We will discuss this question in class and you will tackle the question in a week’s time for homework.
“Media production is dominated by global companies” What are the implications of this statement for the film industry?
(Aim for 750 words – in the exam you will have 45 minutes)
Discuss the background of the world film industry. Which place is the most powerful film industry in the world? How many institutions dominate the industry? Describe some of these companies – what types of company are they? Give a little bit of background about The Walt Disney Company and identify that you will be primarily focusing on this institution. Now return to the question, what is this essay going to explore: Are American conglomerates damaging for the film industry? What are the consequences of their ability to saturate the advertising, dominate multiplexes etc? Can independent film survive?
- Vertical and horizontal integration – explain what these are and give examples of why this gives Disney such an advantage. For example, why is owning ABC of benefit for Disney when they are marketing a film? Or what are the consequences of Disney buying successful film institutions such as Marvel and Pixar? Why is so useful for Disney to be able to control all aspects of film production, marketing and distribution?
- Globalisation – describe what globalisation is and consider how the USA has been able to exert cultural imperialism over the rest of the world through Hollywood. In particular, you should consider the idea of Disneyfication – why is Disney’s dominance damaging for other cultures but also children in general?
- Decline in diversity – what genres of film are conglomerates such as Disney creating? Can they be considered varied? Are a variety of audiences gratified by these films? Are films by Disney are the films made by other conglomerate companies creative? Can commercial film really be considered an art form?
- Dumbing down – do Disney make films that are challenging for audiences or do the films largely stick to tried and tested money making formulas? Remember to consider the quote by the Disney CEO Michael Eisner – Is this true today? Are Disney films all about making money?
The consequences for independent film
- Are there any examples of successful independent film institutions?
- What are the challenges facing indie film?
- What is the situation with the British film industry? Consider the example of Aardman Animation, a British success story. Who distributes their films – why can’t they do it?
- Why are so many other indie film makers struggling?
- Why has the internet helped the indie film industry?
How do you envisage the future of film? Will conglomerates continue to dominate or might there be a renaissance of indie film? Are companies such as the Walt Disney Company crushing creativity and diversity or is it possible for companies such as Disney, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios to create challenging film in addition to more commercial film? How do you personally consume film – do you watch indie film on Vimeo for example? Or perhaps stream films on Netflix? Do you attend art house or multiplex cinemas?