April, 2014

Box Office Revenue Rises as Attendance Declines

It’s no surprise that movies are getting more expensive with each passing year. According to Box Office Mojo, the average ticket price for 2013 was a whopping $8.13 compared to $7.96 in 2012 and $7.93 in 2011.


The inflation of ticket prices has caused the worldwide box office to reach record setting numbers however in just the past few years: 2013 had two films, Iron Man 3 and Frozen, cross the coveted billion dollar mark worldwide and 2012 had a record-setting four films to pass a billion dollars with The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises.

(Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey were the other two movies to pass the billion dollar mark, although there late release dates made them cross it in 2013, therefore not shown on this graph.)

Of the top 50 highest grossing films of all time, 44 have been released in the 2000s. The remaining 6 have generated there lifetime gross through a combinations of original theatrical run, special re-releases, or 3D conversion.

But as impressive as these numbers seem, they really don’t add up. Movie attendance is at a steady decline and many people are opting for cheaper viewing choices like in-home early releases and rental services like Redbox and Netflix instead of rushing out to the theaters. Some are even going back to the good ole day’s television thanks to Hulu and on-demand programming.

Economical speaking, if you were to take just a handful of the 44 films listed within the top 50 of all time and adjust them for inflation, the revenue based on tickets sales wouldn’t come close to those of decades past.

Let’s do a quick comparison: last year’s Iron Man 3 currently sits as the fifth highest grossing film of all time with a total box office haul of $1.215 billion at the average ticket price of $8.13. That means about 149 million tickets were brought for that movie. But if we were to take a film like Gone with the Wind, which was released almost 75 years ago in 1939, whose box office haul was only $390 million, and apply in to today’s ticket price, we get a box office revenue of over $3.3 billion. Almost three times as much as Iron Man 3. That translates to over 406 million tickets sold for that film compared to 149 million.


Ticket prices will keep going up and up and there’s really nothing that we can do about it. Movie studios are going to keep releases big budget films one after the other and we, as moviegoers, will keep seeing them. We will stay entertained for years to come and the movie studios will stay rich and happy knowing their breaking records.

I guess it’s a win-win for everyone. But is it really?

Thinking Visually: Using Google Maps to Give Readers the Best of Both Worlds.

News is constantly evolving its form. It is no longer as simplistic as it once was in basic black and white. Vivid colors cover the fronts of newspapers and magazines and the online space is growing rapidly each day. Living in the 24 Hour News Cycle, in conjunction with new technology, has not only made our ability to get information easy, it has made the information itself better.

Perhaps the greatest way information has grown since technology become a major partner to journalism was this idea of visual media. It’s one thing to have just a story, its another to have a plethora of photos and links at your aid, not to mention the use of video, too. Some may argue that an excess of photos and links and videos takes away from the true meaning of the work, putting the journalists writing abilities to the side, but photos and videos tell a story words simply could not.

With the help of Google Maps, it is now possible to link the location of an online story directly to the story itself. For example, if the Knight News was to do a piece about an upcoming basketball game for the Queens College Knights, an option they could use for their online story would be to embed a link to the exact location of the Fitzgerald Gymnasium in the story to help their readers.

Once the location is found using Google Maps, it can be saved to a Favorite location in which Google Maps gives you the option of embeding the link directly to your website, like so: Queens College Fitzgerald Gym.

Multiple location can be saved to a Favorites List that will appear on the left side of the screen.

When clicking on the embeding link, a new tab or browser window will open up, taking you to Google Maps where you can observe the Queens College campus  via overheard and also get directions to and from.

Embeding your stories location directly to your page is a good way to promote what you are doing, create publicity around a certain event and have readers directly engage with your story. With the help of Google Maps it gives readers the best of both worlds: finding out whats going on and finding out exactly how to get there at the same time.

For more information about Google Maps and how to use them, the Knight Digital Media Center at the University of California, Berkeley has created a tutorial which you can access here.


Malaysia Flight 370: News Coverage Comparison

Legacy site:  cnn.com

Online only site: KyPost.com (redirected to WCPOCincinnati)

Malaysia Flight 370 has been missing since March 8th. Since then, its mystery has made it front page news on multiple newspapers as well as the online space in not only the United States but countries around the world. Its coverage, however, does vary depending on what type of media outlet is covering the story.

Legacy Paper – CNN

CNN was the first news site to bring back results searched through Google. On Tuesday, April 01, 2014, CNN covered the breaking news about the cockpit transmissions released by the Malaysian government. It was featured in a lengthy article that first addressed the miscommunications done by the Malaysian government, followed by a link to the complete cockpit transcript, summary quotes from CNN analysts and Malaysian officials, and then a timeline of events from sources taking part in the rescue effort.

CNN’s online website coverage followed the same model that we follow in class. The story itself had a balance of hard news to keep readers up to date as well as testimony and links to more emotional news coverage of families awaiting answers which I think worked perfectly in showing both sides of the story. The website also had a sidebar that directed reviews to a number of other articles published by CNN about Malaysia Flight 370.

Online Only Paper – KyPost (Kentucky)

Kentucky’s KyPost is an online only publication that was created when the Cincinnati Post and the Kentucky Post where shut down at the end of 2007 due to declining sales. Since the publication is aimed to only residents of the Northern Kentucky region, coverage of Malaysia Flight 370, although begin international news, was not heavily promoted. You had to enter it into the search bar on the KyPost homepage.

The results that were brought back weren’t nearly as up to date as the stories found on CNN. The last story to be published on the flight was dated March 30 and no information regarding the release of the cockpit transcript was mentioned on the results page. It seems that the paper was out of date, or out of touch, with what was happening in the rest of the world which could greatly hurt readers.

One thing that was a trend on the search page (which I felt failed the website) was that a few of the stories brought back had religious subtexts to it; stories of relatives and friends who have “found faith.”

Elements that worked where more in CNN’s favor. CNN had more coverage, links in the stories to different ones, videos, and a sidebar of related topics. Kentucky’s KyPost went for a more personal approach, having stories about families and relatives of the missing passengers and more religious material then other mainstream outlets.

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