Definition: any company or organisation that produces, distributes or exhibits films. The BBC makes films with their BBC Films arm; Channel4's Film Four produces films, Working Title also produce films, as does Vertigo Films, etc. Some institutions need to join with other institutions which distribute films. Vertigo Films is able to distribute its own films, Channel Four distributed Slumdog Millionaire through Pathe. Working Title's distribution partner is Universal, a huge US company which can make, distribute and show films. The type of owner ship within an institution matters as, for instance, Channel 4 and the BBC are able to show their own films at an earlier stage than other films made by other institutions. They are also better placed to cross-promote their in-house films within their media organisations.
Distribution and Marketing
Definition: the business of getting films to their audiences by booking them for runs into cinemas and taking them there in vans or through digital downloads; distributors also create the marketing campaign for films producing posters, trailers, websites, organise free previews, press packs, television interviews with the "talent", sign contracts for promotions, competitions, etc. Distributors use their know-how and size to ensure that DVDs of the film end up in stores and on supermarket shelves. Distributors also obtain the BBFC certificate, and try to get films released as the most favourable times of the year for their genre, etc.
Universal distributed Working Title's The Boat That Rocked; Pathe distributed Film4 and Celadors' Slumdog Millionaire after the original US distributor, Warner Independent went out of business.
Definition: showing films in cinemas or on DVD. Media attention through opening nights and premieres How the audience can see the film: in cinemas, at home, on DVD, through downloads, through television, including premieres, the box office take in the opening weeks; audience reviews which includes those of the film critics, ordinary people, cinemas runs; awards in festivals, The Oscars, BAFTAS, etc.
The Boat That Rocked opened on wide release in over 400 cinemas in April 2009. The film flopped at the box office for a number of reasons: the critics' reviews, poor weather putting off cinema goers, and perhaps the lack of a strong female character. The film also flopped on American release in November 2009. However, young people and older people like the film: sales in Morrisons and other supermarkets seem brisk before Christmas as many are buying the DVD as a present to cheer people up during these dark winter months. Slumdog Millionaire almost never got distribution. Its early US distributor, Warner Independent was a victim of the economic downturn and went out of business. The film's makers then struggled to find a distributor! Then Fox Searchlight stepped up and "the rest is history". The 8 out of 10 Oscar nomination wins ensured that the film has been the greatest British success in awards and in box office for nearly 60 years.
Definition: The unintended use of an institution’s media text (i.e. a film) by OTHER PEOPLE who use the film or parts of it to form new texts. What happens to a film, etc. after the public get their hands on it using digital technology.
Examples:People unconnected to the institution/ film using WEB 2.0 applications such as YOUTUBE, Blogger, Amazon film message boards, TWITTER, Face-Book, discuss the film or edit parts of together to form a new text which the may then put a new soundtrack to and publish on YOUTUBE, etc. When you add a trailer from a site like YouTube on your blog you have been engaging with exchange.
Vertical and Horizontal Integration
Definition: Absorption into a single firm of several firms involved in all aspects of a product's manufacture from raw materials to distribution.
Vivendi Universal have integrated film, music, web and distribution technology into the company, including owning big stakes in cables and wires that deliver these services. Therefore they are vertically integrated because they own all the different companies involved in film, from production to distribution to exhibition. They are also horizontally integrated because they have all the expertise for producing media content under one roof – films, TV, magazines, books, music, games thus being able to produce all the related media content for one film under the same roof (see synergy). This is important for the control the institution has over their product/film.
Definition: The interaction of two or more agents (institutions/companies) to ensure a larger effect than if they acted independently. This is beneficial for each company through efficiencies in expertise and costs.
Working Title know how to make films and they have formed a business partnership with Universal, a massive US company, who have the experience and size in the marketplace (cinemas, stores, online, etc.) to distribute them. (They create the marketing campaign to target audiences through posters, trailers, create the film’s website, free previews, television and press interviews featuring “the talent”, drum up press reviews, word of mouth, and determine when a film is released for the best possible audience and the type of release: limited, wide, etc.) Channel Four’s Film 4 and Celador Films (Celador also produce Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and films, too) benefited by pooling their know-how, experience and expertise to jointly produce Slumdog Millionaire. These companies formed a business relationship with France’s Pathe to distribute this film. In the UK Pathe helped create the poster, trailer, website, etc. In the USA the film found another distributor after being nominated for the Oscars.
Definition: A marketing technique aiming at reproducing "word of mouth" usually on the internet and through existing social networks. YouTube Video pastiches, trailers, interviews with cast members, the director, writer, etc. You can find interviews of “the talent” trying to gain publicity for your case study films on YouTube.
Definition: The use of unconventional and low cost marketing strategies to raise awareness of a product. The aim is usually to create “buzz” and “word of mouth” around a film. Unusual stunts to gain publicity (P.R.) on the film’s opening weekend, etc.
Sasha Baron Cohen created “buzz” before the release of his film “Borat” by holding fake press conferences. The studio also accessed the popularity of YouTube by releasing the first 4 minutes of the movie on YouTube, a week before it’s release, which can then be sent virally across the nation. At a special viewing of “Bruno” Cohen landed on Eminem “butt first” from the roof MTV Awards venue, dressed in as an angel outfit with rents in the rear end.
Definition 1: Convergence of media occurs when multiple products come together to form one product with the advantages of all of them.
Examples:More and more films are being marketed on the Internet and on mobile phones. You no longer need even to buy the DVDs or CDs as you can download films and music directly to your laptop, Mac or PC. Blue Ray DVDs can carry more features than ordinary DVDs and can be played on HD televisions and in home cinemas for enhanced/cinematic picture quality. You can save films on SKY digital, Free-box digital players, etc. You mobile phone has multiple features and applications. With media and technological convergence this is growing year on year. Play-Stations, X-Boxes and the Wii can can connect with the Internet and you can play video games with multiple players.
Definition 2: The growing interractive use of digital technology in the film industry and media which enables people to share, consume and produce media that was difficult or impossible just a few years earlier.
For instance, the use of new software to add special effects in editing; the use of blue-screen; using new types of digital cameras like the one Danny Boyle used in “Slumdog Millionaire” (The Silicon Imaging Camera to shoot high quality film in tight spaces); you can use the Internet to download a film rather than go see it in the cinema; you can watch it on YouTube; you can use special editing programs like Final Cut Pro to edit bits of a film, give it new soundtrack and upload it on YouTube; you can produce illegal, pirate copies on DVDs from downloads and by converting the film’s format; you can buy Blue Ray DVDs with greater compression which allows superior viewing and more features on the DVD; distributors can use digital software to create high concept posters; cinemas can download films to their projection screens and do not have to depend on a van dropping off the film! There are tons of ways in which technological convergence affects the production, distribution, exhibition and exchange by prosumers. ( A prosumer is someone who not only consumes (watches films) but also writes about them the Net, blogs and make films out of them, often uploading them on sites like YouTube, etc.
A Mainstream Film
Definition: A high budget film that would appeal to most segments of an audience: the young, boys, girls, teenagers, young people, the middle aged, older people, the various classes in society. Distributors often spend as much or more than the film cost to make when distributing mainstream films that are given wide or universal releases.
The Boat That Rocked was a mainstream idea and was given the mainstream treatment on wide release. The film flopped at the UK box office on release ( and has not done too well since mid November 2009 on release in the USA. This was mostly because of its poor reviews, particularly from “Time-Out”. However, when young and older audiences see the DVD they generally like the film because of its uplifting storyline and the well-chosen soundtrack.
Art House Films
Definition: A low budget independent film that would mostly appeal to an educated, higher class audience who follow unusual genres or like cult directors that few people have heard of. Therefore it is usually aimed at a niche market. Foreign films often come under this category.
The low budget film, Once (2007) which found a specialised, boutique distributor in Fox Searchlight fits this label. (FOX the mainstream company usually distributes big budget film and blockbusters); So does “Juno” from 2008 which began as a low budget film about teenage pregnancy that the big studios thought too risky to touch – but it found popularity through its touching storyline, engaging music and its Oscar nomination for best script. Like “Slumdog Millionaire” the film crossed over between art-house cinemas and audiences to mainstream ones because of the recognition it received from Canadian film festivals and award ceremonies like Britain’s BAFTAS and the Hollywood’s Oscars.
Ratings bodies BBFC - The British Board of Film Classification
How your institutions films are rated will affect audiences in so far as WHO can see them. Remember that sex scenes, offensive language, excessive violence, the use of profanity, etc. can affect the rating and certificate the film receives and therefore affect who is able to see the film.