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Hannah Franks

To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of
media products in the area of media you have studied?
Digital distribution affects the marketing and consumption of media products
greatly in the modern world for the digital age is upon us and audiences today
rely on the use of the internet to consume the media they want for its the most
current and easily accessed medium available. However the use of the internet
for accessing films is destroying the traditional culture of exhibition viewing, but
this could just be an alteration the industry needs to evolve with the modern
Allowing a film to be distributed digitally results in smaller budget films being
recognised purely regarding talents including writing, acting and producing for
there is no need for the production company to be horizontally integrated with
big distribution companies to create a buzz around the film, for the quality of the
product will be the reason for popularity. This reduces bad films getting all the
attention just because they have a big distribution company and allowing all film
production companies to have a fairer chance at being successful. Niche films
can be produced with a smaller budget for they arent reliant on having the
money to distribute the film widely across cinemas, meaning more efforts can be
put into marketing the film to the target audience so they are fully aware of the
films release and features, resulting in the film gaining more popularity
compared to the traditional theatrical release. Kill List (2011) and Ex Machina
(2015) are both films aimed at niche markets for their cult film qualities,
meaning they relied on other distribution companies (Universal Studios for Ex
Machina and IFC Films and Studio Canal UK for Kill List) to attract a viewing
audience. For Ex Machina this method worked well as they made a profit of $21.9
million (Budget $15 million and Box office $36.9 million); this was because
Universal Studios is one of the Big 6 film companies, meaning their popularity
was inevitably going to gain Ex Machine the audience it needed for it to create a
profit, alongside the impressive product of the film anyway. However it didnt
work well for Kill List for they made a loss of $337,794 (budget $800,000 and Box
office $462,206) due to the fact the companies werent big enough to gain the
popularity required and the film didnt get the right theatrical reception to
receive a great audience viewing number. However, both Studio Canal and IFC
films are companies that concentrate on home cinema release and VOD,
meaning they were more inclined in the digital release of the film anyway. If the
films sole focus was put on the digital release it could have maximised its profits
further for they could have made the films online streaming data more
recognised, so a more varied audience could consume the film and less money
could be wasted in trying to gain an uncertain cinema response.
Both digital distribution and marketing have to synergise together for successful
consumption by the audience; this means that alongside the digital distribution a
strong marketing strategy has to be presented so that the audience is able to
recognise the film and not just dismiss is with the amount of vast unwanted
items online. This means the strategies need to be innovative and modern to fit

with the new type of exhibition and allow the internet to create the word of
mouth marketing that will increase the films success. An example of this is
during marketing of Ex Machina (2015) a campaign was created on Tinder of a
fake profile with a photo of the film's Swedish star Alicia Vikander and showed
her messaging potential daters. This guerrilla marketing strategy allowed the
film to attracted the attention it needed for the audience to audience to watch
the film, as the use of the internet created a deeper connection between the
viewer and the film, increasing consumption rating, showing that the use of
digital technology is important in the modern age. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
made great use of teaser and full trailers during the digital marketing of the film
as the trailers produced were so captivating and action-filled, it means the
audience could become engrossed into the product before it has been released,
increase consumption rates already. The distribution company (Warner Bros.
Pictures) also connected with the audience via Facebook and Twitter by asking
movie-related questions and drawing them into this fictional post-apocalyptic
world. The digital approach meant that the online audience could become aware
and interested onto the film before its release and decide then whether they
wanted to go to the cinema or wait and watch it online. However due to this
being a big blockbuster, many viewers went to the cinema as they wanted to be
able to up-to-date with the buzz around the film, meaning the digital distribution
side wouldnt initially be as popular, but would be to re-watch the film later on as
cinemas cannot provide this extended service, causing the digital distribution to
become more popular later on.
Digital distribution of films to cinema is extremely cost-effective when it comes
to the transportation of the product to cinemas, prior to the screening. This
distribution consists of the film being sent via the internet through a file, saving
transportation of 20-25kg of 35mm film, reducing costs on whole. This means
that the cinema release can become much quicker than usual films, allowing an
audience to consume films at a fast pace, and allow the period before second
release via DVD or VOD to be cut down from 3-6 months to 1-3 months. This
means a much more varied audience is able to watch more films as they dont
have go to the nearest cinema; they can watch the films from the comfort of
their own home through internet streaming.
However, this streaming does also have its disadvantages; the audience can be
quite limited to a younger, teenage market because they are acquired to cyber
activity and attracted to their being limited or no cost to streaming online; elder
generations are typically against internet viewing as it doesnt provide them the
importance of the film viewing becoming an event like going to the cinema does
and it is too complicated and therefore not worth it. This means film genres
become limited, causing a decrease in profits from the audience. If cinema
releases decrease worldwide then people in disadvantaged areas may not have
access to the internet and miss out on seeing any new films, decreasing their
quality of life.
Films like Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) clearly shows that digitally distributing a
film doesnt always cause a greater effect on consumption because if a film has
good production, distribution, a big budget and A-list stars (Mark Kermodes
rules), then it will still get the success in the cinema release. Fury Roads budget

was $150 million and box office figure was $374.7 million and premiered with an
out-of-competition screening at the 68th Cannes Film Festival, with viewing of
standard 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D and 4DX being available (Providing a revolutionary
cinematic experience which stimulates all five senses, the 4DX includes hightech motion seats and special effects including wind, fog, lightning, bubbles,
water, rain and scents). This shows that a film can still be enjoyed in its masses
by an audience in a cinema exhibition for its event features and that on a
cultural level, the online revolution hasnt taken the cinematic experience of
films away just yet and traditional distributors are introducing the 4DX
experience to deter the cyber evolution.
Overall, it is clear to see that digital distribution affects marketing and
consumption of media products quite largely when it comes to reaching a more
varied audience for smaller budget films and keeping current in modern culture,
but for high budget films the cinematic experience is too advanced and
enjoyable to miss.
Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production and exchange of
media texts in your chosen media area?

marks Evidence, Analysis, Argument
marks Examples
marks Terminology