The Film Industry By: Team 1 - Dominique Marinelli, Taylor McCarthy and Tiffany Jagsarran

The media and entertainment industry consists of four sections: print, radio, television and film.

The film industry includes large, multinational corporations, major studios, and independent studios. The film industry is a profitable entertainment sector as it creates visual narratives that entertain and inspire the audience.

People enjoy movies because for two and half hours they are compelled to an interesting story based on someone else's life. By being in a dark theater they do not have to worry about folding clothes, or answering e-mails (Talbot, 2012).

The Lumière Brothers from France are credited with creating some of the earliest movie shorts with a collection of 15-30 second scenarios in the 1890s. A collection of these short scenes include a train arriving at a station, a man watering his garden, men playing cards, and people getting off of a ferry boat (baldasty, 2013).
Left: Auguste Lumière and Louis Lumière seen together above working on a film strip. Right: Louis Lumière examining film

Movies brought Americans their first view of a street car, along with the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the twentieth century. In the eyes of a motion picture viewer, the movie was realistic. If a train pulled into a station, it seemed as though it was coming directly at them. Spectators in the front row were so terrified thinking the train was actually going to come right at them in the theater, that they ran out (Baldasty, 2013).

The film industry started to pick up after renowned director, David Wark Griffith, discovered Hollywood in southern California.

Griffith was sent by his company to the west coast with his acting troop to film in downtown Los Angeles and while they were there they ventured out and found a little village, called "Hollywood" that was friendly and enjoyed the movie company filming there. He filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood, In Old California and his company requested him to stay to make several films before returning to New York (Film industry, 2013).

After hearing about this wonderful place, many movie-makers headed west to avoid the fees imposed by Thomas Edison in 1913. Edison owned patents on the movie-making process since he created the kinetoscope, which is the device that originally captured the moving picture motion. The momentum in Los Angeles grew as more the studios relocated because filmmakers were drawn to Hollywood with its mild climate and reliable sunlight. This made it possible to film movies outdoors all year-round, along with the varied scenery available there (Film industry, 2013).

Early films had not named the actors for fear of creating stars which would have caused them to request higher salaries. However as Hollywood grew in the period after 1912, the industry came to rely on them in order to make audiences return to their new movies (Baldasty, 2013).

Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, and Marelene Dietrich were among the most popular actors

The momentum of the films being produced started to increase by end of the silent era in the late 1920s to near the end of the 1940s. A variety of genres were developed and ranged from Western, slapstick comedy, film noir, musical, animated cartoon, biopics, and newsreels (Film industry, 2013).

The motion picture theater industry in the first half of the twentieth century was dominated by a handful of companies known as "the five majors": Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., MGM, and RKO Pictures. They had the power to produced, distributed, and exhibited films in company-owned theaters, especially after gaining even more control during the Great Depression. Companies such as Columbia, Universal Pictures, and United Artists Corporation were smaller and focused mainly on distribution (Motion Picture Theaters, Except Drive-In, 2014).

The top five production companies took over during the Great Depression. Movies were an outlet to escape the harsh reality of the Great Depression creating a diversion (Motion Picture Theaters, Except Drive-In, 2014).

Popular movies at the time: The Birth of a Nation, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Only Angels Have Wings, Ninotchka, and Midnight. Among the other films in the Golden Age period that remain classics to the present day: Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life, the original King Kong, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Film industry, 2013).

The film industry generated $720 million in 1929.


The top four studios today are: Universal, Buena Vista, Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox.

the highest grossing films for the top four studios of 2015

Universal - Jurassic World, Furious 7, and Minions
Buena Vista (Disney) - Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Inside Out
Warner Bros. - American Sniper, San Andreas, and Mad max: Fury Road
20th Century Fox - THe martian, home, and Kingsman: The Secret Service


Technology Changing The Film Industry

Technological innovations and new distribution channels have opened up new opportunities in this sector. Investing in technological innovation is important in enhancing the audience experience. Technology’s greatest impact in this field is new cameras that allow cinematographer to shoot in a high definition thus allowing viewers to see the amazing work in set design. Technology enhances new possibilities for the production of movies. Modern technology advances production of movies that were not possible before, such as Avatar, Gravity, and Pixar movies.

New distribution channels such as Internet streaming provide your audience with ways to access movies and TV anywhere. Streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, is changing the way TV shows and movie are being made and watched. They provide on-demand content and create original shows. It is clear that major film studios should collaborate with streaming services.

Most consumers today watch things on Netflix or they download movies, so they’re not going to theaters. Thus theaters are trying to compete with streaming services. Improving the theater environment by offering fine dining and luxury seating the film industry is further enhancing the audience’s experiences. As result, attendance increased in 2015 by 2%. These costs have driven the price of a movie up but compared to other forms of entertainment, attending a movie is the most affordable.

This graph displays the audience attendance in millions of various forms of entertainment in the United States.

Major Modes of Marketing

Advertising, Public Relations, and Events

The major modes of marketing in the film industry focus dominantly on advertising, public relations, and events (Ashe-Edmunds). Film studios have begun to follow a 50/50 rule when it comes to spending for the production and the media expenditures (Reiss, 2010). If production costs $100,000 it is safe to assume that media expenditures will be $100,000 as well.


Advertising is extremely important for the film industry because it is the primary communication method used. Advertising is very expensive when trying to obtain “successful promotion through preparation, planned implementation, and anticipation for crises or unexpected responses,” which is the primary goal for most film studios (Cheng, 2014).

Examples of advertising methods used are:

  • Promotion of new movies through trailers on TV and online
  • Movie posters on billboards
  • Advertisements on public transportation
  • Print ads in magazines

An important key in advertising is to make it memorable.

Gaining emotional expressions will invoke a memory in a viewer, such as:

  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Humor
  • Anger
  • Lust
Public relations

Film studios focus on public relations to create awareness about new movies. Studios will rely on actors and actresses to promote the movie in interviews and through social media during press junkets (Ashe-Edmunds). Publicity is a key element in creating awareness because if you want to “leverage viral marketing of any sorts, you must begin by doing something worth talking about” (Taylor, 2013). Before Chronicle was released, Twentieth Century Fox flew remote controlled humans all over New York City gaining a lot of free publicity.


Events are held by studios as another way to promote the movie. Major movies typically have movie premiers which highlight the actors and give a special screening of the new movie. Viewers like to be involved and a key element in events is involvement.

The Hunger Games movie had one of the “most forward-thinking digital marketing campaigns of the decade” because of the virtual game they created which allowed viewers to “experience what the characters in the film experienced and interact with other fans” (Taylor, 2013).

Warner Brothers launched the “Why so serious campaign?” that brought fans to the city of Gotham leading up to the release of Dark Knight (Taylor, 2013).

Changing demographics and psychographics

As generations are getting older and technology is becoming more advanced, many changes in demographics and psychographics are affecting the film industry especially in marketing, advertising, and movie themes.

Statistics have shown that 68% of 18-24 year olds are accessing the Internet more through their cell phone or tablet rather than a computer and 25-34 year olds are 79% more likely to use the Internet through their phone, while 35-44 year olds are 37% more likely, as shown in the table in Figure 1. These statistics give marketers and advertisers insights on new ways to market movies and promote movies.

Figure 1:

From Simmons OneView, Statistics based on Index

Competition such as Netflix and Hulu become prominent for the film industry in 18-24 years olds and 25-34 year olds whom are 70% and 58% more likely to watch movies on smaller devices such as computers or tablets, as seen in Figure 2 below. It gives understanding that these age brackets will watch movies where it is most convenient and it causes the major Film Studios to make their movies more available and convenient to access.

Figure 2:

From Simmons OneView, Statistics based on Index

Figure 1 and Figure 2 give interesting conclusions for the Film Industry. When it comes to advertising movies, whether it is a trailer or just a basic ad, it is best to advertise using mobile advertisement placements because the statistics show people from 18 to 44 are way more likely to access the internet through their phone. The film industry should consider making movies more readily available for viewers because the majority of the millennial generation are watching movies on their computers or tablets because of convenience.

Movies have a strong universal appeal. Watching a movie gives the viewer a chance to escape reality. Movies also allow the audience to experience situations you would not normally experience. People have emotional connections to movies. A goal of the film industry is to make people's stories come to life. A good film resonates with a particular person and often encourages one to believe in themselves. With the advancement of technology, movies have developed and have become more visually stimulating in order to engage the viewer. With access to movies everywhere, marketers have to focus their campaigns on engaging their target audience based on their preferences on how they watch movies.

Created By
Team 1 Research


Created with images by ToastyKen - "Watching a blank screen" • kaykaybarrie - "Factory Theatre" • janeb13 - "charlie chaplin 1918 a dog's life" • snkprotoss - "Edward Steichen, Marlene Dietrich, Hollywood, 1931" • niekverlaan - "projector film exhibition" • annca - "popcorn cinema ticket"

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