Cinema’s Future

i-lied-meme-at-the-cinemaI remember as a child, if we were ever planning a trip to the cinemas, we would have to grab the local newspaper to look up what movies were screening and the designated time slot. Once we’d decided which movie to watch, we’d fill up our water bottles and mum would take us to the corner store where we would each choose a mixed lolly bag before heading to the cinemas. This was standard procedure.

Today, there is the beauty of technology. My journey to the cinemas began with a Google search – ‘Hoyts Warrawong session times’ – how else would I find out what’s currently screening? This process was simplified further as I could filter the results based on the day and time I was available. The available film titles flashed up accompanied by an image and synopsis; I considered all of these elements and decided… not to go to the cinemas. That’s right, I faffed around for about 5 minutes, only to decide its too much effort to go to the movie theatre when I can watch whatever I want, at home, for free and be way more comfortable.

The challenge in this task was finding a movie that I deemed worthy of my time (drive 20 minutes to the cinema), effort (put on pants), and money (the price of tickets, fuel and cinema food is a joke). The fact of the matter is that I would prefer to lounge around in the comfort of my own home, free to wear no pants and laugh as loud as I want, for a fraction of the cost… or for free! I believe many Australians would agree with me.

When I have the luxury of downloading or streaming movies online, for free, or purchasing movies online for a fraction of the cost of a movie ticket; why would I spend my time and resources at the cinemas?

Don’t get me wrong, I do see the benefits of watching a new film in the cinemas; you get to be the one of the first to see it and the big screen and surround sound, all makes for a fairly great experience. But there are a number of reasons why I, and many other Aussies, are choosing not to go to the movies as often.

According to Screen Australia (2013), ticket prices are consistently rising with the average ticket price 20% more expensive than 5 years ago. As a university student, struggling to feed myself and pay rent; I prefer not to spend my money on something I can later access for free.

With prices constantly rising, it’s understandable why George Lucas sees the film industry’s future looking something similar to that of Broadway shows. He suggests theatres and screens will be fewer but they will be bigger and more luxurious, films will sit in theatres for several months and the prices will be in excess of $100 (Rosenthal 2014). Now I understand where he’s going with this theory, and maybe he is predicting the future, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near that point in time.

Just because I don’t rate the cinema experience very highly, doesn’t mean I dislike it all together… When Harry Potter came out, I watched each one in theaters. I believe that there is hope for the future of cinemas, people enjoy the experience and many are still attending. Research tells us that in 2012, 69% of Australians attended the movie theatre (that’s not including the kids who sneak in without paying, right?), with the average number of visits being approximately 7 times (Screen Australia 2012). Believe it or not, this is an improvement on 2011; click here to check out the full report from Screen Australia.

Despite the country being filled with people like myself, who generally prefer the home experience to that of the theatre, we are a minority. Movie theatres will continue to live on because it will always be a luxury that people demand. Although the demand may appear to fade, this could simply be a shift in preference and we may see a change in cinemas, as suggested by George Lucas.

Anyway, I’m going to get into bed and watch a movie Let me know what you think!

Reference List:

Screen Australia 2012, Percentage of people who had been to the cinema in the last 12 months, and average number of visits, 1974–2012 Screen Australia, viewed 2nd September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/wcrmattend.aspx#Ran98512&gt;.

Screen Australia 2013, Cinema admission prices in Australia, 1976–2013, Screen Australia, viewed 2nd September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/wcboprices.aspx&gt;.

Rosenthal, E 2014, 10 Filmmaking Heavyweights Predict the Future of Cinema, The Creators Project, blog post, 5th May, viewed 2nd September 2014, <http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/10-expert-opinions-on-the-future-of-film&gt;.

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Broadband has already changed my home. Bring on the NBN.

Home to me is in Wagga Wagga where I grew up, where most of my closest and oldest friends live, and where my Dad lives. When I think of home, I think of good times spent with the people whom I love. Home is the place where I feel most comfortable – free to relax and do as I please – it is where the water never runs cold, the house is always the right temperature, and the Internet speed is simply delicious.

 

My memories of techUntitlednology in the family home as I was growing up mainly consist of early mornings or afternoons spent in front of the TV watching Cheez TV, ABC kids or any old cartoon. This was before I knew of, or needed, the magic of broadband internet. TV was part of my daily routine and although both of my parents were busy, I do have memories of sitting and enjoying a program together.

 

Fast-forward a few years; I’m in highUntitled.png vii school, year eight. I have a mobile phone and just received my first personal laptop: life is good. We have unlimited broadband Internet: life is great. It was at this stage in my life that things began to change. Integrating these new devices into my life and daily routine resulted in: me spending much more time in my room, on my laptop, being antisocial. These luxuries impacted the way our family interacted in the home and not necessarily in a good way. The TV was still part of my daily routine but it was now competing with the internet, my social life and the time I spent on my mobile phone… plus I had to squeeze in some time for family. You can imagine this is a lot for a 13 year old to manage, so it is no surprise that I, like most other people, began multitasking… talking to family at home whilst also keeping up with my friends online and I adopted the habit of second screening.

Although families often sit down to enjoy the TV together and each other’s company, this is also a time where we interact and communicate with one another. I know my family would do this and I don’t believe this is a new notion. Deloitte conducted a study for the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, 2012, that found 80% of participants “talk ‘frequently’ or ‘occasionally’ to other people in the same room while watching TV” (Deloitte 2012, p.16). This is a continuation of earlier technological impacts and many would agree that it is now ‘normal’. However, I believe that broadband Internet introduced another medium for us to interact with, which in turn distracts and disconnects us from those who are physically present. We use to only have the TV and those in our company, to divide our attention amongst; now there are so many devices demanding our attention, it’s hard to find a balance. Ironically, technological advancements that have enabled greater connectivity, have created disconnect in face-to-face communication and the level of engagement.

I know this all sounds quite cynical and as though I think the Internet is corrupt, damaging our society by inhibiting human interaction. However, I see it to be a process of evolution in the way we communicate and interact is changing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found in 2012-2013, 83% of households were connected to the internet and although the highest portion of users were aged between 15 and 17, 46% of people over the age of 65 were internet users. The below graph illustrates how widely the internet is used and evidences that it’s integral in the daily lives of most people.

Internet users by age group (2012-2013)

(source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, catalogue no. 8146.0, ABS, Canberra)

I chatted to my dad about broadband and asked him how he thinks its impacted the home and family interaction. He said that it has ‘changed face-to-face talk time and rather than being person to person, attention has shifted to devices and social media’. He didn’t suggest that this was a bad thing but he didn’t think it was entirely positive. He doesn’t believe that the NBN will have a significant impact on the family home. While we both agreed that there are many benefits, he sees it as an extension and improvement of what already exists. The slow rollout means that the development will be slow; initially it will just be providing people with a better version of what they might already have. Until it is more widely available, the impacts it could have on the home are limited. 

Dad currently connects to the Internet using wireless ADSL2 and has another two data plans – the one included in his mobile plan and a wireless USB – despite having varies connections, he only connects to the ADSL2 using one device, his laptop. It is for this reason that he doesn’t really need the NBN at the moment; ‘what I’ve got is quick enough but if it [the NBN] was cheap enough, I’d probably take it up… otherwise what I have now is fine’.

Earlier I said that home is where the internet speed is simply delicious. I stand by this point and believe this means that when or if the NBN were to become available in my area, it wouldn’t be something I would pass up. Having fast internet is a very good feeling, and for me, it makes me feel like I really have my life together – when lets be honest, I don’t – so just imagine how magical the NBN will be.

Don’t believe me? Click here to see for yourself!

After all, using slow internet brings out the worst in people and that isn’t something to encourage.

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Out with the old and in with the new

Todays TV audiences are no longer passive viewers who are happy to sit back and do nothing to engage with their favourite program. The advancement of technology enables viewers and engage in conversations in online communities and using social media and the convince to record programs and watch them later. In order to provide a more accurate portrayal of audience activity, engagement and viewership, traditional methods of audience measurement need to be improved.

The FX network is abolishing its ‘live and same day’ ratings, which measure how many people are tuned into a particular program on the day and time that it airs. This method of audience measurement excludes time-shifted viewers who choose to watch their pre-recorded program at a later date. As a result, the data collected from ‘live and same day’ ratings are an inaccurate portrayal of audience engagement and measure of a TV programs viewership.

 In an effort to obtain more accurate data, FX has introduced C3 ratings which is a three-day measurement tool that encompasses live and time shifted audiences who watch a program within three days of it airing. They are calling this new, more inclusive measurement system, ‘Live+3’, but despite its extended measurement period, FX has described it as ‘flawed’.

The below graph illustrates the increase in viewers when expanding the measurement period to encompass time-shifted viewers, watching programs within three or seven days of its original air date. The data is described as having a ‘cylindrical’ pattern, which is explained in more detail below.

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Source: Ebiquity 2014, graph, Business Week, viewed 22 August 2014,

Audience-measurement firm Rentrak, analysed live and time-shifted viewership during a 28-day period. The results showed that over 60% of audiences watched FX’s Sons of Anarchy and TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles after their airdate using either digital video recorders or video-on-demand. By extending the audience measurement period to include time-shifted viewers, some network’s programs are seeing an increase in viewership of over 50 percent.

Not only are networks extending the measurement period to reflect a more accurate portrayal and measurement of audience viewership; ListenLogic has introduced a new TV rating system that incorporates viewer engagement levels into traditional ratings. This new system is called ‘Involved Viewer Ratings’ and aims to provide a more robust measurement of audience involvement. It achieves this by measuring audience’s engagement in conversations and sharing opinions etc. about a program via social media networking sites. The new rating system follows posts and conversations for up to 24 hours after the program has aired. Mark Langsfeld, Founder & CEO of ListenLogic explains that they’re ‘using these unsolicited conversations to tap into a deeper level of viewer involvement and augment traditional TV ratings’.

 

 

TV? Ah, That Old Thing..

The TV’s place in a typical Australian family home has changed dramatically over several decades. In order to better understand the evolution of television, I interviewed my father and asked him to recall memories and experiences while watching TV, and its existence in the family home as he was growing up.

In a four-bedroom home in the rural town of Wagga Wagga, NSW, dad lived with his parents, and five bothers. My father, Terry, believes it would have been during the mid 60’s that his family got their first black and white television (during this time television was available in most of Australia). He has no distinct memory of getting it or how it may have changed his family’s day-to-day activities, as he couldn’t recall a time in his childhood when the family was without one – ‘I suppose it just turned up one day’.

The black and white set was quite small so it sat on a small cabinet in the corner of the lounge room – sharing a wall – in the other corner was a small fireplace. There was a large lounge on the opposite wall and two single seated chairs, maybe a bean bag or two placed around the main feature: the TV. When I asked dad if anyone had a specific seat for watching TV, he could clearly recall that ‘Dad had one seat that he would always sit in’. When I asked if grandma did too, he told me ‘she didn’t watch it that much, she had stuff to do… He [his dad] didn’t watch it much either’. As for the six brothers, they all fought over their preferred seats, but in the end, it was a matter of ‘first in, best dressed’.

After hearing other students describe their parent’s memories of television being filled with excitement and delight, I was intrigued to hear how my fathers experience was different. The interview revealed how comparatively, he was disinterested and unimpressed with TV as a child – my words, not his – ha! I found that the TV wasn’t something dad and his family relied upon as he described it as ‘just another distraction and something to fill in time’. When he spoke of his childhood, his memories were mostly of the time that the six young boys spent together, playing outside – not in front of a TV set. Although dad struggled to remember, he dug deep and could recall watching cartoons – more specifically – ‘Disneyland’, on a Sunday night when he was 9 or 10.

Dad couldn’t think of many rules that the family had around TV time, rather a routine. The boys would come home from school, do their homework, go outside to play, watch TV at night after dinner, and then go to bed at a certain time. The TV was ‘an entertainment thing’; it wasn’t a way of bringing the family together to bond, as his parents often didn’t watch it and that’s what they’d do over dinner.

Fast forward to the early 70’s when dad was about 13. His family bought their second black and white set that found a home on a side cupboard in their dining room – still visible from the kitchen. If the TV was on during dinnertime, it was probably because it was ‘news time; and it remained ‘just something that was there’. Dinner was a time to eat and talk and as dad said, ‘with 6 boys eating and two parents, it gets a bit messy if you’re all focused on the TV’.

It is evident that with the evolution of television, it slowly became an integral part of daily activities and routines, changing our behaviours and attitudes. Although my father wasn’t very interested in TV, he still spoke of it as being integrated into his daily activities as a child. This changed with him watching more TV as he grew older and technology advanced.

Hey BCM240!

Alright, so it’s that time again. The beginning of a new semester means another BCM subject… and another BCM subject means another blogging task.

Did you guys miss me?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my blog or myself – let me introduce myself. It’s only fair, I mean it’s not like it’s obligatory for every new blogging task. Oh wait, yes it is. But that is A-OK because it gives me a chance to tell you what’s new in my life and all about my latest media interests/habits.

My name is Caitlin and I was born and raised in Wagga Wagga as the youngest of five children (wow). I moved to Wollongong for the commencement of UOW’s Autumn session, 2013, and I’ll be hanging around until sometime during 2016 (at least I hope so). Currently in my second year of a Bachelor of Communications and Media studies, doing a double major in Marketing and Advertising, and Management.

Uni aside, I work part time at a café and I enjoy exploring new places and doing new things. I don’t mind exercising, I do like spending quality time with myself, but I also love to be with my friends.

I would have to say that I am highly dependent on my devices – I always have my phone with me and I most certainly need my mac to do my work (and browse the web) – pen, paper and the library just doesn’t cut it these days. One of the fancy features of my house is an intercom system through which the radio is constantly playing. If I’m not using this fabulous invention then I am listening to my iPod. Finally, there is the TV which I only use to watch movies and TV series that I own or have downloaded as the one in my bedroom has no cable connection.

Now that you know a bit about me, here is a peek at my late night media space.

Don’t worry, I realize there a person in my bed but he’s usually there when I decide to crawl into my nest to do some work or just relax, so I figure I best include him. I do have a desk, but when it starts getting late, I prefer being in bed, either with or without the TV on; but definitely with my phone and TV remote by my side as I sit/lie there with my mac.

Media spaces are complex and this image exemplifies that notion. I think it’s rare for people to be occupied by just one singular screen; often their attention is shared between a number of devices. If, in the rare circumstance that I am focused on the one device, within that device my attention is generally divided between a number or applications and activities. I never seem to stop multitasking when using media and devices, and that’s because it’s made all too easy. Media platforms are increasingly becoming integrated to encourage a participative audience culture which ultimately creates more interactive media spaces.

Kath and Kim around the world

The globalisation of TV programs and their consequent success or failure is a result of how they’ve been culturally translated for different global markets. TV as we know it today has relied on the export and import of program formats and it’s no secret that Hollywood has had immense success with this. A lot of TV programs shown on Australian TV have been imported from America, but little did I know that many of these programs originated in other countries. Even Australian reality TV shows such as ‘Deal or No Deal’, ‘Funniest Home Videos’ ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Big Brother’ didn’t originate in our lovely country – they are simply adaptations of the original program.

Although these programs were granted success, it is due to successful adaptation and translation of the program to be applicable to a new cultured audience; this is often more difficult when it comes to translating drama or comedy programs. For example, ‘Desperate Housewives’ originated in Hollywood and has been widely successful and sustained popularity in over 200 countries, with adaptations in several countries reflecting cultural traditions and values. Whereas Australia’s comedy ‘Kath and Kim’ was hugely successful in its homeland, so much so that the lovely ladies released a film, but when licensed to be adapted in America, the audience just didn’t catch on. The cultural translation of television shows is notably seen through the American remake as it is seen as being ironised out for American audiences because they are used to the perfect television stars but in this, lose the irony that the originals boast.

In examining Kath and Kim, it fair to say that it’s difficult for Australian TV programs and ideas to compete with other industries such as Hollywood which evidently holds a position as a dominant flow in the global television market. It is through the inclusion of local acts and personalities of each country’s version of a program that it becomes localised and the content is more likely to be well received, attracting an international audience. So, it can be said that importing international television programs may be attributed with success when common cultural meaning and identity is established, or the TV format is licensed and therefore may be appropriately adapted to translate to the culture of the audience.

REFERENCES:

Turnbull, S (2008) ‘It’s Like They Threw a Panther in the Air and Caught It in Embroidery’: Television Comedy in
Translation’ Metro Magazine Issue 159

Turnbull, S. 2010, “The long tail of mother and son: the transnational career of an Australian situation comedy”, Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, no. 134, pp. 96.

Turnbull, S (2004) ‘Look at Moiye, Kimmie, look at moiye’: Kath and Kim an dthe Australian comedy of taste’ Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy No 113, November pp 98 – 109

Transnational Film Industries

Globalisation has adversely impacted film industries in all aspects of production, ultimately improving cinematic quality and diversity across various global markets. The development of film industries in conjunction with globalisation has both positive and negative factors to be considered. The U.S exemplifies global success as a film industry, where as the Chinese film industry is lagging behind as it struggles to attract large international audiences.

There is an increasing popularity of Indian cinema across various global markets and it has the potential to challenge Hollywood’s cinema hegemony (Karan & Schaefer 2010). An emerging interest in the Indian culture and ‘Bollywood’ can be attributed to socio-cultural variations and hybridization, consequent of formal and informal global network channels. Without globalisation, competition between various global film industries would not exist. Consequently, without the competition, cultural hybridity and hetrogenization would not exist within cinema (at least not as successfully). These factors are important in filmmaking as it is through the inclusion of both local and global elements that content is appealing to a wider audience (Karan & Schaefer 2010). However, it is arguable that through the hybridization of culture and borrowing cultural concepts that cultural identity is lost as a result of misinterpretations and lack of understanding.

The Chinese film industry, for example, lacks the inclusion of both local and global elements; this is one of the many challenges that the industry is facing due to globalisation. However, in analysing the Chinese producer’s problems and competition, alternative methods and ways in which they may be able to achieve more success in a fierce and western-dominant film industry have been suggested. Chinese Confucian culture promotes imitation and tradition, evidenced in their cinema, however lacks the creativity, innovation and the technical skills necessary to compete with other global markets (Huiqun 2010). With an abundance of talent and historical resources, if utilized in a way that American film producers have in the past, Chinese productions have the potential to attract large local and international audiences (Huiqun 2010).

REFERENCES:

Huiqun, L 2010, ‘Opportunities and challenges of globalization for the Chinese film industry’, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 323-328

Jin, D.Y 2012, ‘Transforming the global film industries: Horizontal integration and vertical concentration amid neoliberal globalization’, International Communication Gazette, vol. 74, no. 5, pp. 405-422

Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, Vol.6, No.3, pp.309-316