Tuesday, 6 December 2011
How significant have convergence, synergy and vertical integration been in the development of Sony and its ability to produce, promote and distribute films? Make reference to Spider-man and your own choice of recent release. You must consider DVD and Blu-ray as product as product too.
Sony is one the biggest multi-national corporations in the entire world, it is one of the biggest promoters and distributers of music, film and electrical goods. Focusing on the film industry, there has been many key factors that have contributed towards Sony’s success, some of which are convergence, synergy and vertical integration, all three of these have largely helped Sony become one of, if not the greatest and most recognised media corporation ever.
Firstly there is convergence; convergence is the collaboration of separate technologies to achieve a similar aim or goal. In Sony’s case, it has helped greatly with their own business as they have reached out to similar smaller businesses which have certain specialities and have brought them all together to create films which are much less lacking in particular areas. An example of Sony doing this is the creation of Spider-man, it was a breakthrough in digital technology in films, Sony collaborated with Marvel Comics, owned by Disney and they created Sony Pictures Digital. This made Spider-man a great success in the film industry; it had a budget of $140 million and in fact made over $800 million at box office.
Another example of Sony collaborating with a smaller company is the making of the film Friends with Benefits. Sony worked with Screen Gems on the film to get the best they could. As a result, the film was a huge success with a budget of $35 million and making a staggering $150 million at box office. Although it was not as much of a breakthrough as Spider-man, it was a huge success and convergence had a lot to do with it.
Convergence doesn’t always have to be used on the making a film, it can also be in the distribution of film. A massive breakthrough in the film industry was the invention of Blu-ray which took over from HDDVD forcing companies releasing their films on HDDVD to stop and adopt Blu-ray. Blu-ray was co-created by Sony which immediately gave them a huge advantage when releasing their films to the public. Because Blu-ray was so popular when it was first brought about and most of the films that came out on Blu-ray were created by Sony and some were by Sony with another film company, this did Sony and any other companies related to them a huge favour.
The film Paranormal Activity is a good example of convergence because it was not made by a well-known company but was later bought by one because of how successful it was, it was bought by Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures converging on the film which immediately boosted the film’s popularity.
Secondly, another key factor of Sony’s success is synergy, which is the promotion and sale of a product through the different parts of media e.g. films, soundtracks, video games and merchandise. This can greatly boost a film’s success and is the norm for most films these days. We can link this back to Spider-man, soundtracks, merchandise and video games were brought out to promote the film more. There were at least three successful Spider-man games made to promote the film yet they have become a franchise of their own making a fortune and they had great success doing this. There are many other forms of synergy; many films are promoted via social networking sites because of the audience it will reach. This form of advertising is very new but very effective because the main people using social networking sites are young and the most likely to take notice of the advertisement.
Some companies even create websites to advertise their films, one of the films that have a website is Paranormal Activity, this was a very low budget film being made with only $15,000 yet making an incredible $193 million at box office, and the film had no famous actors starring in it. The website drew many people in because of the rumour that the actual footage in the film was real, this was later disproven yet some people still believe it to be true.
Lastly, another key factor to Sony’s success is vertical integration, the phases of production, distribution and exhibition operate most effectively when 'Vertical Integration', where the three stages are seen as part of the same larger process, under the control of one company. Vertical integration is closely related to convergence where a large corporate company works with smaller specialised companies to achieve a common goal, vertical integration is where a large corporate company works with more than one small company but they are all under the control of the corporate company. Many large corporate companies benefit from using vertical integration because they can hire small companies to specialise in individual parts of their film e.g. visual effects, sound effects or casting.
Sony is one of the few that do not really need to hire small companies; it is that large and has such a broad band of expertise that it does not need to do this because it has Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment, this allows them to create the film itself and the merchandise, soundtrack and any video games.
Overall, Sony is one of the very biggest producers and distributors of films worldwide and has the expertise in every field possible to accomplish the highest quality of film. I believe that Sony will continue in the future to make the highest quality of both American and British film.