Today, in the modern world of media. We, as a consumer have the ability see a relatively large variety of different films which are available on a number of different platforms (such as cinema, VOD, DVD, Blue-Ray, ect.) However, in reality the world of film is dominated by the big companies which own a huge percentage of the market share, thus most of what we actually watch is just the big hollywood movies which are effectively tent-pole productions – meaning that they are huge films which can take a long time to develop and have a lot of money spent on them, but also are hugely successful and generate a lot of revenue.
The model of distribution taken by A Field In England was unique in the way that Ben Wheatley decided to release the film ultimately on a wide variety of different platforms. For the tent-pole productions, which cost on average hundreds of millions of dollars, they initially release their product and try to make the most profit within the opening weekend, where it will be on show in a number of different cinemas. A Field In England however, certainly cannot be classed as a “tent-pole production” as it only cost £300,000 to make, which in terms of making a film is actually pretty much low budget. Whilst A Field In England may or may not be seen to be a good film, the best tactic available for distribution for the given situation was in fact to release the film on a number of different platforms.
So, when Ben Wheatley released A Field In England, the audience was targeted primarily through a number of different platforms, where it was on show in 17 cinemas around the country and also available on VOD. This meant that the target audience grew much larger than it would have been if it was only released at the cinema. The fact that A Field In England was also on TV a relatively short time after release, meant that it was trending on Twitter which meant that the film grew further in popularity. It also meant that people who had missed seeing it on TV decided to actually purchase it and thus help to generate revenue for Ben Wheatley.
Digital democratisation is the idea that digital technologies will disrupt the trend of the media industries releasing their products, meaning that a more amateur producer is able to produce and distribute their film more easily than before, meaning they have a fighting chance against some of the bigger companies which otherwise they would struggle to compete with. The level of competition otherwise in the filming industry is too high for a small company to set up and start to generate a considerable revenue in a similar way to the tent-pole productions. For example, a huge company which might work on a film such as Batman might spend many millions on advertising, which is an economical decision which is chosen to generate more income. It would not be economically viable for a small producer such as Ben Wheatley to take this approach, and it is probably fair to say he would not get the money to advertise it because of the high risk associated with the whole scenario.
One of the techniques which allows films produced by producers such as Ben Wheatley to still be successful is pop-up cinemas. Pop-up cinemas are great for small producers such as Ben Wheatley because they target a niche market which can still generate a good revenue. Cinema ticket prices are often more expensive, but the consumer is paying for the overall experience meaning that they are prepared to pay more. The fact that they pay more makes up with the quantity aspect which the tent-pole productions target. Although it is still important of course for smaller producers to try out some of the different techniques to see which is most successful for their releases as effectively it is a form of market research, which will allow them to identify the best market available. The good thing about the pop-up cinemas is that they will often show unique films and don’t focus too much on the big hits, like the stereotypical big cinema in your nearest town or city would. This means that to see a film such as A Field in England is quite normal in a pop-up cinema because the people who are going there are not going specifically just to watch the film, but to enjoy the overall experience through the added-values such as the comfort, food or even the environmentally-friendly factors depending on the pop-up cinema you’re looking at.