Title page for ETD etd-11082004-134651

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Niemand, Ella Catharina
URN etd-11082004-134651
Document Title Reinventing cinema : a perspective on the implications of the internet on the cinema industry
Degree MA (Drama)
Department Arts
Advisor Name Title
Prof A F Grobler
Prof J C Cronje
  • no keywords available
Date 2003-01-05
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation is an explorative study into the influence of the Internet, as new communication technology, on the cinema industry. The study aimed to show that the nature of the Internet not only serves as the basis of a new distribution platform and marketing tool, but also creates the syntax by which a new form of entertainment has been developed. Paul Leduc called for Salamander cinema as a means of developing a cinema industry against the dinosaurs (Hollywood) through collective action and the application of new technology. The nature of the Internet creates the opportunity of rethinking the cinema format and reinventing it for a new generation of new media content consumers.

At the beginning of the 21st century, cinema, like many industries operates on the industrial principles of producing a product (films), distributing it through as many channels (theatre, television, video) to as large an audience as possible to earn maximum profit on minimum investment. The multinational media conglomerates that make up the Hollywood institution is generally acknowledged as the centre of worldwide cinema industry. This study showed that Hollywood’s dominance lies in its control of global film distribution, its powerful marketing and promotion of its high-concept films, its creative assimilation of new technology and the power of the studio system or the (now) world media conglomerates.

Non-Hollywood cinema industries, working outside the Hollywood system find it increasingly difficult to exist because of the enormous costs involved in the production, distribution and promotion of film and because the traditional distribution platforms are flooded with popular Hollywood cinema. This has also been the case in South Africa. The 2001 INDABA of the newly found National Film and Video Foundation called for the exploration of new opportunities for film development through new media technologies. This call emphasised the need to analyse the significance of the Internet on the South African cinema industry.

This study was mainly conducted through an investigation of literary sources and an extensive investigation into new media entertainment on the Internet. Due to the ever-changing nature of the Internet, information and research examples that was analysed can be invalid or outdated in the near future. The extensive list of web sites at the end of the study serve to facilitate further reading and discovery of the subject.

The most prominent findings of the study can be summarised as follows:

§ The postmodern global forces of the new media landscape, such as globalisation, capitalism, consumerism, cultural imperialism and the entertainment economy have significantly changed the function of cinema to primarily industrial.

§ Hollywood’s dominance was established through its popular culture and its vertical integration of the cinema industry, whereby it controls the global cinema industry.

§ Non-Hollywood cinema, namely national and independent cinema creatively altered their distribution and marketing patterns to reach an audience, mainly through the art cinema circuit and film festivals.

§ New media entertainment provides a new generation of filmmakers and artist from around the world the opportunity to tell their stories in unique ways, create attention, advertise and distribute them on the Internet.

§ The Internet offers filmmakers the choice to work outside the regulated system of Hollywood. It offers filmmakers the opportunity to produce and distribute their own work. It serves as a developmental tool and a medium of cross collaboration with multiple opportunities. The Internet makes the work of these filmmakers available to a global audience. It offers greater creative freedom than most other present mediums.

§ South Africa is still faced with, amongst others, problems of connectivity, availability and bandwidth. The Internet, as new media entertainment medium, has not yet been applied to its fullest potential. However filmmakers are already using the principles of the Internet to create structures for the development of a South African cinema industry.

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