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 Notes from OCR AS MEDIA STUDIES by Julian


 Production: making films
 Distribution: promoting films and getting them into cinema
and out on DVD, as well as any spin offs / related media
 Consumption: people paying at the cinema, renting or buying
DVDs and downloading and purchasing related products.

Britain and America

 On the one hand, British cinema has a tremendous advantage
over other European national film for the simple reason that
America is geiographically huge and Americans speak
English…The flipside of this coin is obvious. American films
have the same advantage and the American studios have
enormous capital at their disposal. They produce more films,
those films are more expensively created and they can afford
to take more risks, knowing that one success will pay for 9
failures at the box office.
 The distribution of films into our cinemas and DVDs into our
shops is dominated by US companies…

 Does ‘market forces’ competition give the consumer more

power and choice and thus influence what gets made for us to
buy? Or does it actually convince us that what we want is
what is being made for us?

 Distribution involves all of the deals done to get films shown…

and just as importantly, promoted.

The British Board of Film Classification

 What does the BBFC do?
 -classifies films as U, PG, 12, 12A, 15, 18, R18
 There are three main considerations:
 legal (material may break the law – there are several laws to
do with obscenity, equality, incitement and the protection of
 Protective (material is scrutinised for its potential to cause
‘harm’ though this is a huge area of debate – who decides
who needs protecting from what?)
 Societal (material is reviewed with broader public opinion in
mind with particular regard to language)

What is a British Film?

 A; films made with British money, personnel and resources?
 B: films co-funded with money from Britain and from foreign
investment, but the majority of finance, cultural content and
personnel are British.
 C: films with mostly foreign (but non USA) investement and a
small British input, either financially or creatively?
 D: films made in the UK with (usually) British cultural content,
but financed fully or partly by American companies.
 E: American films with some British involvement

 For a company like Working Title who are owned by a larger

American group (Universal) is the production financed in the

 IN the UK the Film Council’s report Film Theft in the UK

(2004) claimed that only Austria and Germany have a higher
degree of piracy.
 Small production companies are actually hurt more by piracy
than multinational conglomerates, as they cannot bear the
impact with already acquired capital.

 The Digital Screen Network project is the Film Council’s

attempt to provide cinemas with digital projection facilities,
and it is hoped (but by no means guaranteed) that more
small-scale independent films will get seen this way.

 At the other end of the ‘food chain’, digital technology has

made life a lot better for low budget film makers and

 Once it becomes the norm to download film via broadband,

the potential for a new form of ‘blanket distribution’ is obvious
– not only do you no longer need multiple prints, you can also
bypass the cinema (although the big screen offers a separate
experience that is likely to remain attractive).

 Simultaneous global distribution via the internet will put an

end to the ‘time gap’ and its exploitation by pirates