Monday, April 30, 2012

Cable on the Silver Screen

As we have previously discussed, edginess is a fine line to walk for TV show producers and networks. Not only are you risking societal backlash from parent organizations and anti-violence and/or lude behavior groups, but they run the traditional risk of not garnering a loyal and devoted audience. This loyal and devoted audience will not just keep the shows on air, but will support the series into perpetuity through DVD sales. Yet, the recent activity at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, OH would suggest that this model is thrown out the window as they offer screenings of Mad Men and The Killing on the silver screen. Now, you may ask yourself, has AMC gone nuts?
When analyzed through Havens & Lotz's model of media mandates, conditions, and practices, it does not appear so. Why? Well, the conditions in which these types of shows operate require a esteemed critical acclaim as it denotes a certain cache for audiences members to attain for their own through watching the program. Moreover, the practices of watching television are now so scewed towards an individual sitting in their bed watching a show on their laptop, it seems appropriate that AMC would offer up the rights to Gateway in order to create a shared experience within the community of these loyal fans. It may not show up on the Nielsen ratings, but it will show up in merchandising if viewers ascribe an even greater positive experience to watching the show on their own. From the theaters perspective, this is another opportunity for them to make sales on the "20 beers on draft, cocktails, drink specials" while providing free admission for content they did not have to purchase at the same price of a feature film (Gateway Film Center). When you consider the upfront and sunk cost of financing an exhibition venue requires owners to create marketing campaigns that drive greater volume of patrons into their venue at times they normally wouldn't come to a theater and also purchase concessions that support this exhibition process. The overall implications of this unusual practice by a commercially driven industry is to, not suprisingly, make commercial gains through less explicit means. It looks to tap into a pool of forward-thinking patrons that normally frequent the film center for edgy films and creates synergy in this demand by providing edgy television content at the same kind of venue. 

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