“Media production is dominated by global institutions, which sell their products and services to national audiences.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
In general, global institutions do appear to dominate media production, an institution is an recognised organisation which is entrenched within society. For example, in film, Disney is a major player owning over 4 of there own studios. However, small national companies are not entirely out of the picture. In 2011, for example, Bedlam Productions and See Saw Films, both small UK companies, achieved massive success with ‘The Kings Speech’, proving that small, national companies can also reach global audiences. In this essay I'll be using my two case studies Skyfall and The Kings Speech to answer the question.
One of the global institutions that dominate media productions is Sony a compony who have produced and distributed many different films over the years. Because of their success they can afford to use both horizontal and vertical marketing to make their institutions’ name become recognised and by doing this it enhances their growth. Skyfall (directed by Sam Mendes 2012) is an example of one of the great success of Sony as it was positively received by critics and at the box office, grossing over $951 million worldwide, and is thus far the 18th highest grossing film of all time, and became the highest-grossing film of all-time in the UK, the highest-grossing film in the James Bond series, and the highest-grossing film worldwide for Sony Pictures.
However, it is possible for smaller businesses to sell their products successfully; in 2011 for example Bedlam Productions and See-Saw Films with their box office success, ‘The King’s Speech.’ , both small UK companies achieved massive success with 'The Kings Speech', proving that small national companies can reach global audiences. ‘The Kings speech’ is a traditional British story, quite patriotic and played on this fact by casting famous British actors. For example Helen Bonham Carter and Colin Firth. ‘The Kings Speech’ reached global audiences with a production budget of £15m compared to the Skyfall budget of £150-200m.
Sony is deemed a global institution as it owns film companies such as Columbia Pictures, on demand videos, online games (e.g. psp, ps3), mobile entertainment and TV channels. Sony uses all the different media platforms to sell their films or games etc to their target audience who are predominantly teenagers and adults, they do this through horizontal integration- this is where a production company expands into other areas of one industry. Thus allowing the company to develop in a particular area of production or they can buy out another company that deals with these areas.
Both film companies used synergy method to distribute and sell their products. ‘The Kings Speech’ had interviews with famous actors that play characters, some of which are well know and may be role models for some people. However the methods of synergy used by MGM was much more advanced, as they used media synergy to market their film by working together with artists such as Adele who sung and co-wrote the iconic theme tune of the film and through video games and publicity stunts which was broadcasted to the world on television (at the London 2012 Olympics) and on social sites such as youtube.
New technology has allowed new marketing strategies across different media platforms through the convergence of technologies, hence the term cross media convergence. Skyfall used this convergence in the means of Facebook and Twitter links on their won website as well as an iPad application. Due to adult consumers increasingly spending more time on digital space and social media, it was important for Sony to use it advertise its brand in this environment.Skyfall has relied a lot on marketing and advertising and endorsements to get their film publicity, $28m of their budget came from their Heineken endorsement alone.
This shows the massive cost difference global institutions spend, also showing the massive budget differences to ‘The Kings Speech’ however a big budget for the marketing of this film would have been wasted as the target audience was an older demographic, patriotic citizens and royal enthusiasts such as the "Royal-family obsessed" Americans. Nevertheless, they still were able to market their film via cheaper ways such as newspaper advertisements and viral marketing.
Furthermore, due to the constant change and development of media it is now making it possible for films to be watched via different platforms such as on-demand, DVD's and via sites like Net flicks which now allows independent films to be seen and viewed thus suggesting that there is still a chance for the to break out into the industry.
To conclude I believe that media production isn’t all dominated by global institutions selling their products. As‘The Kings Speech’ is a perfect example of a film that was hugely successful and watched worldwide, regardless to the fact that wasn't produced in Hollywood and by someone who was in the "Big six." Therefore, suggesting that it is possible for independent films to get their films out, however this film was picked up by the Weinstein Brothers at a film festival, thus meaning if a independent film maker made a brought his/her film to the film festival and didn't get picked up it wouldn't be reduced, so the big producers still have the power in this particular industry.