‘TUNE IN/JOIN US': Mobilising Liveness as a Promotional Strategy in Film Trailer Exhibition

Stenson, Robert (2021) ‘TUNE IN/JOIN US': Mobilising Liveness as a Promotional Strategy in Film Trailer Exhibition. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis investigates the ways in which ‘liveness’ has been mobilised by the US film industry during the exhibition of film trailers on broadcast television and online. It offers a lens to understand how Hollywood is not only responding to viewers’ increased ability to evade television advertising, but also to an online landscape where users’ attention is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain. In this emerging ‘new screen ecology’, we are witnessing how the established media organisations and practices of the twentieth-century are being challenged and reconfigured by a variety of digital technologies and online platforms.

To examine this, two key research questions are asked: 1) in what ways has liveness been mobilised by the US film industry; and 2) why was liveness mobilised in these ways? Drawing together case studies that explore live moments of trailer exhibition during broadcast television ad-breaks and live-streamed online broadcasts, this thesis interrogates each case study through its ‘constellation of liveness’. This framework approaches each live moment as mutually-constructed by an interrelated array of textual, technological, institutional, and audience-related domains. Critically, this thesis contributes to two key areas of film and media studies research. The first is ‘trailer studies’, which has charted how trailers and their exhibition have moved extensively beyond the spatio-temporal boundaries of the cinema screen. The second is around ‘live and event cinema’, which has considered how liveness has been increasingly employed during film exhibition. Where the former has considered trailers but not their liveness, and the latter has considered liveness but not in relation to trailers, this research project intersects the two by situating itself in this lacuna.

Ultimately, this thesis first argues that liveness represents one strategy through which Hollywood is ‘eventising’ trailer exhibition within converging, competitive, and highly-saturated exhibitory spaces it does not own. Secondly, it argues that the mobilisation of liveness during film trailer exhibition represents a broader move towards liveness being witnessed beyond the exhibition of film. Finally, it argues that these mobilisations of liveness represent neither standardised nor even emerging promotional practices. Instead, in light of a contemporary entertainment culture heavily invested in live events, these promotional mobilisations of liveness represent exploratory manoeuvres deployed by Hollywood as it attempts to navigate, and situate itself – and its content – within an increasingly complex, interconnected, and interactive media ecosystem.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Grainge, Paul
Johnson, Catherine
Keywords: Trailers; Liveness; Live; Promotional Screen Industries; Film Advertising; Television Advertising; Online Advertising
Subjects: H Social sciences > HF Commerce
P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 64740
Depositing User: Stenson, Robert
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/64740

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