Miramax In 1979, brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, concert promoters from Buffalo, New York, set up a movie distribution company Miramax, which sought to buy low- budget, independently produced movies and promote them lavishly. Among their hits were biopic My Left Foot (which won an Academy Award nomination for best picture and an Oscar for actor Daniel Day-Lewis) and Sex, Lies and Videotape. After Disney bought it in 1993, Miramax’s hits included Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning, Pulp
Fiction, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, and Shakespeare in Love. The Weinstein Brothers left to form their own company in 2005, and Disney dropped Miramax in 2010.
Lions Gate Founded in 1997 by a Canadian investor, Lions Gate found early financial success in acquiring and producing tight-budget movies and then promoting them aggressively and imaginatively. Typical was Crash. Production cost $3.3 million, and marketing sextupled that—to $21 million. The U.S. and global box office generated $254 million. To create buzz for the Academy Awards, Lions Gate sent 110,000 DVDs to members of the Screen Actors Guild. The movie subsequently won the 2005 Academy Award for best picture. Lions Gate also made big money with the Saw slasher franchise. The company’s Hunger Games franchise has also been a box-office smash. The company produces 10 low-budget films. In lean times, its library of 8,000 archived films, licensed in the United States and overseas, generates revenue.
5.5.2 Television 1. Objective: Differentiate television media by their delivery methods
The core of the U.S. television industry was traditionally a two-tier structure modeled on radio. With the advent of cable television in the mid-1970s, the two-tier structure fragmented into competing sub-industries defined by different delivery systems. Traditional stations delivered programming over the air. Cable systems delivered by wire. Satellite systems then emerged as a third delivery system that transmitted signals from orbiting platforms.
Terrestrial Television In 2014, 1,774 commercial television stations broadcast in the United States. They broadcast from towers usually atop ridges or skyscrapers for maximum range. Because the towers are land-based, in contrast to orbiting satellites, these stations are called terrestrial television. Almost all are in major cities because the cost of operations requires significant advertising revenue that can be generated only from densely populous areas. Most of these stations provide local news but generate little
other original programming. Their broadcast day is filled mostly with shows purchased from distributors. Most commercial stations, including local ones across the nation, are affiliated with the ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC networks. They derive some revenue from the networks to carry network shows, but most revenue stems from selling airtime to advertisers.
As of January 2016, 350 Public Broadcasting System (PBS) member stations were licensed as noncommercial, which means they cannot carry advertising. These stations accept a form of corporate or foundation-based financial support, called underwriting. They also solicit financial support during on-air pledge drives, which may sound like advertising but encourage audiences to donate and become members. Supporters and underwriters are acknowledged on air, which the FCC says is permissible as long as there is no “exhortation.” These noncommercial stations, public television, have never been popular with their commercial counterparts and indeed were never invited into NAB membership. Although public television captures a small segment (about 2%) of the viewing public, commercial stations have somewhat envied public television’s hold on that niche audience. Despite their small numbers, this audience is a loyal and actively supportive public. Occasionally PBS airs a program, like a Ken Burns documentary, or Downton Abbey, the hit British drama, that outdraws the audience of commercial stations.
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