• Joshua Buck

How the internet changed film

The internet opened a pleather of opportunities for the film industry and definitely gave indie-filmmakers and independent filmmakers more of a presence for the individuals to distribute to a wider audience that they could have only dreamed of before the internet worked its way into nearly all mainstream houses. This gave an online presence to filmmakers and meant that they could start crowd-sourcing and funding.

Film marketing began with official film sites and back in 1997: 40% ‘had interactive attributes, such as games’ (Wasko). The internet changed film due to the fact that film websites meant that companies “blurred the boundaries between the original fan activity and marketing ploys” (Pullen in Gauntlet 55). The Blair Witch Project (1999) was the first transmedia campaign which had 3m+ hits daily which really outlines how important the internet was especially considering the film only had a budget of $60,000 (According to This created a culture where audiences and production companies felt closer. It is this that Jenkins has the theory of Participatory culture. “Participatory culture: Culture in which fans and other consumers are invited to actively participate in the creation and circulation of new content” (Jenkins, 2006:257). This means that fans of content such as Lord of the Rings (2001) where they posted pre-production new on the site it allowed for fans to come up with their own fan fiction. This therefore means that the consumers turn into prosumers. “The “prosumer” can fashion her identity through the aesthetics of the brand-text (i.e. personalization) and then share it through the social networks’ (Michael Serazio, author of Your ad Here; The Cool Sell of Guerilla Marketing interviewed on Jenkins weblog 2013).

Social media has also changed the way that studios have the opportunity for multiple means of distribution to create synergy. Synergy is ‘the economic opportunities that emerge in a context of horizontal integration where one media conglomerate holds interests in multiple channels of distribution’ (Jenkins 292). With the introduction of platforms such as Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Instagram (2010) and Snapchat in 2011. Studios started to use Facebook in 2011 and the studios and marketing companies drew on fan behaviour. Twitter had sponsored tweets in 2010 (including Sony Pictures). Snapchat also had its first branded lens with 20th Century Fox in October 2015 all these examples clearly indicate how the development of social media on the internet has played a part in how studios and marketing companies are using this as a new means of reaching audiences.

The internet has paved way for new forms of marketing for and can be transmedia. ‘Nearly every media property today offers some form of transmedia extensions, such as promotional websites’ (Mittell 2015, 294). Studios are using this to their advantage ‘whose prime goal is to expand the storyworld and to extend narrative engagement with the series and that are not designed, primarily, to chronicle, reflect on, or promote a program’ (Mittell 2015, 294). In order for films to succeed on the internet Henry Jenkins in 2009 outlines 7 principles of transmedia storytelling these being:

1. Spreadability vs Drillability

2. Continuity vs Multiplicity

3. Worldbuilding

4. Immersion vs Extractability

5. Seriality

6. Performance

7. Subjectivity

If these elements are met then a film can create a massive online presence that will only make their film bigger an example of this would be Inception (2010) which spent $100 million on marketing and produced T-Shirts that had QR codes on them. This film fully embraces transmedia and is evidence that the internet became the norm for films to use as they realised that it was a new amazing way to reach a wide audience and generate a buzz around the film.


Jenkins, H. n.p. Keynote: Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Five Key Principles of Transmedia Entertainment. [video online] Available at:

Jenkins, H. Fandom, Participatory Culture, and Web 2.0 -- A Syllabus. Confessions of an Aca-Fan. The Weblog of Henry Jenkins. 9 January 2010.

Jenkins Henry, Mizuko Ito, Danah Boyd Participatory Culture in a Networked Era: A Conversation on Youth, Learning, Commerce, and Politics. Polity Press, 2015

Jenkins, H. Guerrilla Marketing?: An Interview with Michael Serazio (Part One). Confessions of an Aca-Fan. The Weblog of Henry Jenkins. 18 September 2013

Jenkins, H. Spreadable Media; Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York U.P., 2013.

Jenkins, H. Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture, New York and London: New York U.P., 2006.

Wasko, J. How Hollywood Works. London: Sage, 2003.

Mittell, J. Complex TV. The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling. New York and London: New York University Press, 2015

Gray, A. How Twitter Killed the Official Movie Website. The Guardian. 16 June 2014.

#Film #Inception #ChristopherNolan

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