Whilst the following is mainly about film we can easily apply it to music.
From Edusites Media:
Jill Nelmes, in ‘An Introduction to Film Studies’ defines synergy strategy as:
Combined or related action by a group of individuals or corporations towards a common goal, the combined effect of which exceeds the sum of the individual efforts. (Nelmes, 1996: 42)
Synergy can come in a number of different forms:
Companies pay to feature their product in a film, which often leads to a deal in which the film’s protagonist or other characters are featured in their advertising campaigns.
Promotional Partnerships, where the film or its characters will feature on existing products. This may be in the form of competitions.
Products based on the original, i.e. the Film. A film may be a spin-off of a television series, or a television series may be created as a spin-off of a film. We can also think of this as media convergence.
If a film is based on pre-existing material (for example a video game, novel or comic book) the pre-existing material is often re-released featuring imagery from the film on its cover, or a special edition is released in synch with the film’s scheduled cinematic release.
Companies created products specifically for the film, for example toys, calendars, video games. These products not only help market the film, but the audience’s knowledge of the film brings their awareness to the merchandise.
When distribution and some forms of exhibition are kept in-house, meaning other subsidiaries of the conglomerate (who owns the production company) distribute the film and create DVD releases of it.
We do not consider publicity (i.e. press appearances and interviews) as a form of synergythough.
Synergy is a common action of the multi-media conglomerates who own the Hollywood studios. Often they will incorporate products from their different subsidiaries. For example, one of their Studios will produce a film, one of their TV studios will create a spin-off series, and one of their games manufacturers will produce a game. This will benefit the conglomerate as their products will be cross-promoted by each other, multiplying the profits for the conglomerate. Remember conglomerates are horizontally and vertically integratedmeaning they have several companies in a number of different multi-media fields, which allows them easy access to synergy opportunities.
Looking at the synergy of particular case studies allows us to analyse the structure of Hollywood, how major high concept releases get the funding and profit they do and how they are able to dominate, through their distribution campaigns, over independent films. It is an important facet of Hollywood because it enables the conglomerates to continually accumulate large sum of profit, thus enabling them to continue to make major releases and dominate over the global market.
Another key issue with synergy is that it is in part responsible for the repetitive nature of Hollywood films. To encourage corporate partnerships, merchandise deals and other pre-sales, enabling large budgets to be sought means the films Hollywood produce have to be viewed as low-risk by the partners.
Safe films are those which seem to be almost guaranteed to succeed (remember there are never any guarantees in the film industry!). Partners and investors will want to see evidence that similar films have done well in the recent market, that the directors and stars’ recent films have been profitable and any pre-existing property or clear genre conventions help this.
Therefore, if you look at your local cinema listings, or a film magazine like Empire and Total Film for upcoming releases, you will see there are many similarities between the major Hollywood films. Filmmaking at this level is a business and films have been potential for synergy, therefore more potential for profit if they are safe investments.
Whilst we often say a film’s profit is dictated by the opening weekend box office figures; in today’s global society film’s often make as much, if not more profit, from the longevity of the film’s brand as a presence in the public sphere – this happens through synergy.
So to sum up:
- Synergy is an important part of a film’s marketing campaign- making the public aware of the film’s existence.
- Synergy is an integral reason for the success of the major conglomerates, who own Hollywood, and for their dominance over independents worldwide.
- Synergy is also a key reason for the studio’s preference towards safe films, because the safer the investment the more likely it is that they will be able to attract corporate partnerships.
- The synergy opportunities developed for a film can often be more profitable than the film itself and keep the film brand in the public sphere constantly- ideal if the studios are planning a sequel, which is more than common in contemporary Hollywood!