley’s work and had known about the film prior due to his cultish online following of 12000 twitter followers, than those who had stumbled upon it through online advertising.
Digital distribution of films has even become an alternative to a DVD or theatrical release. For example the 2016 Ricky Gervais’ film Special Correspondents was made exclusively for Netflix, following the success of his film David Brent: Life on the Road, which they purchased the rights to after its theatrical release. These films were as successful as they were due to them being included with the Netflix deal as Netflix’ original content is proven to have been more so of a driving factor for people paying for the service among the 7 million UK users.
Digital distribution has proven to have its negatives as the relaxed media ownership a company has over its content has led to more and more piracy of direct-to-digital releases. An example of this was the 2016 film Laid in America which had garnered over 522,000 pirated viewings via illegal services such as Putlocker and Watch 32
Now that the online exchange and consumption of media is far more popular, the advertising for these products has to adapt too.
Lionsgate’s 2013 film The Hunger Games Catching Fire was the number one release on all the digital platforms that it was released on after it was released theatrically. This is because the infamous Lionsgate 20 million dollars spent on advertising all of their films has skewed far more towards that of online advertising, which thus allows for more targeted advertising. For example The Hunger Games Catching Fire had over 12 million Facebook likes and 1 million Twitter followers. This is an example of targeted advertising as the audience for those films, namely 14-24 year olds are the most common users of those social media sites. And this form of advertising has become more and more integrated to a films release among the big 6 media conglomerates. The 2016 film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them heavily utilised snapchat and Instagram as a means of advertising by Warner Bros ( one of the big 6 media conglomerates). This is an example of a symbiotic relationship between companies.
Advertising online isn’t limited to bigger companies it is also an inherent part of the advertising for smaller films, as it is much cheaper than advertising through other media and often has more reach. Ricky Gervais’ films: David Brent and Social Correspondents were only advertised through his personal Twitter account as he knew that his 12 million followers may have more reach than advertising offline, this was targeted advertising as his fans are more likely to go and watch his films than people who aren’t. This was especially true for Special Correspondents as it was only available through the online service Netflix. This was an example of synergy as Netflix wasn’t as capable of advertising to such a specific audience as Gervais was and Gervais did not have a platform aside from Netflix, on which to release this film.
in conclusion digital distribution has broadened the number of ways in which we consume media and has thus allowed for the big 6 media conglomerates to distribute their films to more targeted audiences. It has also allowed for smaller companies to have more of a reach than they would have otherwise as, through horizontal integration, they can market and distribute their films themselves and don’t rely too heavily on theatrical exhibition as much as they used to.