In this essay I will be talking about media production and how different institutions gain success. It is estimated that the U.S. film industry posted $30 billion in revenues in 2011, this was mainly dominated by the Big 6 majors. These majors are Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney, Columbia Pictures, Universal Studios and 20th Century Fox. Walt Disney holds 15.3% of the Us/Canadian store share making it the most preponderant film company. These outshine the film industry and make it hard for any rivals to get close to the success, independent films will therefore find it challenging to compete with as they don’t have the reputation of a loyal audience reliance. In this essay I will be talking about Disney’s success as a big major.
A media conglomerate is a company that owns various different smaller companies. These can range from TV, radio and publishing companies to motion pictures, theme parks and the Internet. Media conglomerates have recently had a massive major impact on the film industry because of the way situations can be produced and markets for audiences. According to the magazine Nation, “Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets around the world”. An example of a media conglomerate is Comcast. Comcast is the largest mass media conglomerate company that owns smaller companies for example NBC, Universal Studios and AT&T. Another example is Merlin. Merlin is a mass company that owns attractors such as Thorpe Park, Sea life center and Chessington World of Adventures. An independent film company produces films completely outside of the studio. The film will be produced by the independent company, however distributed by either the independent entertainment agencies or my mass company putting it into the box office by showing the film at film festivals. They would use larger companies to distribute the film because they do not have the money or reputation alone to sell it independently. Independent films usually, but not always, are made with lower budgets than major studio movies. An example of a successful independent film is the Inbetweeners 2 and Max max in 1979. An independent company is thought to be better than bigger institutions because they are separated and they get more freedom because there is no film executive controlling and cutting the scene, this makes it a more creative process. Independent films also are categorized away from the rest and own their own Oscars, known as ‘The Spirit Awards’. This however is not commercial.
Globalisation is the process of the world becoming interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange. This could be used in the film industry by Hollywood. Hollywood is the home of the U.S. film industry and is a well known market for it. The film version of Globalisation is Disneyfication. Disney is creating a brainwashed world in which kids and cultures are changing due to the stereotypes made by Disney. Disneys positive reputation used this to create Disneyland, to spread happiness and joy, and also created TV adverts to help overcome current problems (e.g the use of Donald Duck during the great depression to encourage people to sign income tax). People trusted Disney. What we watch influences what we think, believe and chose to base our behaviour on and Disney creates a massive role on shaping children and adults public memory and values. Disney wants society to be more inclusive of different ethnics, gender and social roles in a more accurate light – e.g Mulan, a strong Asian woman, reverses the role of sexism in movies. Disney knows its reflection it gives off and strives to change what society thinks. Another example is Brave, a strong tomboy ginger girl as the protagonist. Disney used this to show kids that it doesn’t matter what you look or appear like, you can still be your best. It shows that Disney was nor perfect and even during any hardship (cold war and the great depression), it still managed to create a power of joy and entertainment to uplift and invigorate American people and the world to dream, imagine and achieve more.
Disney’s main genres of film are mainly Animated and/or comedy (with the exception of family, mystery, musical and adventure). These aren’t very varied as their target audience is mainly kids and families. This is compared too Warner Brothers which have a vast range of film genres (from Action and Si-Fi to Western, Drama, War and Comedy). Disney’s films are all joyful and always ends with a happy ending for the protagonist. Disney is not being very challenging and instead, being simple, captivating children’s minds from a young age.
Disney only looks at it’s future and the money. CEO Michael Eisner’s statement of ‘We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective’. This may of been taken out of context as with stiff competition, they want to become the best they possibly can. Disney hides behind innocent, fun and magic as its culture supports and promotes capitalistic politics in a disguised form to content profitable customer behaviours. Michael Eisners statement underlies the influential power Disney characters impact upon society. Everything Disney is doing as a company, is f0r economic values and ideology, this is shown within there being no morals behind their movies.
Disney is a multinational mass media headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. They own a wide range of different production companies. These vary from Online websites such as ABC.com, clubpenguin.com, Disney.com, ESPN.com and the historychannel.com. Magazines companies such as Discover, Disney Adventures and Magazine, Top Famille and US Weekly. Music companies such as Buena Vista Records, Disney Music Publishing Worldwide, Hollywood Records and Walt Disney Records. Cable Stations and TV channels such as A&E, ABC Family, Crime and Investigation Network, Disney Channel, ESPN (ESPN Classic, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU), Lifetime Network and Toon Disney. Radio Stations such as ABC Radio, ESPN Radio (syndicated programming)– Atlanta And a radio station in almost every state and city in America. Film companies such as Buena Vista, Hollywood Pictures, Pixar, Marvell, Touchstone Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures. Parks such as Disney Cruise Line and Vacation Club, Disneyland Resor (Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Orlando, Los Angeles), Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney World Resort. Merchandise such as Club Penguin, Disney Apparel, Accessories and Footwear, Disney food, health and beauty, home furnishings and décor, Disney stationery and toys, ESPN Zone and The Disney Store.
Vertical Integration is when a Media Company owns different businesses in the same chain of the production and distribution, this is where an institution has shares or owns each part of the production and distribution process. A vertically integrated company does not only assembles and sells products, but also controls the supply chain and sales. An example of vertical integration is warner brothers. Warner Brothers owns lots of different media companies for example home video, interactive, entertainment, animation and television. Another example of vertical integration had become necessary for Disney because Pixar was taking advantage of Disney’s dependence to constantly renegotiate the contract, forcing Disney to buy out Pixar. Disney outsourced the production of 3D animated films to Pixar in 1991 because there was a lot of uncertainty around the potential of 3D animation. Horizontal Integration is a Media Company’s Ownership of several businesses of the same value, for example all cinema studios. A Media Company can own a Magazine, Radio, Newspaper, Television and Books. Horizontal integration out buys/takes over another company in the same stage of production. It helps to create more money and makes the company more popular among readers. This increases market growth and power and reduces the cost of international trade. Disney started out as an animation studio with a set target audience to children and families. However, in the process of diversifying and developing their company, Disney did a horizontal integration into live action films (For example, Pirates of the Caribbean series). This made the company become more successful. Disney brought out the news channel ABC News, this is an example of horizontal integration. As ABC News attracts to a different target audience, they can however advertise the new Disney films with a different target audience to try and get more people interested, and to help with the marketing.
Overall, I believe that the 6 majors will continue to dominate the film industry. This is mainly because they are trusted by audiences and maintain a reputation in the industry. The big majors also have a higher budget to spend on the films production, better technology and the marketing/advertising so therefore it is easier to produce a better quality film overall. From my experience, I watch and stream films online and decide on what I am going to watch based on who produced it (for example if it is well known, like Warner Brothers or Pixar – By Walt Disney, I automatically know it is going to be good). The big majors also dominate the box office and the local cinemas internationally as they have the money to put their films into cinemas. The box office contribute to what films will get success by showing specific films and knowing their rivals. Independent films hardly make it into the cinemas because they don’t have as much back up support or the budget, they would need to distribute their film to a major to help this.