Synergy

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:

Product Placement

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.

Tie-ins

Promotional Partnerships, where the film or its characters will feature on existing products. This may be in the form of competitions.

Spin-Offs

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.

Pre-Existing Property

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.

Merchandise

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.

Vertical Integration

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!
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Technological Convergence

Technological Convergence is an important aspect of understanding how technology has developed. This will be important for Section B: Institutions and Audiences.

Essentially, what we’re dealing with here is how one or more aspects of technology are convergence to one piece of hardware. The modern mobile phone and games console are great examples of technological convergence.

I found this presentation, which outlines it pretty good so let’s take a look:

definingmediaconvergence-140129223720-phpapp01

Our main question next is how does this relate to the music industry. To answer that we must consider how technological convergence affects music producers/artists/labels (the Institutions) and the consumer (the Audience)

From Wikipedia:

Technological convergence is the tendency that as technology changes, different technological systems sometimes evolve toward performing similar tasks.

Media convergence in this instance is defined as the interlinking of computing and other information technologies, media content, and communication networks that have arisen as the result of the evolution and popularization of the Internet as well as the activities, products and services that have emerged in the digital media space. Many experts[who?] view this as simply being the tip of the iceberg, as all facets of institutional activity and social life such as business, government, art, journalism, health, and education are increasingly being carried out in these digital media spaces across a growing network of information and communication technology devices.

Also included in this topic is the basis of computer networks, wherein many different operating systems are able to communicate via different protocols. This could be a prelude to artificial intelligence networks on the Internet eventually leading to a powerful superintelligence[2] via a technological singularity.

Convergent services, such as VoIP, IPTV, Smart TV, and others, tend to replace the older technologies and thus can disrupt markets. IP-based convergence is inevitable and will result in new service and new demand in the market.[3]

When the old technology converges into the public-owned common, IP based services become access-independent or less dependent. The old service is access-dependent.

Convergence culture

Henry Jenkins determines convergence culture to be the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want. The convergence culture is an important factor in transmedia storytelling. Convergence culture introduces new stories and arguments from one form of media into many. Because of this culture a single piece of media content is represented in multiple forms of media.[40][page needed] For instance, The Matrix starts as a film, which is followed by two other installments, but in a convergence culture it is not constrained to that form. It becomes a story not only told in the movies but in animated shorts, video games and comic books, three different media platforms. Online, a wiki is created to keep track of the story’s expanding canon. Fan films, discussion forums, and social media pages also form, expanding The Matrix to different online platforms. Convergence culture took what started as a film and expanded it across almost every type of media.[41]

Bert is Evil (images) Bert and Bin Laden appeared in CNN coverage of anti-American protest following September 11. The association of Bert and Bin Laden links back to the Ignacio’s Photoshop project for fun.[40][page needed]

Convergence culture is a part of participatory culture. Because average people can now access their interests on many types of media they can also have more of a say. Fans and consumers are able to participate in the creation and circulation of new content. Some companies take advantage of this and search for feedback from their customers through social media and sharing sites such as YouTube. Besides marketing and entertainment, convergence culture has also affected the way we interact with news and information. We can access news on multiple levels of media from the radio, TV, newspapers, and the internet. The internet allows more people to be able to report the news through independent broadcasts and therefore allows a multitude of perspectives to be put forward and accessed by people in many different areas. Convergence allows news to be gathered on a much larger scale. For instance, photographs were taken of torture at Abu Ghraib. These photos were shared and eventually posted on the internet. This led to the breaking of a news story in newspapers, on TV, and the internet.[41]

Media scholar Henry Jenkins has described the media convergence with participatory culture as:

…a “catalyst” for amateur digital film-making and what this case study suggests about the future directions popular culture may take. Star Wars fan films represent the intersection of two significant cultural trends—the corporate movement towards media convergence and the unleashing of significant new tools, which enable the grassroots archiving, annotation, appropriation, and recirculation of media content. These fan films build on long-standing practices of the fan community but they also reflect the influence of this changed technological environment that has dramatically lowered the costs of film production and distribution.[42]

Cell phone convergence[edit]

The social function of the cell phone changes as the technology converges. Because of technological advancement, cell phones function more than just as a phone. They contain an internet connection, video players, Mp3 players, and a camera. Another example, Rok Sako To Rok Lo (2004) was screened in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and other part of India through EDGE-enabled mobile phones with live video streaming facility.[40][page needed]

Social movement[edit]

The integration of social movement in cyberspace is one of the potential strategies of social movement in the age of media convergence. Because of the neutrality of the internet and the end-to-end design, the power structure of the internet was designed to avoid discrimination between applications. Mexico’s Zapatistas campaign for land rights was one of the most influential case in the information age; Manuel Castells defines the Zapatistas as “the first informational guerrilla movement”.[43] The Zapatista uprising had been marginalized by the popular press. The Zapatistas were able to construct a grassroots, decentralized social movement by using the internet. The Zapatistas Effect, observed by Cleaver,[44] continues to organize social movements on a global scale. A sophisticated webmetric analysis, which maps the links between different websites and seeks to identify important nodal points in a network, demonstrates that the Zapatistas cause binds together hundreds of global NGOs.[45] The majority of the social movement organized by Zapatistas targets their campaign especially against global neoliberalism.[46] A successful social movement not only need online support but also protest on the street. Papic wrote, “Social Media Alone Do Not Instigate Revolutions”, which discusses how the use of social media in social movements needs good organization both online and offline.[47]

A study title, “Journalism in the age of media convergence: a survey of undergraduates’ technology-related news habits”, concluded that several focus group respondents reported they generally did not actively engage in media convergence, such as viewing slide shows or listening to podcast that accompanied an online story, as part of their Web-based news consumption, a significant number of students indicated the interactive features often associated with online news and media convergence were indeed appealing to them.

Introducing Section B: Institutions and Audiences

Today we are starting Section B: Institutions and Audiences. This will be a Case Study based unit we will be working on until the exam in May.

Here some info from the specification:

Students should be prepared to understand and discuss the processes of production,
distribution, marketing and exchange as they relate to contemporary media institutions, as well as the nature of audience consumption and the relationships between audiences and institutions. In addition, candidates should be familiar with:

  • the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;
  • the importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing;
  • the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;
  • the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;
  • the importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;
  • the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;
  • the ways in which the students’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour

This unit will be approached through contemporary examples in the form of case studies based upon the following media area:

Music

A study of a particular record label within the contemporary music industry that targets a British audience, including its patterns of production, distribution, marketing and consumption by audiences. This should be accompanied by study of the strategies used by record labels to counter the practice of file sharing and their impact on music production, marketing and consumption.

 

Narrative

Ah, Narrative. This is one of our main Key Concepts and something we study throughout our course, as you know. This post should offer lots of resources for you to revise and understand. I’ll embed some Word docs in the form of essays as well as some presentations.

But before I do that, I need to clarify that narrative and story are different. As you know, narrative is how the story is structured, presented and ordered.

Narrative doesn’t just refer to film and television either.

Introduction to Narrative

Easy Narrative

Hero With a Thousand Faces

Intro to Propp

Narrative Devices

THE PARADIGM WORKSHEET

Syd Field Film Paradigm

And check out these presentations:

Narrative Theory from guest9e3b3b

Our Own Media Site

Hullo fellow Media and Creative students. I got fed up with Google Classroom as I can’t embed any html or design it exactly as I want so I’ve started this for us instead. We’ll see how it goes, if it doesn’t work out then I’ll revert back to Google but I’m hoping this will be more effective.

I’ll tag things for the AS and/or A2 and I’ll also use the unit guidance so you can hopefully find what you need a lot easier.

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After the Feb Half Term I shall be doing the following with each group:

AS

  • Starting Section B of the exam
  • Revising for Section A of the exam
  • Completing the coursework Evaluations

A2

  • Starting Section B of the exam
  • Revising for Section A
  • A2 Evaluations

This means that the research and planning blogs need to be completed by when we return from Half Term!

More resources and things to follow.