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Über dieses Buch

This book demonstrates, in contrast to statistics that show declining consumption of physical formats, that there has not been a mass shift towards purely digital media. Physical releases such as special editions, DVD box-sets and Blu-Rays are frequently promoted and sought out by consumers. And that past formats such as VHS, Laserdisc and HD-DVD make for sought-after collectible items. These trends are also found within particular genres and niche categories, such as documentary, education and independent film distribution. Through its case studies, this collection makes a distinctive and significant intervention in highlighting the ways in which the film industry has responded to rapidly changing markets. This volume, global in scope, will prove useful to those studying the distribution and exhibition of films, and the economics of the film industry around the world.



Chapter 1. Introduction

The volume focuses on physical home media distribution, as whilst there has been some critical engagement with this area it has been under-researched in recent years. This is partly due to the fact that digital formats are rising in popularity and the attention of many researchers, academics and writers has turned in this direction. However, as the introduction will argue, DVD (and in certain markets Blu-ray) is still a hugely influential platform. Chapters that focus on digital home media acknowledge that these draw parallels with DVD traits, for example through the term ‘box sets’. The chapters that make up the collection look at this influence through various case studies—from ‘tentpole’ brands and films (Disney and Star Wars), to the education market and documentaries.
Jonathan Wroot, Andy Willis

The Continuing Significance of Discs in Film Consumption


Chapter 2. Disneyizing Home Entertainment Distribution

This chapter explores Disney’s strategic exploitation of home video (and subsequent home entertainment) media, particularly from VHS to Blu-ray, with distinctive forms of repackaging and repurposing of animated films. Disney, above all other Hollywood studios, has found ways to develop and maintain the value of its library––and to expand the Disney brand, claiming ownership, or Disneyizing, the library titles of subsidiaries and partner production companies (Pixar, Touchstone) and even their own use of the technologies (Disney DVD, Disney Blu-ray). Disney’s actions have been large-scale and prolific, mainly because of the size of the corporation and their actions. This has made Disney particularly influential within the physical home media industry.
Jason Scott

Chapter 3. ‘Now I Am the Master’: Home Video, Canon, and Authorship Among George, Lucasfilm, Fox, and Fans

Star Wars has for decades expanded its universe across thousands of TV episodes, books, comics, games, and other licensed narrative forms. George Lucas’s sale of his company Lucasfilm to Disney in 2013, however, brought about a crisis of identity for Star Wars and its “Expanded Universe.” This has been particularly prolific in relation to home media releases and re-releases. In this chapter I will analyze how Lucasfilm has altered the structure of the Star Wars transmedia continuity from a multi-tiered hierarchical creator-centric canon to a new, broadly collaborative, non-hierarchical canonical system. This has particularly been evidenced in the paratextual discourse that surrounds the DVDs and Blu-rays for Episodes I–VI.
Andrew James Myers

Chapter 4. Combining Nemo: Pixar Home Media and the DVD of Narrative Integration

Within scholarship on contemporary home video formats, the structures of the Digital Video Disc (DVD) have been allied to Tom Gunning’s “cinema of attractions” paradigm that commonly fuels the dialectic between spectacle and narrative. This article argues how developments in DVDs as new media objects are ultimately commensurate with early cinema’s moves towards narrative structure. The DVD of Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, 2003) is a rich illustration of this progressive transition towards ‘narrativised’ DVD content. The menus are ‘animated’ into bearers of narrative meaning. Pixar feature films in particular are found to be demonstrative of this trend, which suggests capabilities of the DVD and Blu-Ray in relation to storytelling—which digital streaming platforms do not yet cater to.
Christopher Holliday

Chapter 5. Letting the Fans Be Involved: Third Window’s Cultivation of an Audience for Disc Releases

Third Window has been distributing Asian films in the UK since 2006. In order to maintain its position as one of the few UK-based Asian film distributors, Third Window has closely involved its fans and followers with its home media strategy—especially via Facebook and Twitter. In particular, fan votes for package artwork and competitions have now evolved into crowdfunding campaigns for Blu-Ray releases and the financing of co-produced films in Japan. Third Window’s dedication to the home media format and its consumers demonstrates the potential of physical releases of films, in contrast to digital alternatives (such as streaming and downloading services). Specifically, revealing the practicalities of the industry assists in maintaining consumer interest in physical formats and Third Window’s titles.
Jonathan Wroot

Chapter 6. The Education Market for Screen Media: DVD in a Time of Digital Abundance

An overlooked ancillary market where physical media distribution remains strong is the education market. Educators continue to request the physical media characteristics of DVD. As a result, the relative overall decline of the DVD in the home market has not been mirrored to the same extent in education. What are the distinct needs and characteristics of the education market these distributors currently engage with and how do physical media continue to meet those needs? This chapter will provide an overview of the distinct characteristics of this market for screen content in both UK and Australian contexts. The distinctive work of film distributors, festivals, foundations and charities within the education market for screen content offers examples of meeting specific audience demands through DVD media.
Ruari Elkington

Contexts: Patterns of Distribution, Exhibition and Consumption


Chapter 7. Film Distribution: A Changing Business

This chapter reveals the importance of the video market to processes of change and growth in the film distribution business. Film became a newly lucrative business because the demand for films in the video market grew dramatically in the 1980s. With the recent development of the digital and on-line video market, in which distributors are replaced by new gatekeepers such as digital platform providers and what are called content aggregators, the market share for on-line revenues is also growing year on year. The chapter considers: how do distributors respond to the growing on-line video market? Will digital platform providers and content aggregators become more dominant in the near future? And how does this affect film distribution processes?
Roderik Smits

Chapter 8. The Rise of the Feature Documentary—Fact or Fiction?

The last fifteen years have seen the relentless rise of the feature documentary—from four titles released in UK cinemas in 2001 to one hundred and seventeen in 2015. For most documentaries, a short platform cinema release provides the oxygen of press reviews and publicity to drive DVD and VOD sales in an increasingly saturated market. This chapter analyses key trends in documentary distribution by charting the rise of Dogwoof and Picturehouse as two of the UK’s leading documentary distributors. These case studies explore the mechanics of documentary distribution and the clever marketing campaigns used by distributors to create new audiences for documentary beyond its niche market. Dogwoof’s success in home entertainment demonstrates how to develop an engaged audience for documentary despite limited theatrical exposure.
Shane O’Sullivan

Chapter 9. Up All Night: The Shifting Roles of Home Media Formats as Transmedia Storytelling

In this age of convergence, where media platforms and industries are becoming increasingly connected and intertwined, ‘transmedia’ has become a buzzword that scholars and industry alike have come to perceive as the media production strategy of the future. When scholars theorise transmedia storytelling, they typically prioritise film, TV, videogames and websites. DVDs and Blu-Rays—physical formats that occupy a vital role in extending and repurposing media content across new terrains—are often overlooked. This chapter will question what specific roles they play in extending stories across media platforms. This chapter explores the specific case studies of Doctor Who and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Matthew Freeman, William Proctor

Chapter 10. Box Sets on the Set-Top Box: The Promotion of on Demand Television in Britain

In Britain, the rise of online video on-demand (VOD) has been complicated by the increasing tendency for television service providers to present their web-connected offerings precisely as ‘box sets’. This chapter asks what industrial purpose is served by this apparently nostalgic appropriation of the physical commodity form as a promotional frame of reference for the virtual. I argue that it functions to mine and repurpose the discourses of value that scholars have observed in the objectification and isolation of television texts on DVD, while positioning VOD as continuous with rather than interruptive of older technologies of viewing, specifically with reference to the case study of Sky.
Sam Ward

Chapter 11. A Labour of Love: Fantrepreneurship in Home Video Media Distribution

This chapter uses a cultural and economic approach to examine the activities of one specific home video distribution company, the American independent label Vinegar Syndrome, as a case study of a successful and innovative fan enterprise. Established in 2012, the label specialises in releasing exploitation films on DVD, Blu-Ray and video-on-demand. The company is run by fans of cult cinema and uses a business model uncommon in independent home video media distribution, which involves them recovering, digitally restoring and releasing titles that are part of their extensive personal archive of exploitation films. I draw on an organisational analysis of the company and interview material to illustrate how the practices involved in running Vinegar Syndrome can be understood as fantrepreneurship.
Oliver Carter

Chapter 12. ‘To Own or not to Own?’ Home Video Devices, Applications, Formats, and the Family Decision-Making Process Behind the Viewing Choice

There is a wealth of research available on family everyday life and what is often referred to as an increasingly multi-media nature of the home. However, while the discussion often focuses on the media devices used in the home, video platforms, services and formats are often absent from these debates, as well as audience research. This chapter will particularly focus on these gaps in research and examine family’s video consumption habits and practices by looking at the use of various digital television devices, services, platforms and formats in the home, including video on demand and DVD. The chapter will investigate the logic behind the choices made and examine how they affect family viewing and consumption practices.
Ksenia Frolova


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