Digital Distributions Essay.


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.




Media Ownership Essay

To what extent does media ownership have an impact on the marketing and distribution of media products in the are you have studied?

Key points and ideas.

  • Companies working together
  • companies that transcend media working together, for example a distribution company working with a cinema company.
  • the presence and reputation a film company has, has some impact on whether or not a cinema company will show it. As they assume it will make money.
  • A film has more reach depending on both the number of companies involved and the presence of those companies.

Films to talk about.

-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – big world wide.

  • Lionsgate was able to use its cross media ownership to form a synergy between production and distribution.
  • Lionsgate have a certain distribution model that they follow every time they release a film.
  • Lionsgate distribution model:
  • Was the most successful film Lionsgate have ever released. grossing over 400 million in total.
  • opened in over 440 UK cinemas.
  • Hired popular actors which has some influence on the success of the film.
  • Has the added benefit of being a sequel, fans of the previous film would want to watch this one.
  • This did not carry over to the third and fourth film as the quality of the series declined with this film (in the eyes of the fans).

-David Brent – World wide

  • The film was produced by BBC Films and Entertainment One,  it was distributed by Entertainment One’s various international branches and Netflix
  • Released on Netflix and in cinemas at the same time
  • Produced by BBC Films and Entertainment One,  it was distributed by Entertainment One’s various international branches and Netflix

-Borrowed Time – UK

  • Crowd funded through Kickstarter.
  • Was supported by bbc films and film london.
  • was released digitally only ten days after its original theatrical release despite it staying in cinemas.
  • Originally did not have a distributor.
  • This one isn’t very good

-Special Correspondents – World wide

  • Was funded by Bron studios and Unanimous entertainment
  • Directed by Popular Comedian Ricky Gervais who had his own cult following.

-A Field in England – UK

  • Fully financed by film 4 and thus was available on all of channel 4’s various channels including Channel4, E4, Film4 and 4OD: their online service.
  • Supported by the BFI fund.
  • Produced by Rook Films
  • Had a deal with Picturehouse cinemas, who made contributions to both the exhibition and distribution of the film.
  • All companies involved fully supported the release model.
  • Picture house removed the threat of a Cinema Boycott, despite stakeholders believing a boycott would likely have minimal effect.
  • Was released on all platforms simultaneously.
  • This essentially acted as a get out of jail free card as it became a popular news story, due to it never being done before. This wouldn’t work as well if it were to be done again.

To what extent does media ownership have an impact on the marketing and distribution of media products in the are you have studied?

In the modern era of films, a film’s success is directly tied to the company that owns it. Companies such as the big six media conglomerates, namely: Sony, Disney, 20th century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros and Universal. They almost never lose money on a film because they can afford to market their film to an extrapolated level. A good example of this is the 2013 Lionsgate film: The Hunger Games Catching Fire. Despite Lionsgate not being one of the big six it infamously spends 20 million at least on the marketing and advertising of their films. to the point where it’s referred to as the Lionsgate 20. The Hunger Games Catching Fire was as successful as it was because of the marketing put into it by Liongate and the budget for the film they could afford. As a bigger company Lionsgate can afford to hire more famous actors such as Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth. They can also afford to show their films in many cinemas in fact this film opened in 440 UK cinemas out of a possible 747. The film was later released on other media platforms such as DVD and VOD. This gave the film a larger audience and led to the film making over 40 million pounds in the UK. Through both theatrical and non theatrical exhibition.

Smaller companies however cannot afford to advertise and release their films with such a large budget. These companies usually work as an example of horizontal integration compared to the vertical integration that is commonplace among larger companies such as the big 6. As the film industry is an oligopoly, smaller companies cannot possibly compete with bigger companies ( with some exceptions, certain films may become popular ) and therefore to maximise the money a film can produce they often release their films in more unique ways.

One such example of this is A Field in England a 2013 film by Rook films and funded by Channel 4’s Film 4 company.  Despite Film 4 being a relatively well known company this film did not have a very large budget, only £360000. A Field in England was released on multiple forms of media simultaneously including TV, Cinema and DVD . It was slightly easier for Channel 4 to do this as they themselves dictate what airs on their programming But this meant that the film had more reach as it wasn’t in as many cinemas due to Channel 4 not having the budget that a company such as those in the big 6 would have. A Field in England had a unique deal with Picturehouse cinemas, this Symbiosis between companies worked as the majority of viewings at the limited cinemas the film was released in were at Picturehouse cinemas. This was because Picturehouse acted as both an exhibitor and distributor of the film. This gave Picturehouse an advantage over other cinemas as it had a film they did not0 but also aided Channel 4 as it prevented the cinema boycott they were facing at the time.

Media ownership can also dictate on what forms of media a film can be released on. For example two of Ricky Gervais’ more recent films: 2013’s David Brent Life on the Road and 2016’s Special Correspondents were both funded by Netflix and so no form of non theatrical exhibition is available for those films aside from the Netflix service. In fact Special Correspondents was not even available to be viewed via theatrical exhibition, however this likely was not to do with Netflix owning the rights to the film but due to a lack of budget. These films did succeed however, likely down to Ricky Gervais himself who advertised the films himself to his 12 million twitter followers, a large percentage of which are the target audience for those films: 18-35 year old males, resulting in a targeted advertising because he had directed the films and owned the rights to the characters from David Brent.

The success of these films offer a good example of the relationship between the presence of a company and the success a film has. As previously stated Special Correspondents was not released outside of Netflix, therefore it did not have as large of an audience as David Brent due to it being released in Cinemas as well. David Brent was financed by the BBC and Entertainment One who have much more money and a much higher reputation than the companies that financed Special Correspondents: Bron Studios and Unanimous Entertainment. This is evident as David Brent made over 5 million at the box office whereas Special Correspondents cannot claim to have made money on its own other than it being a driving factor for people paying for Netflix.

In conclusion, media ownership affects the ways in which films are marketed and distributed by forcing smaller companies to work together in both symbiotic and synergystic ways order for their films to succeed amongst those released by the big 6 and those with a much larger budget to promote their films, such as Lionsgate with their Lionsgate 20. They do this by releasing their films in more innovative ways and rely far more on the non-theatrical exhibition of the films rather than the theatrical as that is where they make a much larger percentage of their money when compared to the big 6 who work somewhat in reverse.


New Technologies essay

plan – I’ll fix it later


First draft.

The internet has heavily affected the ways in which modern films are marketed and exchanged, one of the main ways it has done this is with the rise of online advertising. Social media and other forms of online advertising are much cheaper and often free forms of advertising for film companies to promote their films on. One of the main reasons The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was as successful as it was, was because it had an active social media following: 12 million Facebook likes and over 1 million Twitter followers. This was, in part, due to the fact that the film was distributed by Lionsgate, who spend over £20 million in advertising on every film they make. This strong online following played a role in the film being as successful as it was, it reached number one on all digital distribution platforms and made $865 million at via theatrical exhibition compared to the $694 million that ‘The Hunger Games’ made, which did not have as strong of a following online.

For some film companies online advertising is the only form of advertising they have as it is much cheaper than advertising through other media and often has more reach. Ricky Gervais’ films such as 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. Certain films will even use a specific marketing routine online. Films with much larger budgets will pay for a personalised advertisement on larger platforms such as Snapchat, which is a form of targeted advertising as the main demographic of those films would be the same as the users of that platform namely 14-24 year olds. This further spreads the word about the film as it is then shared organically via the nature of these social media platforms. For example the 2016 David Yates film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This film had adverts on Instagram and snapchat, which spread the word about the film to a new audience. This is also a form of simbiosis as these platforms get paid for allowing films to advertise on them.

Much smaller companies have also used the internet to not only market but often budget their films. This was the case for the the 2012 British film Borrowed time, the film company did not have enough money for the production and advertising of the film and so they used the online funding service Kickstarter. The Kickstarter campaign for the film managed to raise over £20000 for the film in just over a month, which caught the attention of Ted Hope who funded the rest of the films production through his Artist 2 Entrepreneur scheme which specialised in direct distribution online. This allowed for the film to further gain a larger audience due to it becoming a trending topic online, as is often the case with successful Kickstarter and Go-fund-me campaigns because they often end up in the news online. Therefore the film made over £7000 in theatrical sales, £4000 in DVD sales and £5000 in VOD sales.

The internet has also allowed for new ways for the exchange and distribution of films. In recent years subscription services such as Netflix and other Video on Demand services have become more convenient for someone than buying a DVD or going to the cinema. Film companies have realised this semi – technological disruption. and have started making a larger and larger portion of a films revenue because of these services. Ricky Gervais’ films David Brent and Social Correspondents were released exclusively for Netflix ( before being shown at various film festivals.) Other films have made use of similar releases. The 2013 Ben Wheatley film: A Field in England, was simultaneously released on many forms of media: DVD, Blu-ray, Cinema, television, online, VOD, TVOD and catchup services such as 4OD. Surprisingly, the majority of viewing were through online platforms such as SkyTV. This is likely because of the convenience that these services offer in comparison to buying a DVD or going to the cinema and it almost always works out as a far cheaper alternative.

Not all things have been positive for films however the internet has also brought rise to other ways people can pirate films. One big example of this was the 2016 film ‘Laid in America’ which has been downloaded via torrent-based piracy networks more than 522,000 times since it was released in late September 2016 on digital platforms. This would account to a large portion of the film’s revenue as it was a direct to digital platform release.

In conclusion the internet has affected the ways in which films are marketed and exchanged by offering a media platform more accessible to all film companies. It allows for new, cheaper forms of advertising that is less imposing than other forms such as radio and television due to the nature of social media and people being able to ignore it. It has also allowed for the budgeting of films to be made much easier as the problems a film may have can become news online and there are services online to help fund these problems. films have been affected in the way they are exchanged by the popularity of streaming services and VOD which are now not only an extra form of revenue for films they can even be an alternative.