Discuss the Ways in Which Media Products Are Produced and Distributed.

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n this essay I will be discussing the ways in which films are produced and distributed to targeted British audiences. I will be focusing on my case studies which are Twentieth Century Fox and BBC Films. BBC Films are an independent film company, which are a branch of the BBC and often relies upon funding (such as from the UKFC to produce and distribute films). Twentieth Century Fox in contrast, is a major production conglomerate, which has a great deal more money in order to produce and distribute large budget films.

Twentieth Century Fox produced and distributed Avatar (directed by James Cameron, 2009) which became the highest grossing film of all time ($2.8 billion), beating the previous record of Titanic (also directed by James Cameron and produced by Twentieth Century Fox). Avatar was first conceptualised 15 years ago, but Cameron had to wait for the technology to develop in order to realise his vision. With a budget of $237 million, Avatar would become an epic production feat, unlike any other film prior.

Avatar relied heavily on cross media convergence and synergy in its production. Twentieth Century Fox worked with WETA and numerous other studios to help them with developing 3D technology. For example, they developed the fusion camera which allowed them to motion capture the actors and then view it immediately as CGI. This was a very expensive and time consuming process initially because they needed to learn how to use the camera and develop skills in using it. However, in the long run, it was good for other films as they can now use the same technology. Sigourney Weaver liked the new technology because she could be any species and it gave her freedom to be whatever species she wanted to be. This contrasts with general opinion that CGI eradicates the need for actors. Actually, what it does is enhance actors and in cases eradicate the need for costly extras in epic films like Avatar. Using technology like this means, like within in the invented world of Pandora, Cameron could literally create his own world completely from scratch. Instead of having to spend hours building the set, lighting the set and applying make up to the actors, it could all be achieved through CGI effects, which ultimately is more time and cost effective.

Because Twentieth Century Fox is a mainstream major film company they can afford to let directors experiment with the film making process in the way Cameron did. They can afford to take huge risks because they have a strong success rate in high grossing movies (such as Star Wars and X Men). They are able to accelerate visual effects technology and potentially reinvent the way in which films are made.

Firstly, there are a lot of issues raised in contemporary media practice. One major issue is dominance. Major companies like Twentieth Century Fox which both produced and distributed the film Avatar (2009). As it can do both of these, not only for Avatar, there is a danger of this major company dominating in cinema in the near future which could have a major impact on the audience. As Twentieth Century Fox targets and appeals to a mass audience, they will, in a way, condition their whole audience into having the same ideology as them. Similarly, contemporary issues with people such as Rupert Murdoch highlight another danger of dominating the media world. If this happens, potentially it could be very dangerous to a wide range of audiences as it will change their views. This is called The Hypodermic Needle theory which is a theory that if a company or person has dominance over a mass of people then the public/audience will just take it and ‘follow the crowd’. A major issue with Brighton Rock (2011), BBC films, was money and audience reception. The budget for Brighton Rock was £6million and their gross profit (to date) is £1 million. This is a huge loss for BBC films and Optimum releasing. Audience reception was also an issue raised because not many people actually knew about the film. This...
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