Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production and exchange of media texts in your chosen media area.
Film producers such as Universal and Working title face many issues in the production and exchange of their movies. It’s up to them to make things that are going to be popular to the public, within budget to produce and ultimately make money. However with the rise of technological convergence and the changing market it becomes increasingly challenging to get it right. Within the production of films the key aspects for companies such as Universal, Working title or Warner Brothers, is if they are going to have and make money. In order for them to be successful and make big bucks they have to be prepared to lay their trust in producers and directors and provide them with millions of pounds that they can’t guarantee they’ll get back. Such as with the film John Carter that was a box office flop, causing Disney to lose out about $80,000,000 and the Chairman Rich Ross to resign. Institutions have to be sure that the initial idea of a film is good. Such as with the film ‘Inception’, Warner Brothers took a real gamble as to if the complex and big scales ideas of Christopher Nolan were worth the risk. He himself wasn’t even sure and went on to direct ‘The Dark night’ to gather experience. Some of the key issues faced with a film like his were the drastic scale he had envisaged.$160,000,000 million dollars were spent on this film and it required a team of very talented and experienced professional to make sure the special effects and scenes were exquisite. Luckily their efforts paid off however they had to take the risk in order to reap the rewards. Many decisions are involved in the suitability of a film, from the choice of director, storyline to whether it will be 3-D/HD or digital. All of which can effects costs and the audiences response to the movie. Aspects such as the films format will also affect the exchange of a film. For example a film shot in digital is easily distributed to cinemas all over with the simple use of a memory stick. Whereas the traditional 35mmfilms reels are far larger and more awkward and expensive to distribute limiting the quantity of copies and also exhibition to audiences. The format also decides the fundamental quality of a feature and its overall appearance and appeal. A fundamental aspect that is affecting the film industry is with the rise of technology and the exchange of films via internet and the use of piracy. Some institutions will have lost thousands or even millions of pounds because audiences prefer to go and watch a film illegally at home for free rather than paying at the cinema.
It’s so easy for people to conceal a small camera when going to the cinema and pirate a film uploading it to the web. And the ease of carrying a copy of a film round on a smart phone or laptop is far more convenient and simple then having a DVD or Blu-ray. This means institutions have a challenge to compete and combat with this often illegal and growing trend, as they are not gaining the same from their productions and reduced successful means reduced further investment. Ways in which companies can try and reduce piracy and lowering audiences is with the use of copyright encryptions on DVDs and making movies seem so alluring and amazing with the use of marketing advertisement and stunning special effects, that people can’t wait to see it and want to view it at optimum quality.
Offers and extras such as two for one cinema tickets and special features on DVDs also provide dedicated audiences and fans with little enticements that intrigue and encourage them to spend more money of films and move away from new age methods. Issues that small production companies may face is competing with the huge media institutions and the increase of concentration media ownership. Nowadays the major film companies, Universal, Disney, Working Title, Paramount and 20th Century dominant the market and reduce the possibility of small independent companies to make their name and ever compare to the scale of these blockbusters. Smaller production companies are less likely to get their work shown cinemas or be able to afford the fancy equipment or advertisement that would help them achieve a large audience. They will also have films that don’t contain the famous actors or directors that pull in a large fan base. However the rise of technology may actually have help small production companies, as with sites such as YouTube and Vimeo short films and clips can be easily and quickly shared to lots of people online. Although online as well they will still be up against the big movies and more developed companies. Overall I believe that the key issues for media ownership in the film industry, is a company being able to know its audience and truly understand what they want from a film. Although they also require funds and the technology to produce their ideas and share them with the world, with the example of Walt Disney’s ‘John Carter,’ merely having a large budget doesn’t determine its success.
With the increase of piracy and technological convergence, owners are faced with difficult decisions as to what films will do well and which techniques to use to produce them (e.g. special effects, Digital filming, and settings). Unfortunately institutions will never be able to truly predict what will be popular or not, and so they rely on experience and market research to establish preference of audiences and prevail.