Friday, 22 April 2016

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

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

Digital distribution is having increasingly significant effects on the marketing and consumption of media products in the film industry as it is evident that more people tend to watch films at home; whether through online streaming (i.e. Netflix) or on DVD. In recent years the technologies of digital distribution have developed and improvements have effected marketing of media products. Distributors market films using the latest software for designing high-concept film posters and trailers. I believe that digital distribution has a substantial influence on the marketing and consumption of media products and will continue to develop in years to come. I consider methods of marketing to reflect the choice and extent of digital distribution used in the process of getting a film to an audience.

In order to fully evaluate the extent to which digital distribution effects the marketing and consumption of media products, I am looking into 2 films that I have studied. 'Mad Max: Fury Road', an American film directed by George Miller and 'Ex Machina' a British film produced by DNA Films and Film 4 producers and directed by Alex Garland. Both films made healthy profits and succeeded in reaching their specific target audience. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' presents the story of a female warrior 'Furiosa' and her alliances on a pursuit of escape, it features successful and well-known actors; Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. 'Ex Machina' tells the story of a computer coder played by Domhall Gleeson and his experience with a bio-engineered robot, 'Ava', played by Alicia Vikander.

The marketing of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' relied hugely on its market research. The distributors found that a current area of the industry receiving great interest is online streaming. Digital distribution saves cost of marketing in taking advantage of VOD, by selling to Amazon Instant Video the distributors of 'Mad Max' saved some money on promoting the movie as Amazon does a lot of this for them in order to benefit themselves. This example of digital distribution reflects the affect it has on marketing as instead of spending extra time and money on advertising the movie, Amazon does this instead. The effect using this type of digital distribution meant the promoters of the movie focused on advertising the name of their movie in order to make their target market look for it and recognise it. Although, there was some additional advertising received in selling to Amazon, the distributors still used a massive amount of TV advertisement, a sum of $7 million was spent on television advertising of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'. Digital distribution like television trailers relieves the pressure off film posters because more people are likely to take notice of television advertisement. This effects marketing because parts of the film are released unlike posters where a capturing and enticing photo attracts audiences.

Digital film is a modern and cheaper route into film producing. Steve McQueen believes that the reason it is so successful is due to the  money being made out of it which

Consumption of media products also acts in response to digital distribution as the way the film is experienced through distribution gives an immediate impression of the movie. With the use of VOD, consumers will see the movie advertised as a product of Amazon Instant Video therefore will register the idea that the movie must be worth watching and a popular movie due to the positive and widely held reputation of Amazons online service. 'Mad Max' is an example of this as this film would not successfully appeal to all audiences but due to its support from a popular service it would encourage people to watch it. Also, digital distribution allows television to play a huge part of the films marketing methods. The distributors are able to directly target their target market through television interviews, this exposure to the movie allows fans of the actors to receive a more personal promotion of the movie which will entice them to see the movie. For example, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander did an interview on 'Ex Machina' on MTV. This would have pushed the movie into the consumption of a younger audience (between ages 15 to 25) and made it more appealing than perhaps a movie trailer as it is more friendly and light hearted.

A modernised element of digital distribution is the filming on digital, the first film to be fully shot on digital was in 2002, George Lucas' Star Wars Episode II- Attack of the Clones. It cost the producers of the Star Wars movie $16,000, a substantially smaller number than films shot on film. The impending argument presents the fact that movies are less of a risk, producers and directors don't work as hard on set because the fear of creating a bad movie is no longer a strong factor. However, a positive to this smaller expense gives independent films a better chance of success, if an aspiring film maker has a worthy film idea they can film it without too high a cost.

In terms of consumption, there are an increasing amount of websites that enable the public to stream and download movies for free, this means less money is being put back into the film industry. Piracy is a very easy activity which is difficult to defeat because digital distribution provides ways in which the content can be copied quickly. This is especially a negative for smaller budget movies like 'Ex Machina' with a small budget of £10 million. The profit made back from the movie will be smaller due to illegal streaming. This has an impact and lasting effect on marketing and consumption as film companies need to ensure that it is easy and accessible for movies to be bought and viewed at home in order to maximize prevention of piracy.

'Ex Machina' had an localized viral marking campaign and effectively advertised through social media, an example of digital distribution. This allowed both 'Mad Max' and 'Ex Machina' to take advantage of free or cheap advertising. It also ensured that consumption of the movie would be very modern, interactive, immediate and 'cool'. Therefore, appealing to a wide range of people. 'Ex Machina' launched a variety of social media acounts; the most successful were its instagram account and tinder account. The unsual marketing of the film created a huge amount of 'buzz', this 'buzz' ensured the consumption of the movie was mysterious and unique from other movies. 'Ex Machina' used digital initiative creating modern accounts on popular applications. This enabled the crew of 'Ex Machina' to exploit social media to promote the film with either very small costs or for free to its target market.

Digital cinema projection has increased over the last decade. 'Mad Max' and 'Ex Machina' were both filmed with a digital camera. The digital release of these films meant distributing films to cinemas was of lower costs, therefore digital distribution would have saved the distributors of these movies a large amount of money. Digital Screen Network has effected the consumption of media products as it has anabled a wider choice of films for audiences, offering them to see smaller budget movies like ;Ex Machina'. 'Ex Machina' opened on just 4 screens then piggy backed the 'Avengers' sequel by increasing the number of screens it was shown on as 'Avengers' decreased. It gradually built to over 2,000 screens by its sixth week on 'the big screen'. Distribution plays a key role in the success of a film. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' used a wide release on many IMAX screens. On the 14th May 2015 'Mad Max: Fury Road' opened on 12,000 screens in 48 countries. In the United States and Canada the movie opened on 3,702 screens and earned $16.77 million on its opening day. This is similar to other blockbusters like 'Transformers age of Extinction' and 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'.

Evidently, digital distribution certainly affects the marketing and consumption of media products as it develops the process of promotion and the remaining needs of the target market.Marketing adapts to the outcome and restrictions or opportunities of digital distribution. Consumption is more controlled and specific to the way the movie wants to be portrayed to different areas of its target market.

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