How did Sony develop into the media giant it is?
The global commercial media system is dominated by a small number of super powerful, mostly U.S.-based transnational media corporations. However, the Japan-based Sony Corporation started in 1946 as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, with three employees. Now, it boasts more than 180,000 employees worldwide and over $58 billion in sales for 2001. Its Sony Pictures Entertainment is one of the seven major movie houses in Hollywood, while Sony Music is one of the top five distributors of albums worldwide. Heading into 2003, Sony's strategy is a gamble: connecting each of its consumer products to the Internet and then using them as a platform to deliver content from its entertainment divisions. Meanwhile, revenue from video games and movies has kept it atop of the Japanese electronics industry.
Nine out of every ten films shown in the UK are viewed as a result of the major distributors, such as Sony. And in most cases are linked to the Hollywood production companies who make the films. The British companies are no longer owned by the same Hollywood companies but, to make a profit, prioritise Hollywood films over others. Blockbuster films are often distributed via blanket release, meaning if a small independent UK company gets its product into cinemas, it’s facing stiff, well-marketed competition from films that often take on the status of an event.
The Sony Group is divided into five sections: film, television, music, electronics and computer. These make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony's principal business operations include Sony Corporation (Sony Electronics in the U.S.), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Ericsson, and Sony Financial.
In 1989, Sony acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment, the American Film and television company – now it could make films with Sony equipment which could be watched in homes and (in some cases, Sony-owned) cinemas on Sony hardware. Beyond that, it had acquired Columbia’s back catalogue to be released on video and DVD which, in an ideal world, could be played on Sony hardware.
How did the release of the first Spider-man film show advantages of synergy?
Spider-Man is a 2002 American superhero film, the first in the Spider-Man film series based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. After being stuck in development hell for nearly 25 years, the film was licensed for a worldwide release by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1999 after it acquired James Cameron's original scriptment.
Spider-Man was released on May 3, 2002, and became a critical and financial success. With $821.71 million worldwide, it was 2002's third-highest-grossing film and is the 30th highest-grossing film of all timeSpider-Man was, for its time, the only film to reach $100 million dollars in its first weekend, the largest opening weekend gross of all time, and the most successful film based on a comic book. The film's success led to a successful film trilogy composed of it, Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007), After the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Sony recalled teaser posters which showed a close-up of Spider-Man's face with the New York skyline, including, prominently, the World Trade Center towers reflected in his eyes.
The movie's original teaser trailer, released in 2001, featured a mini-movie plot involving a group of bank robbers escaping in a Eurocopter AS355 Twin Squirrel helicopter, which gets caught from behind and propelled backward into what at first appears to be a net, then is shown to be a gigantic spider web spun between the two towers at the World Trade Center. According to Sony the trailer did not contain any actual footage from the film itself and is consequently one of the most popular "Special Shoot" trailers since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The trailer was pulled after the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks, but can be found on the Internet.
Also, for the first Spider-Man film, the soundtrack consisted of artists signed to Sony-Columbia, which would effectively promote the artists, the movie and, ultimately, increase revenue for Sony. The video for the theme song, by Chad Kroeger, featured scenes from the movie, thus promoting it. Although Kroeger's band, Nickelback, are signed to the independent Road Runner Records, it is actually owned by Sony-Columbia! At the time, Sony even co-owned its own cinema chain in which to show its films; although this is no longer the case, the company has struck a deal with cinema chain AMC, the second largest in North America, to install its digital cameras in all of its screens.
As a result, Spider-Man was a major commercial success, becoming the first film to pass the $100 million mark in a single weekend. With the release in the United States and Canada on May 3, 2002 on 7,500 screens at 3,615 theaters, the film earned $39,406,872 on its opening day, averaging $10,901 per theater ($5,524.25 per screen). This was the highest opening day at the time until it was surpassed by its sequel, Spider-Man 2, in 2004. Spider-Man also set an all-time record for the highest earnings in a single day with $43,622,264 on May 4, 2002.
Synergy- is the promotion and sale of a product throughout the various subsidiaries of a media conglomerate e.g. films, soundtracks or video games. Walt Disney pioneered synergistic marketing techniques in the 1930s by granting dozens of firms the right to use his Mickey Mouse character in products and ads, and continued to market Disney media through licensing arrangements. These products can help advertise the film itself and thus help to increase the film's sales.
Convergence-is the integration of previoulsy separate technologies to achieve a particular aim - to make, distribute, promote and exhibit a movie. In Sony's case, this has been achieved by developing the strengths of their own company, by acquiring other companies - or at least coming to a financial arrangement with them, which was the case with Marvel Comics (recently bought by Disney) and the making of Spider-Man, and branching out into areas of new technology, such as Sony Pictures Digital, which oversees digital production and the creation of websites to promote films and other products. On top of this, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment manufactures and distributes the Sony film library on Blu-ray Disc (which was co-created by Sony and which has seen off HDDVD, forcing other companies to adopt Blu-ray) and DVD.
Vertical and Horizontal Intergration- In the practice of Hollywood and other forms of industrial cinema, the phases of production, distribution and exhibition operate most effectively when 'VERTICAL INTEGRATED', where the three stages are seen as part of the same larger process, under the control of one company.
Horizontal integration is where a company expands its business into different products that are similar to current lines.