What impact does media ownership have upon the range of products available to audiences in the media area you have studied?
All media is owned by a company or conglomerate, a media conglomerate is a multinational firm that distributes media products in the industry, six conglomerates hold 90% of what we read, listen to and watch therefore the public is easily manipulated without them knowing through the use of the hypodermic needle theory. Moreover these conglomerates tend to provide a variety of products to audiences to promote their brand or film through synergy. Walt Disney pioneered synergy; it is the promotion of a media product through numerous media platforms in the hope of attracting audiences, therefore making a large profit.
Big six companies such as Time Warner produce media to make a profit therefore they are given large sums of start-up capital and in return they expect large profits. With the large market share they have they can force their product onto audiences without they realising.
“The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug” was produced by Warner Brothers a subsidiary of Time Warner and is owned by Wingnut Films and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer two giants in the media ownership market, therefore it was expected that their product would make a large profit ($735.4 million) with the pre-existing fan base from the previous Lord of The Rings Trilogy. “The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug” commits audiences to continue to watch the films as they have made it into a three part trilogy therefore making large profits and completing a successful synergistic production. Gratification Theory, realising that the audience is much more complex in modern times, the audience selects media products that best suits their needs and ambitions; “The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug” entices the audience as they too desire treks across ancient lands and battles with bloodthirsty orcs and enchanting elves. This captivation bodes well with Warner Brothers as with their games division they can produce videogames which further the experience viewers witness in cinemas.
On the other hand “12 Years A Slave,” produced by Fox Search Light, PlanB, River Roads Entertainment and Film4, does not have the funds that a Big 6 company would, it had $22 million to make the film, moreover it was originally made for a small film festival where viewers would pay to watch a screening of a film which they knew nothing about. Despite its content, the film's critical success has assisted its domestic distribution by Fox Searchlight that began with a limited released aimed primarily towards art house and African-American patrons. The film's release was slowly widened in subsequent weeks, similarly to how films such as Black Swan and The Descendants had done in previous years. In a clever marketing stunt the international release dates for 12 Years a Slave were largely delayed to early 2014 in order to take advantage of the attention created by awards seasons. This paid off as 12 Years made an astonishing $187.7 million at the box office. This is due to the actors and producers who evolved the production as Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch (actors) played key roles in advertising through the use of trailers therefore grasping the audience’s attention as they are ‘A listers.’ Furthermore the influence of Kanye West and Chris Rock proved imperative as 12 Years A Slave made it to the big screen eventually.
Big 6 companies tend to use over the line promotion stunts for example “The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug” released the trailers 3 month before the film was released therefore allowing fans to anticipate the release. Moreover a face book page was established allowing fans to communicate before the big release whilst adverts trolled the webpage promoting the film. The Cinema release promoted the film in 3D and widescreen HD creating an experience for cinema goers. Moreover using synergy to their advantage Time Warner made a deal with Lego allowing their characters to be present in the new release therefore the production was promoted and Lego receives greater revenue. Moreover synergy played a part in the production of a Lego Hobbit game. A tie in game was also made further promoting the film. As the Hobbit was originally a book the companies decided to renew the cover of the book and create an audiobook giving the rights to the audio book to iTunes and Amazon Prime. This creates problems such as Piracy as with media conglomerates they overprice products to create the greatest profits possible therefore hackers manage to publish online illegal versions of the film meaning revenue is lost by the larger companies. The producers decided to burn the tape to Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and then created a new cover once it received an Oscar.
On the other hand as 12 Years a Slave had little range of products as it was originally a novel. This novel was reproduced after 12 Years won numerous awards, the book was branded with the same images as on the DVD’s which were distributed. Moreover with the new title the book was concentrated into an audiobook where the dates of the release of the film were imprinted on the title. This continued before the release of the film in national cinemas. Moreover the film was advertised online through social networks and in trailer form displaying sneak peeks and interviews with the characters. Therefore attracting fans. The film rights where given to Amazon Prime where piracy was a threat. Small figurines were released after the film’s success however its main products where the DVD with multiple covers after awards season and the audio book.
Audiences were given every opportunity to receive products from both cases, some other products from other productions such as Battle ship failed in the promotion with a tie in game however the small production costs and minimum advertising has worked in 12 years favour as it was promoted as a work of art rather than a multimillion explosive Peter Jackson production. Products attract audiences and small children however many people now see big 6 companies as producing media products for the sake of profit.