Introduction In modern world, the media is consumed byevery individual person. This age is the called as the digital age. There havebeen many transitions in the media consumption process. The history of media isa vast subject to study on. As the technology is developed the media takes anew turn and twist in it’s consumption.
There are televisions, radio, cinema,theater, social media channels like YouTube, Instagram etc. that are the mediachannels to keep the audience engaged. However, new technology based mediaplatforms are dwelled on the base of old technologies that were the mainstreammedia in older times. The audience that consumes the media plays a vital rolein influencing the media. Among all these media platforms, talking about theCinema, there has been a huge change in the audiences consuming this medium ofentertainment.
I am notably interested in the ways thathowever individuals developed bound ritual uses of cinema. My intention is toresearch practices, bound habits and behaviors of cinema going audience. The cinemain 21st century has been producing as well as disseminating masspopular culture. The cinema in 21st century is usually overlooked innumber of other ways.
The cinema has played a very important role inmediatisation of the society. Looking back at the time when the first cinemawas released, there were many people who viewed it in mass. The use of a filmprojector and a camera resulted in a cinema. It was the very first electronicmedium in human history to create a mass audience. The cinema started to teachpeople how to live with and within the media. Looking back in late 19thcentury, the motion picture technology was emerging after the invention ofKinetoscope by Thomas Edison along with his lab assistant William Dickson, kinetoscopegained quality, the Thomas Edison Company began putting in machines in edificelobbies, amusement parks, and penny arcades, and shortly device parlors wherecustomers might pay around twenty five cents for admission to a bank ofmachines had opened in country. However, once friends and collaborators advised Thomas Edison to notice the way toproject his device pictures for audience viewing, he apparently refused,claiming that such associate degree invention would be a less profitableventure (Britannica). But eventually as the development in technology tookplace, audience viewing came into existence.
Kinetoscopeshitting the headlines and earning few audience to use the technology. For the bulk of its silent era, from itsgrowth into a mass amusement within the decennary until its transition to soundin 1929 it absolutely was wide accepted that Hollywood was, as itsadvocatesinsisted, a ‘family’ establishment. North American cinema began to transcend itsprimitive origins, producers and exhibitors consciously selected to expandtheir marketbeyonda core working-class consumer-base by representing their medium as a ‘family’ amusement.(NoelBrown, 2013) The history of these technologies saythat these mediums did not have or hardly had any audience at the first place.The audience gradually started to develop as the motion pictures were open forpublic viewing.
People gathered in mass and watched motion pictures making itas a mass audience viewing. When the demand for motion picture grew, productionfirms were created to satisfy it. At the height of record player quality in1910 (Britannica Online), there have been twenty approximately major picture firmswithin US. However, heated disputes usually skint out among these firms overpatent rights and business management, leading even the foremost powerful amongthem to concern fragmentation that may loosen their hold on the market(Fielding, 1967).
The audience in the early era was veryaway from uniformity. Immigrant audiences from city had a very differentreaction compared to the rural audiences to the various scenes of the moviethat incorporated urban life. Taking the African American audience intoconsideration, the reaction from them were different to the racial humor ascompared to the white audience for whom these movies were particularly made.Just like today, gender, ethnicity and class hold the audiences apart and thisreflects the screenings of the films. During the first decade of the filmexhibition which was during 1896-1806, films were not only bound to specialtheaters but also to variety of venues. Cinema’s first two decades have shown aradical change in the audiences viewing the cinema. Most of the people acceptedit Cinema as a form of vaudeville program (A style of multi-act theatricalentertainment originated from France and which flourished in Europe and NorthAmerica from the 1880s to 1920s). The vaudeville were primarily attended bymiddle class and low middle class audiences.
After the motion picture firms, there was anew channel to view the cinema. The audience shifted towards a new form ofviewing the cinema called as Nickelodeon. S. Porter, an engineer working at ThomasEdison Company was the most innovative film makers. His 12 mins. film that was TheGreat Train Robbery (1903), poor with the stage like compositions ofMéliès-style films through its use of rear projection, redaction, camera pans,composed shots that helped in keeping the action in continuity.
The Great TrainRobbery did not establish the realistic narrative as a customary in cinemasolely, it was also the first major box office hit. Its success promoted theidea of expansion of the industry, while recognizing the motion picture’s moneymakingpotential, began gap the primary permanent film theaters all over the country. Itwas known as Nickelodeon due to the admission charge being paid, which was only5 cent. Around 9,000 nickelodeons appeared in US between the year 1904-1908.
Itwas nickelodeon’s quality that had set film as a mass amusement medium. TheNickelodeon around the country resulted in a new shape to the audience viewingexperience of media. These Nick theaters mostly attracted the working-classpeople across the country. People could afford the nick ticket price.
Theystarted liking the theater’s casual atmosphere. The film being short for around30-40 minutes, kept the audience glued and this was not at all the wastage oftime for the audience. Nickelodeons exploded onto the scene inmajor cities in these years; there have been in all probability additionalnickelodeons then than motion picture theaters these days. Critics andsupporters alike stated the jukebox because the “poor man’s theater”or “the poor man’s club.” The latter term was particularly applicablesince these tiny theaters provided the occasion not just for film viewingexcept for meeting. Early audiences displayed a community spirit fosteredpartly by attractions like the “Illustrated Song,” during whichaudiences joined performers by following the lyrics projected on the screen. NickelodeonScreens that came into the entertainment industry between 1905-1907.
Inner view of the Nickelodeon screens. After this period in entertainmentworld, there were the audience platform in this sector underwent many changes.This was because of the World War effect. By World War I, there were manytransformations seen in the movie going audience. From the worker class tomiddle class, the audience included all the classes and it became a unitedcrowd for the purpose of entertainment. During the timeline of 1917-1960, whichwas said to be the heyday of Hollywood, movies were recognized as anentertainment for all class.
American cinema had an aim to please out allaudience with a broad point of view. Eventually they succeeded in doing so. With the different class of audiencewatching the cinema together under one roof, there began a shift of theaudience viewing in late 1960s. Movies of that time began attracting a youngerdemographic, as a growing range of teenagers were drawn in by films like Arthur Penn’s Bonnieand Clyde (1967),Stanley Kubrick’s 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968), Dennis Hopper’s EasyRider (1969)and Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969), all revolutionary in their genres—thatdisplayed a sentiment of unrest toward typical social orders and enclosed anumber of the earliest instances of realistic and brutal violence in film.These four films especially grossed such a lot cash at the box offices thatproducers began churning out inexpensive copycats to attract a replacement,profitable market (Motion Pictures). whereas this crystal rectifier to anincrease in youth-culture films, few of them saw nice success.
However, the newliberal attitudes toward depictions of sex and violence within these filmsdepicted an ocean of modification in the film industry that manifested inseveral movies of the Nineteen Seventies, as well as Francis Ford Coppola’s TheGodfather (1972), William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973), and StevenSpielberg’s Jaws (1975), all 3 of that saw nice money success (BritannicaOnline; Belton, 1994). The term used as Blockbuster for a hitmovie got a new definition. The movies were targeted for certain period andthen released during that time. As, there were number of youths changing theshape of audience viewing a movie, the producers and directors aimed for thisnew bunch of crowd. It all started with the release of Jaws by director StevenSpielberg. This movie was the first of it’s kind in terrifying the audience.
Itwas adapted from a novel by Peter Benchley. In the days of summer when theyouth crowd have their days off at schools and colleges, and plan to chill at abeach or sea shore, the movie with a shark attacking in the sea created a havocamong the crowd. This was planned particularly to terrify the audience aboutthe coastal areas when they have a fun time in summer. This movie smashed thebox office records itself says that there was an increase in the number of cinemaaround the country. The record says Jaws was released in 600 theaterssimultaneously.
In the upcoming years after Jaws wasreleased with the targeted audience in mind, the entire calendar for releasingthe movies was changed. Well targeted audience and changes in strategy wascoming more into picture. The mass audience for a movie has a new definition. Whatwas novelty had become usual.
Two years from Jaws, Star Wars did the magicagain. The ‘opening day audience’ for a movie came into count. After the smashhit opening of Star Wars, a George Lucas film in 1977, a small sci-fi movie gota wake-up call for the industry.
From there onwards movies kept on being anattraction to the audience with the development of technology and a shift in moviegoing audience occurred. The movies were categorized in genres. The audiencestarted favoriting the type of genres and watched the movies.
With the development of technology, thenumber of film going audience was dropped after the televisions and smart TVcame into existence as a mainstream media. Every house in United States had TVfor entertainment. Internet and dish cables broadcasted the movies on TV after fewmonths. Hackers started pirating the films and made it available on Internetfor free. Audience did not feel the urge to go for films anymore. Only thefilms with big brands, big names, a historical background and with explicitcontent made to the box office hits. Not all movies were full house or got agood response from audience as there was much more content available toentertain them.
Many studies have been done to understand how the theatricalattendance was shaped. The movie going audience had beencategorized in age groups. The following graph gives the statistical analysison how the attendance was recorded among the different age groups that themovie going audience was part of from the year 1974 to 2016. Below is a statistical graph of the frequencyof how many time the movie viewing audience visited cinema theaters to watch amovie. This was also recorded after categorizing different age groups from theyear 1974 to 2016. Attendance rate (%)1 Frequency2 Age Grps 14-24 25-34 yrs 35-49 yrs 50+ yrs 14-24 25-34 35-49 50+ Year1974 91.9% 79.
7% 61.1% 42.1% 16.
4 8.7 6.9 5.61976 94.4% 77.4% 60.
2% 35.9% 14.3 7.3 5.
4 4.71978 91.9% 67.6% 56.2% 35.9% 14.5 9.
0 5.7 4.71980 91.
3% 71.3% 55.1% 35.7% 14.
2 7.9 5.7 4.71982 92.2% 69.7% 57.
6% 30.3% 10.4 7.1 5.
5 4.31984 81.6% 55.9% 50.1% 33.
9% 10.2 4.0 2.6 1.61986 85.3% 60.2% 51.
5% 28.7% 12.6 9.6 8.0 7.21988 86.
8% 64.6% 52.4% 34.
7% 13.1 11.0 8.5 8.61990 87.4% 62.1% 58.4% 37.
0% 12.7 10.5 9.2 8.91992 87.0% 69.0% 62.
0% 42.0% 12.4 10.6 9.1 9.
11994 88.7% 73.2% 67.7% 49.0% 12.2 10.5 9.4 10.
11996 92.4% 79.3% 74.1% 51.8% 13.0 11.
3 10.0 10.61998 91.0% 80.1% 73.
4% 53.8% 10.6 8.5 6.6 7.51999 91.5% 80.3% 72.
9% 54.0% 11.3 8.4 6.
5 7.42000 89.8% 79.2% 70.6% 51.3% 10.8 8.
4 6.7 7.62001 89.0% 78.
2% 72.0% 52.6% 10.3 8.1 7.1 7.
72002 89.8% 79.8% 73.4% 56.6% 10.2 8.
3 6.7 8.12003 88.9% 78.
3% 72.8% 55.4% 10.2 8.2 6.
6 7.82004 90.0% 79.
3% 73.1% 57.0% 9.8 7.
8 6.5 7.42005 87.1% 74.6% 69.
6% 54.3% 9.3 7.6 6.1 7.
32006 85.2% 73.2% 69.
1% 54.8% 8.9 7.4 6.
1 7.32007 84.4% 72.9% 68.0% 54.0% 9.0 6.
7 6.0 7.22008 84.1% 69.9% 68.8% 53.0% 9.3 7.
6 5.6 6.92009 85.9% 72.
8% 69.4% 56.9% 9.7 7.3 5.9 7.
02010 84.6% 76.0% 70.9% 55.
7% 9.3 7.4 5.7 6.
92011 85.6% 72.4% 68.8% 55.8% 9.2 6.8 5.7 6.
82012 85.8% 73.5% 68.9% 57.
8% 8.5 6.6 5.5 6.92013 86.2% 76.1% 70.1% 58.
4% 7.6 6.7 5.4 7.
52014 84.4% 73.8% 68.1% 57.
9% 7.9 6.9 5.
6 7.02015 85.0% 75.1% 68.
9% 58.8% 7.7 6.
4 5.3 6.82016 85.7% 75.7% 73.4% 61.
1% 7.9 6.1 5.4 7.0 Conclusion The entertainment industry always had twists and turns in the audiencecount. From the high class audience to middle class audience viewing the mediaunder different roofs and mediums, up to the time when all the audience includingthe poor class of audience came under one roof, was a gradual development in forminga uniform audience. The history of media in terms of technology played a vitalrole in forming the audience. The study reveals the characteristic of thecinema culture shaping the shift in the audience.
New practices were invented. They were constantlyrepeated and internalized. Cinema ritualization became an integral part ofsocialization among the audience. With change in the age of cinema, technology,digital media has affected and paved a way for a new audience viewership.
Filmswere once consumed only in the cinema theaters. Nowadays films can be consumedthrough several media such as cinema,DVDs, DIVX, Television, Video, Internet, Interactive TV to mobile phones. Dueto the radical changes in technologies, cinema audiences of the digital age’become increasingly producers, commentators and even participants, rather thanmerely spectators of cinema’s folklore – with the potential of screenentertainment to become literally interactive’ (Christie 2012: 21) Going to thecinema is these days now not a special event, however this will not mean thatcinema culture is disappearing; on the contrary, new ritual practices area unitinventedby cinema shoppers, that area unit much more interactive, mediate and indirectas were in any time in history, however area unit still weaving around cinemagoing as some way to relax,assome way to travel on a date, to socialize, or to expertise concern, amazement,surprise, joy.