Digital Distribution Essay

To what extent does digital distribution affect marketing and consumption of media products that you have studied?



Digital distribution (also called content delivery, online distribution, or electronic software distribution (ESD), among others) is the delivery or distribution of media content such as audio, video, software and video games. The term is generally used to describe distribution over an online delivery medium, such as the Internet, thus bypassing physical distribution methods, such as paper, compact discs, and VHS videocassettes. The term online distribution is typically applied to freestanding products; downloadable add-ons for other products are more commonly known as downloadable content. With the advancement of network bandwidth capabilities, online distribution became prominent in the 21st century.

Content distributed online may be streamed or downloaded, and often consists of books, films and television programs, music, software, and video games. Streaming involves downloading and using content at a user’s request, or “on-demand”, rather than allowing a user to store it permanently. By contrast, fully downloading content to a hard drive or other form of storage media may allow offline access in the future.


Until the 1930’s the distribution of film was via the cinema
Initially in the 20’s the BBC provided a radio service
Which by the 30’s evolved into broadcasting a TV channel that contained news and light entertainment. This was expensive so not a threat to the cinemas.
By the 40s/50s most people owned a TV as they became more affordable
Sizes changed
Home TV Widescreen
VHS Recording
Renting- Netflix/Lovefilm                 BluRay
Subscriptions VOD
3D Televisions
4K Televisions

Moved away from physical distribution, but now in fact non-physical (i.e. downloads, stream)


Social Media
Posters, logos- ie Netflix originals

Netflix payed $12 million for the global distribution rights of Special Correspondents. The poster advertised it as a Netflix Original that will be made available 29th April “only on Netflix”  Netflix can advertise within their own service and via Gervais’ social media. This method enables new VOD subscriptions.


Nypmromaniac (2012) 

Modern advances within technology enables us to watch films and television anywhere- whilst in bed, on the toilet, on the train: anywhere. And with this advance of technology, we virtually have an entire catalogue of films at our finger tips.
Curzon film released the film on multiple on-demand platforms on their day-and-date release. The film was released on CHC, Sky Store, FilmFlex, BlinkBox and BFI Player and in April the two films were available to buy together as a pack.
The VOD net revenue was £71k and total multi platform, £158,500.  Curzon wanted premium prices- therefore on the day-and-date release, it was not released on iTunes as it did not conform to iTunes single prices for rent and ownership.


Apple is a widely used platform and comes in the form of Phones, Tv’s , Computers, Laptops, iPhones and iPod Touch. All of these platforms allow the use of iTunes and the consumption of films.
iTunes have a method of strict pricing of £3.49 for SD rentals and £7.99 for SD Purchases. HD Rentals are £7.99 and HD Purchases are £9.99- which allows the consumer to be happy with the quality.

E S S A Y   D R A F T  I

Across time, the distribution of films has evolved and under-gone technological advancement into what is now digital distribution via the internet. Initially to watch a film, the viewer would have to physically go to the cinema. But then by around the 40s/50s VHS enabled people to have home viewings of films. This then turns into CD’s of Film, then DVD’s (f.t rentals from LoveFilm & Netflix), to Blu-rays and now to what we know as Video on Demand, which can be accessed anywhere via the internet.

The bigger companies are at an advantage as due to their popularity and money advantage, they can carry on with the classic release model of 14 weeks in the cinemas, soon followed by releases on VOD and DVD, a lot like Warner’s 2016 Suicide Squad, which was later released on transactional VOD and physical copies- i.e. BluRay, DVD, 3D and 4K discs. And due to their vast spendeture and reputation, the Big Six can throw a lot of money at the marketing of films.
Smaller film releases however do not have the high reputation that the Big Six do, therefore their releases  are an innovative mix that take advantage of the digital distribution model. Ben Wheatley’s 2013, A Field in England and Von Triers’ 2012 Nymphomaniac both had a Day-and-Date release model which received help funding by the BFI.

A week before the day and date release of Nymphomaniac, there was a one-off ‘One Night Stand’, where by the two parts of the film were shown across all UK Curzon Theatres, and Curzon Chelsea held a Q&A which was streamed to all cinemas- this acquired £308,803 theatrical revenue. A week later, the film was released on multiple on demand platforms, with a revenue of £71k, however this did not include iTunes as the film wanted premium pricing which breaches iTunes rentals which start at £3.49.

5th July 2013, Wheatley’s A Field in England was released in PictureHouse Cinemas, streamed on Film4, released on DVD and BluRay and on VOD services. This massively took advantage of all distribution types and made in into mainstream news due to the innovation and singularity of the release.   The film made just under £51,500 from the cinemas, sold 7,700 DVDs & BluRays, 5,500 On demand downloads and 376,00 TV ratings. The ratings are not accurate due to the kettle method of gathering data, however most viewers probably tuned in due to the news reports surrounding the innovative release.

The figures for A Field in England were for the first 2 months of the film’s release, however these numbers no way match the big tentpole releases’. Suicide Squad release generated £325,000,00 from DVD and BluRay. Due to the film’s backing from the Big Six company of warner, the film could be released on iTunes without the premium pricing however due to the film owners, numbers for VOD are not available.

As the internet and devices grew more powerful, with a faster internet service, Netflix and LoveFilm evolved into a company that no longer delivered rental DVD’s, but now offer a Subscription VOD service that generated a revenue of £6,850,803,093 in 2016. And as Netflix has gotten bigger, they have started to feature their own ‘Netflix Originals’- for example: Better Call Soul, Black Mirror and Special Correspondents.
Netflix paid 12 million dollars (£9.5 million) for the global distribution rights for Ricky Gervais’ Special Correspondents. All though marketing, it was made clear that the film will only be available via Netflix on the 29th April. This meant that on posters, social media, and generally trailers for the company- it was made apparent that Netflix is the only place this film is shown (along with other Netflix originals), and this generated for subscriptions to the service.

However, this then means that this method of digital distribution means that physical film copies are no longer necessary. Now through Netflix and transaction VOD stores like iTunes and Google Play, there is a whole catalogue of films, at a person’s fingertips, that can be watched instantly, anywhere and anytime- all because of the internet.

As technologies advance, I feel like in the future, film releases will all be digitally distributed. Sky already offer some films that are in the cinemas on their own service and the 30% of the UK who regularly use Piracy sites to obtain their films, can easily watch films that are currently in the cinemas.

Media Ownership Essay

To what extent does media ownership have an impact on the successful distribution of media products in the media area that you are supposed to have studied?



Big Six:

Bigger companies have an organised release platform
More money to spend on advertisement and distribution
These oligopolies cause smaller companies to find innovative ways to release and distribute films in order to stand out.
The big six generate around 80-85% of US and Canadian box Office
Marketing Campaign
Dominate Cinemas

Tentpole release: (2016) Suicide Squad…

Warner bros= Big Budget, Increased P&A, Mainstream Film
DVD, Blu-ray, 3D & 4K
Odeon, 3D, IMAX = increased revenue
Big company = big budget of $175,000,000

Smaller releases: [both-day-and-date]

Nymphomaniac (2012)

BFI gave 50k grant as part of the New Model Strand
Curzon cinemas spent just under £205,000 on trailers, marketing for both film releases
Curzon then held the ‘one night stand’

A Field in England (2013)

Film 4.0  model (innovative ways of connecting talent to audiences), BFI, PictureHouse
PictureHouse exhibitor and distributor and is known of by film geeks
Channel 4 is in the top 5 ,well-known and advertised through it
The innovation caused media attention without being some tentpole film


However, films that are part of the big six can capture easy markets by not only advertising a film, but the established name can mean working along side other companies i.e:

Lego & Warner Bros  ‘Lego Dimensions’ (2015)action-adventure game
McDonalds & Disney Pixar  ‘Finding Dory’ (2016)

Media Conglomerates: channel 4, film 4 , film 4.0, 4OD

Distribution Types:

DVD & BluRay: 

Technological Convergence: Whilst technologies change, the bigger companies are moving along- as mentioned Suicide Squad being offered in 3D, 4K

Video On Demand:

Field in England (2013):

Budget £316,879 (also Film4’s investment) 
Vod rentals 5,593
DVD 7,700
TV Ratings 367,000
Theatrical £51,409

Suicide Squad(2016):

Budget £175,000,000
Vod rentals 5,593
DVD $11,031,455
Blu Ray $31,349,556
Theatrical (14 weeks) $746,100,054 worldwide


Ultimately, films of the big six are the ones more at a loss. Their big name and domination means that their films are of a wider audience meaning more piracy.

E S S A Y   D R A F T

The big six are responsible for 90% of film releases Worldwide. The big six, such as Disney and CBS are oligopolies which means that automatically the films are recognised and capture plenty of media attention. Whilst the smaller films have to use innovation in order to be recognised within this oligopolies.

Due to the evolution of technologies across time, the distribution of films is no longer just by cinemas; but also through home viewings of DVD and Video on Demand. However, new technologies also increases the quality and viewing experience which is something that the big Six keep up with.
Suicide Squad (2016) is a Warner/DC comics tent-pole film with a budget of around £135 million. It was in the cinema for 14 weeks internationally and acquired £577,342,771.64  from theatrical revenues, £34,049,692 from the UK alone. The Big six dominate the cinemas as the big companies generate big audiences, which the cinemas like. But furthermore, as technological convergence expands and the tentpole films with their massive budgets, these films are not just in 2D, but also in 3D. Due to this, films owned by the big six attract more attention.

As said before, the smaller films must use innovation in order to get recognised. Smaller films do not have the wide spending budget that tentpole films do. Most also do not have the sufficient funds to make a 3D film.
Film 4 made a £316,879 investment in to Ben Wheatley’s 2013, A Field in England. Channel 4’s money was their entire budget. Wheatley’s film was also helped through the BFI (the British Film Institute), and the BFI help smaller films with their innovative releases. A Field in England had the innovative release of a Day-and-Date release. Meaning that on the same day, 5th July 2013, the film was released on: Transactional Video on Demand, DVD, Television and PictureHouse Cinema Screens.
From July to October, the film sold  5,593 V.O.D and 7,700 DVD’s.
With in the PictureHouse Cinemas, just under £51,500 was made and PictureHouse Cinemas are a company whereby frequent cinema go-ers and film geeks go to, therefore the people watching the film is more a niche, targeted market, as opposed to the wide audience that tentpole films have.
Finally, the TV ratings. A Field in England is an example of a film distribution method which takes advantage of using media conglomerates. Due to the innovative Film4.0’s backing, the film was advertised through all sects of the company so 4OD, Film 4, and Channel 4, one of the mainstream channels of television.

However, the issue with the smaller films, which is a factor that does show that Media Ownership plays a significant role on the distribution, is that if a smaller film fails (so sells a low number of films and does not make much from the cinemas), then for most companies, that is it- they are suffering with money and at a loss. The Big Six films, that dominate the markets, release a film every week in cinemas, filling most the screens, and so they can afford to do badly because the money and global scale that they are working with is much bigger that the smaller films.

Films that are made by the Big Six acquire easy advertisement by symbiosis. This means that they can work alongside other companies, causing a benefit to everyone; examples of this is Warner Brothers working with LEGO to make the 2015 action-adventure video game ‘Lego Dimensions’ and a common partner is McDonalds and a big six company, and in this example: Disney, for the advertisement of 2016’s Finding Dory.  This means that distribution of the films is increased as these markets are smaller children which will buy the game or HappyMeal toy, and then pester their family to take them to the cinema or buy the film. This is something that realistically, only the Big Six can do, due to the big numbers that will be used. From my recent examples of Suicide Squad and A Field in England, it is clearly visible about the difference, as Wheatley’s film had a £316,000 budget and Suicide Squad had a 9 digit, $175,000,000 budget.

However one distribution method, I have not spoken about, and that is illegal Piracy. And unfortunately for the big six, piracy will effect them more, as they dominate around 90% of cinemas and the majority ‘popular films’. 30% of UK residents resort to piracy for their viewing of films, and the big six are the ones at loss. An example of this is 20th Century Fox’s avatars this is the most pirated film and since 2007 21 million times the film has been downloaded. And this is a non-successful affect on the distribution.

Overall, the big six media companies have more attention and their distribution of films via cinemas and home viewing, is much more successful than the smaller films, and although piracy is still an issue, the big films still are successful.

New Technologies Essay

To what extent has the internet played a significant roll in the marketing and exchange of Media products in the area you have studied?



-During early the 1900’s cinema was a big industry, if people wanted to watch a film, the only place in which they could, was the cinema. With the industry, there was competition to allure people to their own cinemas including live music during intervals. But no days, most people own a TV and are connected to the internet, and the internet has a significant impact on the industry; both good and bad.


-Before the wide use of the internet, film were advertised through posters on the street, word of mouth, news prints and cinema adverts. However, since the internet, advertisement of films are everywhere and can be specialised to certain target markets.  A good example of online advertisement, is Warner Bro’s 2016’s Suicide Squad.
-The social media played a big roll in the advertisement of Suicide Squad. Firstly in 2015, teaser photos of Jared Leto’s Joker character were released on Leto’s twitter account these photos were shared across all platforms of social media, and before hard advertising investments by Warner Bros’ interest and an online fan base were made.
-Then in January, the first trailer was released on Suicide Squads’ own Facebook page, YouTube and the cast themselves which by social media sites such as Twitter, these videos were shared and YouTube adverts for the film were filtered for certain audiences to reach the target market.
-As said about Jared Leto, the actors featured with in the film advertised it themselves, and Snapchat had its own filter to promote the film, enabling the user to look like the famous joker, with the much recognised Suicide Squad logo.
-The internet is accessible everywhere, and social media apps on iPhones- like twitter and Snapchat can be used anywhere with internet connection hence why for this film, aimed at the younger audiences, Social Media played a big role on the film’s success.
-Online free to use websites and apps– like suicide squad app and then the Ben Wheatley filmography tutorials.


-As just mentioned, tablets and phones are items that easily access the internet and these products have online shops- i.e. iTunes, App Store, Google Play, Amazon prime ect. And these all enable the user to access VOD- both transactional and subscription.
Subscription VOD are things like Netflix where films and series can be streamed across the internet from a wide catalogue. Netflix also has incorporated its own ‘Netflix Originals’- an example of this is Ricky Gervais’ Special correspondents. Netflix funded and bought the rites to only distribute the film on Netflix, and the internet enabled it to be released Worldwide on the same day.
Transactional VOD is things like iTunes rentals (SD , £3.49) and purchases (SD £7.99) and purely via the internet, the film can be bought at a price cheaper than most DVD’s and played anywhere or any smart device. The idea of VOD is cheaper to distribute seeing as its uploaded to the internet and then downloads -as opposed to the method of burning onto a disc, making packaging and then distributing that Disc package to retail stores across the World.
– A Field in England was a Day and Date release- meaning across cinemas, VOD, DVD and Television, the film was released on the same day. However, figures found that around £51,500 was made from theatres and DVD buys were 7,700 and VOD Rentals were 5,593. So despite my previous points, these figures dispute that acquiring films from the internet is the more popular method.
– Nymphomaniac also had a day and date release, but prior this, the week before there was a ‘one night stand’ where the two parts of the film were shown in UK cinemas and in Curzon Chelsea, a Q&A was held, and via the internet, it was streamed to all the cinemas. This is something that makes the viewer feel like they’re getting something back.
– Also movies that are shown in cinema used to be shown on one like wheel that contains each individual frame and they are played through. This meant that it would need to be produced, transported and then only a limited number of cinemas can show the film, also the quality could be bad. However due to technology advances, films can be streamed which minus the costs of rites to the film, is free (compared to transporting and producing), and this means the film cannot accidentally break and it is of the highest quality each time.
– Unfortunately, the internet has had a bad impact on the exchange of films as piracy is much easier to access. The recent invention of the Kodi stick, enables the used to illegally access a wide range of films that are even in the cinemas  for free which causes the public attitude of: why should I pay to see a film when others watch it for free?  This is something that has rocked the world of film as over time, illegally watched films are easier to find and watch and this means companies may not make back the money made from their films which inevitably could put the cinema at risk.

E S S A Y   D R A F T   I

During early the 1900’s cinema was a big industry. If people wanted to watch a film, the only way and place in which they could, was the cinema. With the industry, there was competition to allure people to their own cinemas this includes the use of live music during intervals. But now days, most people own a TV and are connected to the internet, and the internet has a significant impact on the industry; both good and bad.

Firstly I am going to talk about the marketing and advertisement of films, which on a whole, the internet has played a positive role in creating vast awareness of new movies. Before the wide use of the Internet, the money spent on P&A went towards posters, prints and film trailers that would be seen in the cinemas. However, since the internet has become bigger, with 4 billion users, awareness of films is more raised. A good example of how the internet has played a huge roll in marketing of films, is Warner Bro’s 2016 Suicide Squad.

The film was already in the stream of social media in the summer of 2014, and in 2015, Jared Leto released teaser photos and videos of him infamous joker character on Instagram and Twitter. Leto’s followers are either interested in his life or filmography so this straight away is targeted advertisement, and then regarding the death of original Joker; Heath Ledger, there was a lot of media attention surrounding Jared Leto’s potential performance, and this matter was raised on social media and on many online entertainment news articles, that makes it to the Facebook news feed.

Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly active users, and these users have their likes and interests monitored, so that what appears on news feeds are filtered. So anyone who likes DC, Suicide Squad will be promoted on their feed, or having a wide interest in chick flicks, then Bridget Jones’ Diary will appear. Furthermore, big films use Facebook and other social media sites as an advantage by making their own Facebook page for people and fans to follow and stay up-to-date with.

In January 2016, the first trailer was released online for Suicide Squad, but showing trailers on YouTube adverts, digital posters and just generalised sharing on sites like Twitter and Facebook, the internet allows more interactive forms of advertisement. In the August of the film’s release, Snapchat released an exclusive filter for users to make their faces look like the infamous Joker and when they do certain things with their face (i.e. open mouth) the filter moves and becomes interactive. This is an example of symbiosis, as two companies; Snapchat and Warner Bros are working together to share a benefit- which in this case is advertising the film and having active users.  Also, a Suicide Squad app and website were released- this not only is taking advantage of the internet as a selling point, but it also gives the user a sense of getting something back; this is the same for Ben Wheatley’s, A field in England (2013). Wheatley had a film making master class online, in which users can use actively understand Wheatley’s techniques and learn from his cinematography.

Since the revolution of the internet, distribution of films has improved for the better of the consumer, but in some ways, is a downfall to the cinema industry.

The  significant benefit of the internet to the cinemas, is the actual showing of the film. Rather than sending a wheel of film to cinemas that would flick through frames, which can be marked and broken. These wheels also have to be created and shipped and can only been shown in a limited number of cinemas at once. But the internet now enables films to be sent by the internet to the cinemas, and this means each watching experience is the best each time, there are no shipping costs and can be shown in an unlimited number of cinemas at once.

As already mentioned, gadgets such as Smart phones Computers, Laptops, Smart TV’s and tablets that use the internet have played a massive roll in both marketing and exchange of films. These gadgets contain some sort of store; i.e. App Store, iTunes, Play Store, Amazon store and more. On these stores the user can access Video on Demand (V.O.D); both subscription and transactional. Subscription V.O.D is things like Netflix- a service that streams film and series over the internet to the viewer on any internet using device, whenever and wherever they want. An example of this is Ricky Gervais’ Special Correspondents that Netflix pre-paid around $12 million for the distribution rights- meaning this was exclusive to Netflix.

The British Film Institute fund films that tend to be unique and innovative with their releases  Nympromaniac (2012) and the already mentioned A Field in England (2013) Both of these films had a Day and Date release that entailed the films to be released in Cinema, TV, Transaction VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray on the same day. surprisingly , A Field in England made £51,409 from theatrical revenues in the first 6 months, and only around 6,000 VOD Rentals and 7,700 DVD buys. These figures show that the internet has not had an awful effect on the cinema industry, however piracy is. Nympromaniac held a ‘One night stand’ exhibition, a week prior to release, and this entailed an exclusive showing of both parts and a Q & A from Curzon Chelsea, which was streamed by the internet across UK Cinemas for that day only.

The more recent ‘ Kodi’ stick enables the user to easily access an endless catalogue of almost every film, including ones in the cinema this is free and easy to access and is very common amongst families. In fact 30% of UK houses turn to piracy sites to watch films. This means that across time, films will start to struggle to make their desired profits from films due to the use of free illegal watching.

Ultimately, the internet has played an amazing roll on the marketing of films, it has become easier and due to technology advances, the advertising has become more targeted. However to the distribution of films, it has played both a negative and positive roll, as cinema use has declined but this can be made up thought VOD, however piracy is becoming more common and this is causing an insufferable loss for media companies.