How The Internet Has Changed Movies: Infamous Ubiquity
The internet has certainly taken its toll on most art forms–music, books, and TV shows among them–and there is increasing worry that the movie industry is equally vulnerable in its own way. Questions abound concerning the internet's role in the movie business. Has the change already occurred? Will movies be around any longer? Are movies being made any differently today because of the internet?
Well, some changes have certainly already come to pass. Although not as hard-hit as the TV industry, film still struggles with similar problems. One person with a well-hidden camcorder can post the first viewing of a movie online for all to see, albeit grainy and indecipherable. To combat such freelance movie espionage, private showings and pre-screenings are now held with a much closer eye on security, and film crews are generally expected to live up to a higher standard of information accountability.
When making the movie, the benefits of the internet tend to outweigh the negative effects. Different members, from directors to grips, can communicate to each much more effectively using the internet, especially when long distances are involved. Getting answers from producers or managers and researching facts has never been easier because of the internet, and internet-based communication helps much of the organization so necessary to filming.
When a movie is commercially released, then nothing can stop the internet floodgates, and any number of legal clips or pirated downloads are possible. While this primarily concerns the theaters and later on, movie rental businesses, there is a trickle-up effect from the actions of these businesses. If theaters are losing money because people are downloading movies online or waiting to digitally rent them, then those costs will eventually be transferred over to the movie industry. What does this mean? Lower budgets. In the end, moviemakers will probably have to start doing more with less, and then even less, until a balance is struck between traditional movie making and online media.
The marketing for a movie has also changed because of the internet. Not only are marketing campaigns now using all the different forms of communication available online to spread the word about movies, but they are also keying into commentary involving movies. The internet has drastically increased the ability of people to exchange opinions about the latest film immediately after seeing it, creating a much faster response time.
Ultimately, one of the major effects the internet may have on movies stems from its effect on TV. Since the current generation is used to watching TV on demand and without commercials (or minimal commercials) advertisers are desperately looking for new ways to market products. One of the ways many marketers are settling on is product integration, or featuring a brand or service in shows and films. These has been since films were created, but the frequency is expected to increase. Directors, actors, and screenwriters may all be expected to work around an increasing number of brands that "have" to be featured in the film by contract, a practice that may threaten artistic integrity.