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Digital Disribution Essay

To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the area you have studied?

Digital distribution involves the many platforms available that allows audiences to view films. Before the invention of the internet and viewing methods such as DVDs, the only way that people could go and view a film would be at the cinema. In that day and age, films would be distributed by huge wheels of film being sent around the country to cinemas. These were very expensive and could very easily be damaged, which could ruin the viewing experience for the audience very easily. This method also meant that only a limited number of cinemas could show a film at the same time as there were limited numbers of the reels. Along with the internet came a much more efficient system. Films can now be sent on secure files over the internet; this means that many more cinemas can play the film at once, they are of a higher quality and there is a reduced risk of damage that could have previously potentially ruined your cinema experience. Since then, many other ways for audiences to view and consume films have come about, such as: DVDs, Blu Rays, Video on Demand services, plus much more. Films have also become much easier for audiences to consume through technical convergence as new technologies have come together to create a new way of doing something. Almost everybody owns at least one device that can connect to the internet and so these new consumer methods are now available at the click of a button. Companies can also use digital distribution for marketing; this is especially used by the larger media conglomerates, the Big Six. These larger conglomerates have a much higher budget and so they often distribute their films through both digital and theatrical markets in order to target a much larger and broader audience, which also gives them more opportunity to market and advertise.

An example of a member of the Big Six, Warner Bros, using their power in the media hierarchy to their advantage when coming to digital distribution is for the film ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. This tentpole film was released for theatrical consumption on the 13th of December 2012 for Europe and the 14th for India, Canada and the United States. The opening weekend at cinemas across the globe earned $222.6 million. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ was the 15th film in history to reach $1 billion. This success may have been aided by the marketing of the film through theatrical trailers before other similar films. The trailer was first released on the  21 December 2011 in the US before ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, distributed by another member of the Big Six… Paramount Pictures. This was a similar film and so Warner Bros used targeted advertising in order to get the word of the film across to their target audience. However, the company also released the trailer on the internet through untargeted advertising in an attempt to broaden the audience. At the same point of the theatrical release, three video games were also released in attempt to encourage people to view the film. The member of the Big Six, Warner Bros, also distributed the film through non theatrical exhibition. On the 19th of March 2013, the tentpole film was released on DVD, Blu Ray and Blu Ray 3D in the US. During the first week of release, 1,073,815 units were sold. The film was then released on DVD on the 8th of April 2013 in the UK. In order to encourage more people to spend on non theatrical release further down the line, on the 5th of November 2013, a DVD and Blu Ray option was released with 13 minutes of additional footage and three bonus discs containing approximately nine hours of special features. This further encouraged people to buy the DVDs and could be done due to the large budget of the conglomerate distributor. Although the popularity of the film is a soaring success for Warner Bros; this could also be seen as a disadvantage as with the simple search of “The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Online”, many free online piracy sites appear such as ‘Vodzilla’ and ‘themovienetwork.com’. These sites have come about due to the invention and freedom of the internet and so therefore steal the profits from the conglomerates hands. Viewing experience on sites such as these for consumers is also particularly low with poor quality, however this does not stop people from using them rather than paying to see the film through theatrical or legitimate non theatrical exhibition.

However, not all companies can afford to go about distribution in the same way as conglomerates from the Big Six due to their limited finance and budgets. ‘A Field In England’ overcame this problem by using an innovative method of release called day and date release; this meant that on the 5th of July 2013, ‘A Field In England’ was available to watch on cinema screens, DVD, VOD and free terrestrial broadcast on Film 4. The film was shown on 17 independent cinema screens and on the opening weekend took £21,399 in theatrical revenues from 17 venues. It was also available on Freeview on Film 4; this meant that a much wider audience could watch the film for free on television as some of the population may not have Sky and so would not have been able to view the film if it had been available to view on Sky. Even though this was the case, 77% of the cinema audience said they knew it was available free on television. The film averaged 367,000 viewers during the Film4 free screening, representing a 3.13% share of television audience – up 8% for that slot in the schedule in terms of audiences and 13% on share. The total television reach of the film was 918,000 viewers, or 1.8% of the population. Combined HMV and Amazon DVD and Blu-Ray sales on Friday and Saturday reached 1,462 with Blu-Ray (which is more expensive) outselling DVD. The film was also the most watched on Film4OD during the full three days of the opening weekend. The release method benefited the profits made by the film as it broadened the target audience and allowed many more people to view it than if it had been distributed traditionally. This method not only allowed people skeptical about the film to watch it for free, but it allowed the audience to choose which environment they preferred most for their viewing experience. The innovative release method also caught the eyes of many and so was included in many newspaper articles and radio broadcasts alongside a large amount of online attention; this spread the word about the film and so encouraged more to go and watch it… further broadening the target audience.

Another example of a film released in a similar way to ‘A Field In England’ is ‘A Late Quartet’. The film was released simultaneously in theatres, on Sky Box Office, on the Curzon Home Cinema VOD site and through FilmFlex services. The release aimed to create a ‘premium’ window of theatrical and key VOD services, keeping DVD and other on–demand releases in their later conventional window. The aim was to break even on theatrical revenues and to add 10,000 buys across all the non– theatrical platforms, generating £50,000 to the bottom line (assuming a 50–50 share of £100,000 total revenues). The marketing and distribution budget was more than £200,000, including £100,000 support from the BFI Distribution Fund. Curzon Film World had predicted 10,000 sales on all non–theatrical platforms but ended with 3,000 rentals and 2,000 downloads from Sky, 300 views on Curzon Home Cinema and 705 from FilmFlex. However on the other hand, the £520,375 taken theatrically is more than half of the US takings, well over the 10% usually expected of such releases. It could be argued that even if the film was produced and distributed by a member of the Big Six it may not have created much more revenue as the reduced revenue may have been because of either the content of the plot itself or the target audience. Therefore, the release of the film using the day and date release method allowed a much larger audience to enjoy and consume the film.

Another example of an innovative way that a smaller company has overcome the struggle of the domination of larger conglomerates within the Big Six is Red State by Kevin Patrick Smith. In 2011, Kevin Smith returned to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA. Here, Smith showed his latest creation, ‘Red State’. Red State is a 2011 American independent horror action film based on the Westboro Baptist Church. At the festival, Smith screened the film and then began a presentation. In this thirty minute speech, Smith shared his views about how hard it is now to make it into the film world and release a film and how the independent film genre “is dying”. He then explained how Red State had a production budget of $4 million, Smith saw this as a good figure and okay amount to retain back. However, he then continued to explain how the advertising and investing of the film would be a further $20 million, therefore meaning that the film would have costed $24 million to produce and advertise. Smith then expressed his disgust at this and surprised many with his decision to take the investing and advertising aspect into his own hands with his own production company, ‘Smod Films’. Smith had previously created an interest and audience using his ‘Smodcast’ which gave him a strong starting point. Smith’s aim was to set up home cinemas and screen it across the US. He also wanted to throw no advertisement towards the film,  but just to tour with it. During the lifetime of the film, only $1,104,682 was received; this was only approximately a quarter of the price of creating it. In his first screening, the film managed to raise $204,230. Red State generated the least for profits and ratings out of all of Smith’s films.This therefore shows that Smith’s individual release was most probably not the best thing for the film when considering figures and statistics. However, it clearly displays how independent filmmakers can create and release their films without a third member party. Although the film release was not as successful as films produced and distributed by conglomerates in the Big Six, the amount of money spent on both production and distribution of the film was a small fraction of the money spent on producing or distributing alone on larger tentpole films.

Smaller companies can also go about releasing the film solely through non theatrical exhibition in an attempt to overcome the domination of media conglomerates. An example of this is ‘Special Correspondents’. At first, in November 2014, it was rumoured that ‘Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions’ had purchased the film rights for the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and South Africa. However, in April 2015, these rumours were shut down as it was announced that the US VOD company, Netflix, had pre-bought the distribution rights for the whole world for $12 million. The film then had it’s world premier at the ‘Tribeca Film Festival’ on the 22nd of April 2016; this was followed by an audience discussion with the cast members. Following this, Special Correspondents was released a week later on the 29th of April 2016. The users of the online streaming site were on average around the right age for the target audience of the film; this meant that by distributing the film on Netflix, the company were directly targeting the correct audience. With technical convergence and the increasingly common attitude towards owning gadgets, Netflix is available to anyone at the click of a button. As well as this, the film was featured in the recommended section for millions of users and so the film was being consumed by a much higher figure. The fact that the film would only be available on Netflix also caught the attention of many and so the creators of the film were receiving advertisement and marketing through the distribution method alone. By distributing exclusively to Netflix, the ‘Special Correspondents’ team were avoiding the larger media conglomerates, which increased the success of their film release significantly.

The many different platforms of digital distribution has changed the way in which films can be marketed,  produced, distributed and consumed. With the help of technical convergence, independent filmmakers and smaller distribution companies now hold more of a chance of a successful release under the domination of the Big Six conglomerates who have distributed 90% of films. This is because there are now many more ways in how a distributer can release their film, whether it be through theatrical exhibition in the cinema or through non theatrical exhibition through methods such as DVDs, Blu Ray, VoD or online streaming. However, these more free methods of distribution has also impacted the industry in a negative sense; this is because it is now much easier for people to pirate films and distribute them illegally. The increased availability of methods for distribution, such as day and date release, has also encouraged guerilla filmmaking. This is because with improved technology that is available to almost anyone mixed with the independent distribution methods that can be achieved on a low budget, people are excited by the idea of creating and distributing their own creation. With this, people are overcoming the concentration of ownership of the larger conglomerates. In the future it could be predicted that the varied digital distribution methods will further adapt, which may lead to the decrease of domination from large conglomerates and result in an increase of guerilla filmmaking and independent releases.

 

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Media Ownership Essay

To what extent does media ownership have an impact on the successful distribution of media products in the media area that you are supposed to have studied?

Film

Media ownership has a fairly significant impacts on the successful distribution of films. The Big Six media conglomerates are responsible for 90% of all films produced; this means that the Big Six companies (Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios) hold the majority of power when it comes to producing and distributing films. The conglomerate companies achieve this high percentage of ownership over films through a method called concentration of ownership, which means that the Big Six buy the smaller companies which therefore results in them dominating the market. The conglomerates also use a method called symbiosis, which allows them to join together with another conglomerate in order to receive advantages and profits for both companies involved whilst also sharing the risk. The conglomerates also tend to release numerous smaller films alongside their release of a large tentpole film; this is to make sure that even if a smaller film fails then profits from the others will keep the company out of debt and ready to finance the next larger film. Therefore, the tentpole films produced by media conglomerates have a higher chance of becoming successful over films released by less financed and well known companies. This is due to the fact that the companies within the category of the Big Six are more financed than smaller companies. They also hold a high standard reputation and have more connections and opportunities when it comes to people involved with the film and advertising.

An example of a larger tentpole film is “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. This tentpole film was produced using horizontal cooperation through New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The two production companies joined together in producing the film as they are on the same level of the hierarchy in the film producing industry and so could share the risk and finance through working together. By working together they could also receive more benefits. New Line became a unit of Warner Bros. Entertainment in March 2008. The company maintains separate development, production, marketing, distribution and business affairs operations, but coordinates those functions with Warner Bros. to maximise film performance and operating efficiencies. New Line produced the Oscar Award-winning The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which generated a combined worldwide box office of almost $3 billion (and an additional $3 billion in consumer products and home entertainment revenue). This was followed by a trilogy of films based on The Hobbit, which is currently closing in on the $3 billion mark in global receipts. The film was distributed by one of the members of the Big Six, Warner Bros. When Warner Bros. decided to make J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit into movies, the gamble was a little smaller than usual; this is because Peter Jackson had already turned three Lord of the Rings movies into massive hits and a return to Middle Earth would certainly attract audiences. However, with a decade or so of new technology to work with, those movies were going to be expensive. They were going to be even more expensive when the decision was made to do not two, but three films in the series. However, due to the ownership of one of the main media conglomerates, this large expense was not a problem. A smaller film company would not have been able to produce a film on the same scale as this one without integrating horizontally due to the need of high finances. However, around the same amount of money spent on the production is often matched on the budget for the distribution. Warner Bros were able to finance this without integrating with another company due to their status of a conglomerate and the profits that they receive from other films.

However, for the remaining 10% of films produced and distributed smaller firms are in control. These smaller firms do not hold the same power and profit margin as the larger Big Six companies and so may distribute the films in different ways in order to overcome this problem. Often, when producing and distributing a larger film that would cost more, companies on the same level of the hierarchy join together in order to share the risk and achieve their goals to the best of their abilities; this is called synergy as without the co operation, the companies would not have been able to achieve what they could than when they work together. An example of this is the independent film, ‘A Field In England’. The innovative release method of ‘A Field In England’ meant that many companies were involved as the film was to be shown across various media platforms all on one day, the 5th of July 2013. These include Picturehouse, Channel 4 and Film 4. However, a very important ideal in making a method such as work successfully and fairly is the idea of co operation and equality. There was a fear of taking too much of the burden of risk, exacerbated by the fear of ‘cannibalisation’ of audiences when running alongside free TV. The strategy to deal with the concerns over ‘split rights’ was based on creating a ‘one pot’ derail, where everyone shared the risks and the rewards across all of the exploitation areas. The approach was valuable in encouraging all parties involved to throw all of their energy into all aspects of the release. As well as this, teamwork and co operation can be seen when Wheatley and the whole cast supported the release plan and mobilised their active social media base in order to ensure that they could tweet or post trailers and updates of what they are doing and when the film will be out on what platforms. The co operation means that together the companies can take the same levels of risk and finance as a conglomerate within the category of the Big Six. The other key party was Picturehouse, both as exhibitor and distributor. It helped devise, refine and execute the strategy and it shared the risk with Film4 on all aspects of the release. Another major advantage provided by Picturehouse was the local loyalty towards cinemas around the UK. In comparison to other companies involved, Picturehouse took the experience further. They offered a relaxed cinema experience with food and refreshments; this enticed more of the audience into the cinema as they were paying for the experience. They also removed one of the key obstacles to any day and date release in the form of a cinema boycott because they are a smaller distribution company and so they aren’t competing with any larger companies, such as those involved in the Big Six, and so can afford to distribute and exhibit the film in independent cinemas as a result of this. Picturehouse executives believed that the film, more or less, reached the box office number that they forecasted… £25,000 to £35,000.

Another example of a film released in a similar way to ‘A Field In England’ is ‘A Late Quartet’. The film was released simultaneously in theatres, on Sky Box Office, on the Curzon Home Cinema VOD site and through FilmFlex services. The release aimed to create a ‘premium’ window of theatrical and key VOD services, keeping DVD and other on–demand releases in their later conventional window. The aim was to break even on theatrical revenues and to add 10,000 buys across all the non– theatrical platforms, generating £50,000 to the bottom line (assuming a 50–50 share of £100,000 total revenues). The marketing and distribution budget was more than £200,000, including £100,000 support from the BFI Distribution Fund. Curzon Film World had predicted 10,000 sales on all non–theatrical platforms but ended with 3,000 rentals and 2,000 downloads from Sky, 300 views on Curzon Home Cinema and 705 from FilmFlex. However on the other hand, the £520,375 taken theatrically is more than half of the US takings, well over the 10% usually expected of such releases. This shows that spending less money on the production and distribution of a film can effect the success of a film, but a lot of money does not need to be spent on a film for it to succeed within it’s level on the hierarchy of the film market. On the other hand, it could be argued that even if the film was produced and distributed by a member of the Big Six it may not have created much more revenue as the reduced revenue may have been because of either the content of the plot itself or the target audience.

Another example of an innovative way that a smaller company has overcome the struggle of the domination of larger conglomerates within the Big Six is Red State by Kevin Patrick Smith. In 2011, Kevin Smith returned to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA. Here, Smith showed his latest creation, ‘Red State’. Red State is a 2011 American independent horror action film based on the Westboro Baptist Church. At the festival, Smith screened the film and then began a presentation. In this thirty minute speech, Smith shared his views about how hard it is now to make it into the film world and release a film and how the independent film genre “is dying”. He then explained how Red State had a production budget of $4 million, Smith saw this as a good figure and okay amount to retain back. However, he then continued to explain how the advertising and investing of the film would be a further $20 million, therefore meaning that the film would have costed $24 million to produce and advertise. Smith then expressed his disgust at this and surprised many with his decision to take the investing and advertising aspect into his own hands with his own production company, ‘Smod Films’. Smith had previously created an interest and audience using his ‘Smodcast’ which gave him a strong starting point. Smith’s aim was to set up home cinemas and screen it across the US. He also wanted to throw no advertisement towards the film,  but just to tour with it. During the lifetime of the film, only $1,104,682 was received; this was only approximately a quarter of the price of creating it. In his first screening, the film managed to raise $204,230. Red State generated the least for profits and ratings out of all of Smith’s films.This therefore shows that Smith’s individual release was most probably not the best thing for the film when considering figures and statistics. However, it clearly displays how independent filmmakers can create and release their films without a third member party. Although the film release was not as successful as films produced and distributed by conglomerates in the Big Six, the amount of money spent on both production and distribution of the film was a small fraction of the money spent on producing or distributing alone on larger tentpole films.

It could be argued that the nature of a production and distribution company has a fairly large impact on the success of a film. If a film is owned by a media conglomerate from the category of the Big Six then it is more likely to be considered as a tentpole film due to the amount of money that can be spent on both production and distribution. These larger companies hold a reputation of producing good films and so people can rely on them to carry on producing good films; this means that people are more likely to feel compelled to watch a film by a larger conglomerate rather than a smaller independent company. The conglomerate members of the Big Six dominate 90% of the film industry and so smaller firms have to use methods such as synergy, symbiosis and horizontal integration in order to get over this. However, even with methods such as these, films produced and distributed by smaller firms are often no where near as successful as large tentpole films released by members of the Big Six and so it could be said that the nature of a media ownership company does effect the success and broadness of the film’s release.

 

New Technologies Essay

To what extent has the internet played a significant role in the marketing and exchange of media products in the area you have studied?

Film

Towards the end of the 1890s, motion picture cameras were invented and film production companies began to surface. A key aspect to releasing a film is raising awareness of the film through marketing and advertisement. In the early stages of film there was no internet and so films were marketed through physical items such as posters, trailers before viewings of other films at the cinema and word of mouth. Exchange and distribution of film was carried out by sending huge reels of film around the country; this was difficult, unreliable and expensive. If people wanted to see a film, they had to visit the cinema. However, marketing and exchange of films changed entirely due to the invention of the internet. This new technology has triggered many new forms of marketing and exchange and has played a significant role in the industry for better and for worse…

With the invention of the internet, soon came the introduction of various social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The easiest and most efficient way to access large numbers of users would be via social media.  The aim for marketing a film is to get the word out about the film to as many people as possible and so this is a perfect way for films to receive advertisement. For the independent film, ‘A Field In England’, the director Ben Wheatley used his 12,000 followers on the social media account of Twitter in order to raise awareness regarding the release of the film. An advantage of this is also that Wheatley was directly marketing towards the target audience of the film as the people following him on Twitter would have been fans of his work. This is a more direct way of marketing in comparison to in the past when posters around the streets were aimed at everyone passing by. Due to the worldwide, ever increasing use of the internet and social media, all people involved within the film could use their social media accounts in order to create a buzz surrounding the film. On the Friday of the release, ‘A Field In England’ was trending at number one on Twitter which contributed to the fact that social media was the primary source of awareness with 54% of the under 35 year old category and 35% of the over 35 year olds saying this is how they came across the film and it’s innovative release method. On the 23rd of March 2016, Ricky Gervais debuted the first official trailer for the film ‘Special Correspondents’ on his Twitter account. This meant that millions of people from all over the world could have access to the trailer at any moment in time. In comparison to this, before the internet, trailers may have been shown in cinemas before other films; this meant that there was a limited amount of people being able to watch the trailer and it could only be accessed through a trip to the cinema. The film’s Facebook page for ‘A Late Quartet’ accumulated 10,500 likes; this would have largely increased the word of mouth aspect to the film as friends would see on their timeline if someone had liked the page and so once again is spreading awareness of the film before it had been released. For ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, the social media aspect of marketing was pushed even further as by simply liking the Facebook page, fans gained access to exclusive content, giveaways, games and updates on the films progress. This allowed general buzz about the film to spread like wildfire before it had even been released. These features also allows the fans to feel more involved and so much more likely to watch the film. Social media is a quick and easy way to generate awareness surrounding a film, it is often considered as a fairly important part of modern day marketing and without the internet none of it would be possible.

The famous video sharing company that is ‘Youtube’ was created on the 14th of February 2005. Youtube allows people to upload and watch videos at anytime and anyplace. Because of this, many film companies use the site to share their upcoming film’s trailer as anyone can access it at the touch of a button. For the film ‘A Late Quartet’, it was heavily promoted through trailers which were uploaded onto Youtube. The official trailer for the film accumulated 155,000 view; this allowed many people from all around the world to have an idea about what the film is about and why they may want to go and watch it. However, this method of marketing was not too successful for this particular film as many of the target audience, in the elder generation, may not have been users of Youtube. If the marketing was more physical by using methods such as posters and trailers before similar films in the cinema, alike what was done before the internet, then it may have created more of a buzz as news may have reached the target audience. On the other hand, perhaps the most useful tool for the ‘Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”s marketing team was Youtube. This is because it allowed fans to get as much sneak peak, behind the scenes footage as possible. Official trailers were released via Youtube, in addition to production videos. The official Hobbit Youtube channel worked hand in hand with Peter Jackson’s personal Youtube channel in order to promote the film. Video sharing sites such as Youtube not only allows people to learn large amounts of information about the film with one click of a button, but it also allows companies to work together in order to broaden the target audience. Youtube could also play film’s trailers before other videos on the site which would also largely increase the awareness of the film but also broaden the target audience. Youtube could also be used as a fanbase as fans upload videos about their opinions and views upon the film that may encourage more to watch it. Youtube brings efficiency and opportunity to marketing of a film.

With new websites emerging each day, it is very easy to create your own website. Film companies may do such thing in order to market their upcoming film. For the ‘Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, the website served as a hub to tie all of the online marketing together in one place. In addition to all of the photos, videos, downloads, and information fans could possibly want, the site also features interactive games and activities like ‘Recipes from Middle Earth’, the Dwarf Combat Training game, and the ‘Riddles in the Dark’ puzzle game. The site brought together not only Hobbit fans, but Lord of the Rings fans as well. The site added interactive marketing strategies such as games that allowed people to feel more involved. For ‘A Field in England’ one particular success story in helping the film to attract a wider audience and create a larger buzz by using the new technology of the internet was to do with online masterclass. By the middle of October, it had attracted 80,000 page views and 54,000 visits with an impressive 34% following links tho screenings or purchasing options. Also, there was a high level of engagement from visitors to the masterclass with 15,000 of the visitors generated 23,000 video views. The increased common attitude towards owning a smartphone, tablet, laptop or device that can connect to the internet also meant that a wider range of people would have been able to easily and efficiently access the masterclass videos made by Wheatley. Film companies can use websites in order to find innovative, new ways to attract a wider audience. This is made much easier by the internet as it is accessible to millions, quick and efficient.

The introduction of the internet has not only transformed the way that films are marketed, it has also had a significant role in the changing of how film are exchanged and distributed. In the past, before the introduction of the internet, huge wheels of film were sent around the country to cinemas. These were very expensive and could very easily be damaged, which could ruin the viewing experience for the audience very easily. This method also meant that only a limited number of cinemas could show a film at the same time as there were limited numbers of the reels. Along with the internet came a much more efficient system. Films can now be sent on secure files over the internet; this means that many more cinemas can play the film at once, they are of a higher quality and there is a reduced risk of damage that could have previously potentially ruined your cinema experience. The internet has not only changed the distribution of films for the cinemas, it has also opened up a whole new world of methods of watching films from the comfort of your own home…

One way how this has changed is through various Video on Demand (VoD) services. As the amount of active users on the internet increases, as do the range of sites and technologies available to people surrounding the internet. For example, there are many different types of VoD sites, that can be accessed through smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, smart TVs and so on. This evolution has meant that people no longer only have the choices of visiting the cinema to see a film or waiting for the release of the DVD and having to visit the local Blockbusters with the hope that the film you want to watch has not already been rented out. They now have a broad range of options to choose from. An example of this is for the film ‘A Field in England’; this film was released in the style of a day-and-date release. This meant that viewers could have the luxury of choosing how they wanted to watch the film all on the same day. Thanks to the invention of the internet and increased use of technology, viewers could choose to view ‘A Field in England’ online. Out of all methods of watching the film, ‘A Field in England’ was most watched on Film4OD, which accounted for 30% of it’s 4OD weekend sales. Initially, Wheatley and others had suspected the film to reach figures of around 2,000 of VOD. However, this was exceeded because the VOD rental figures were well ahead of the 2,000 forecast with 3,133 on iTunes, 1,746 on Virgin Media, and 714 on Film4OD. With the backing and financing of Film 4, this meant that Channel 4 (with a viewing audience of 23 million)  could use advert space in order to generate more of a buzz for the film. They released adverts in-between shows on 4OD or Channel 4 and Film4 in order to increase awareness of the film; this also helped other parties involved as they could advertise about it being in the cinema or iTunes etc. Due to improved technology, millions of people own a television and Channel 4 is available to everyone. Therefore, the film would have been being advertised to millions and millions of people nationally! Even films with a much older target audience, such as ‘A Late Quartet, are aware of the need to target the potentially younger VoD audience. Distributors for ‘A Late Quartet’ chose to spend £40,000 on online and VoD marketing and distribution as an ever increasing number of people are using the internet and on demand sites. However, they were correct to think about the older generation not using the internet as much because Curzon Film World had predicted 10,000 sales on all non–theatrical platforms but ended with 3,000 rentals and 2,000 downloads from Sky, 300 views on Curzon Home Cinema and 705 from FilmFlex. This could show that although the internet has had a fairly significant role in changing the way that films have been marketed and exchanged, it has not entirely been altered as the internet could be considered to many of the older generation as a new and mysterious thing. However, on the other hand, before the invention of the internet, it would have been impossible for viewers to have the same flexibility as they do nowadays. The internet has had a hugely significant role in changing how modern films are exchanged and distributed.

An example of a subscription VoD service that has changed the way of distributing films is Netflix. Netflix began as a service that mailed the DVDs to the home of the purchaser, however as the internet developed and became more popular Netflix altered their methods so that films could be seen anyplace and anywhere when subscribed to their site. An example of how the exchange and distribution of films has been changed due to sites such as these on the internet is with the film ‘David Brent: Life on the Road’.  Netflix won the rights to distribute the film in all territories except the UK, Ireland and Australia. In America the first full trailer was released by Netflix on the 17th of January 2017. The full film was then released through the popular VOD service on the 10th of February. Ricky Gervais was “glad” about this direction for the film as he viewed Netflix to be the “perfect platform”. It could be argued that the release of the film through Netflix allowed the film to reach as many people as possible around the world; this is because Netflix is the “world’s leading internet television network with over 86 million members in over 190 countries”. Another example of a film distributed by the subscription VoD service is ‘Special Correspondents’. Netflix, pre-bought the distribution rights for ‘Special Correspondents’ for the entirety of the world for $12 million. At the dawn of the creation of the internet, the thought of a film being successful and making large amounts of money, $5,511,343 for ‘David Brent: Life on the Road’ at the box office, from being distributed on a website must have been unthinkable. However, the rising popularity of the internet has brought about various features such as Netflix that have changed the way that films are exchanged and distributed forever.

The internet has played a very significant role in changing how films are marketed and exchanged nowadays. It has acted as a root and underlying factor in the creation of many features such as social media, VoD services and individual sites. The internet has also added efficiency and reliability to marketing of films but also how they are exchanged from the creators to the distributors. However, the internet has not only made a positive impact in how films are now marketed and exchanged. The main issue surrounding the internet for the film industry is piracy. With improved technology and the freedom of the internet, it has become fairly easy for people to make copies of films, which then results in films being watched by people for free and nothing going back into the film industry. Websites such as ‘123movies’ and ‘Putlocker’ are used frequently by a huge proportion of the population. The film industry are losing profits and numbers due to websites such as these; this could prove to be a much larger problem in the future and so this problem needs to be tackled as soon as possible. Either way, the creation of the internet has played a hugely significant role in changing how films are marketed and exchanged. However, the internet is still fairly new and so this could simply be the lead up to much bigger and better things for the film industry.