Section B – Key terminology

Art-house films

Adjective used to describe alternative, non-mainstream, ‘quality’ films (often foreign-language films). These films would often play in ‘arthouse’ (independently-owned) cinemas.

Audience consumption

What the audience like/use/watch. The audience consumer different texts (it could refer to technology they use, the films they watch or like).


A film that secures huge publicity and (more likely than not) huge box office sales.


Computer Generated Imagery. Refers to the (usually) 3-D effects that enhance all kinds of still and moving images, from text effects, to digital snow or fire, to the generation of entire landscapes.


Large multinational company with a range of media interests, evidencing concentration of ownership, e.g. News Corporation; Time-Warner, Walt Disney Company.


The information and experience(s) directed towards an end-user or audience. Content is “something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts”.

Cross media convergence

Convergence of media occurs when multiple products come together to form one product with the advantages of all of them.

Digital media technology

Digital media is digitized content that can be transmitted over the internet or computer networks. This can include text, audio, video, and graphics. This means that news from a TV network, newspaper, magazine, etc. that is presented on a Web site or blog can fall into this category.


The process of making sure a feature or short is available to screen in a cinema or at a film festival. Also the process by which films are made available on DVD. Preceded by production and followed by exhibition.


The point at which a feature or short is screened for the viewing public; preceded by production and distribution.


A series of films, TV programmes, games or other media products based on the same background characters or situations. Often crosses a range of media forms and platforms (for example, Star Wars films, TV series, website, games, toys, etc) Any product which has a sequel or spin-off can be considered the start of a franchise.

Global institution

A formal organization (with its own set of rules and behaviours) that creates and distributes media texts on a global scale.

Guerilla Marketing

The use of unconventional and low cost marketing strategies to raise awareness of a product. The aim is usually to create “buzz” and “word of mouth” around a film. Unusual stunts to gain publicity (P.R.) on the film’s opening weekend, etc.


The machines, wiring, and other physical components of a computer or other electronic system.


When a film plays for longer than originally intended, perhaps because of large audiences, or winning an award.


A high-end mobile phone built on a mobile computing platform, with more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a standard feature phone. Smartphones serve to combine the functions of portable media players, compact digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and GPS navigation units. Modern smartphones typically also include highresolution touchscreens, web browsers that can access and properly display standard web pages and allow high-speed data access via Wi-Fi and mobile broadband.

Horizontal Integration

Complementary businesses. In relation to film this means one large company owning several other companies in different media (E.g. owning a film production company and a magazine).

Vertical Integration

When a company owns all stages of the production, distribution and sale or, in the case of cinema, exhibition of its product.

Independent films

Also known as an indie films is a feature film that is produced outside of the major film studio system.

Institutional convergence

When companies merge together.


A formal organization (with its own set of rules and behaviours) that creates and distributes media texts.

International institution

A formal organization (with its own set of rules and behaviours) that creates and distributes media texts on an international scale.


The practice of promotion specifically in the film industry, and usually occurs in coordination with the process of film distribution.

Media consumption

The sum of information and entertainment media taken in by an individual or group. It includes activities such as interacting with new media, reading books and magazines, watching television and film, and listening to radio.

Media ownership

A process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organisations control increasing shares of the mass media. The best example would be to consider ‘Working Title’ and how much ownership they have over their productions, as they’re part of ‘Universal’.


The process of manufacturing, distributing, licensing and sale of T-shirts, toys, posters, key-rings etc that contain characters or designs from a movie.


Multi-screen cinemas located on the edge of large cities or conurbations with easy road access.

Niche audience

‘Niche’ is a fraction of a total audience or market. A relatively small segment of the audience or market with specific interests and tastes.


Date of release of a film in a specific market.


Period during which a media product is created (including, for example, filming, photographing, editing, printing, publishing, etc) leading to the final outcome(s).


The availability and fast access to certain products. This could be availability of cheaper, better quality hardware (like HD digital camera, etc) or the choice and access to films that the audience has (via the internet, cinema, television).

Pull marketing

Audience pulling the marketing by accessing websites or links related to the film.

Push marketing

Distributors pushing the film at audiences through mediums such as billboards and trailers.


The name given to the process whereby two or more media products are interlinked, for commercial or artistic purposes. Linked to the concept of franchises. For example, The Matrix franchise contains synergistic products including the films, the Animatrix DVD, the Enter the Matrix game and soundtrack CDs amongst others. Synergy is also linked to 360° marketing.

In another sense, synergy is created when companies are working together at a mutual benefit but remaining separate.

Target audience

A group of people that a product is specifically aimed at.

Technological convergence

The growing interactive use of digital technology in the film industry and media which enables people to share, consume and produce media that was difficult or impossible just a few years earlier.

The Big Six

The six companies that form the Hollywood system. These are 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Disney, Columbia, Paramount and Warner Bros.


Promotional campaigns (Happy Meals, car tvcs – you name it) where another company gets together with the film company and they promote their products jointly.

Unique selling point (USP)

The feature that will make the film standout from other films. The USP will be emphasized in any publicity etc.

User-generated content

A range of media content produced by members of the general public/amateurs using accessible and affordable media technology. Digital media technologies are used for blogging, podcasting, video, mobile phone photography, wikis, etc.

Viral marketing

The name given to any kind of promotion (often involving short video clips) which spreads in the manner of a virus (usually starting on the internet) via e-mail, mobile phones, texting or social networking sites. Often communicated via word-of-mouth rather than more traditional distribution mechanisms giving the viral an exclusive quality. Users are encouraged to pass on materials by themselves.


Building a brand through a ‘conversation’ with the consumer, usually online e.g. a Facebook fan page where consumers leave comments and download images and videos

Wide release

The film is released nationally in all markets.

Platform release

A limited opening at key cinemas to develop word of mouth. Once a good buzz has been achieved, the movie will open at more cinemas (wide release).

Exclusive and Limited runs release

Exclusive and limited runs begin with engagements at a limited number of screens, traditionally in large urban areas, such as Toronto. Based on favourable reviews and positive word-of-mouth, the film may move slowly to additional theatres.

Territorial saturation release

Territorial saturation involves saturating a territory with bookings, heavy advertising and promotion, before moving on to another territory.

Universal release

The film is released in several countries on the same day.


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