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Analysis of American and Indian Film Websites Essay

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Analysis of American and Indian Film Websites

Abstract:

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There are many different film companies all over the world, not just the ones that we are familiar with in America, such as Millennium or Spyglass.  These film companies reflect the images and culture of their home country, allowing them to be most effective with their target audience, the local population.  Though there are many different film companies that exist all over the world, there are some well known American names that have subsidiaries in different countries, allowing them all the opportunity to work under a branded name without losing the ability to adapt to the country in which they exist.  An example of a worldwide branded film company is Sony Pictures or Disney.  Though these companies are American based, they take different elements of other countries to work into their subsidiaries in order to make them more acceptable to local populations.  There are a great many different types of movie sites on the internet, such as studio sites, informational sites, as well as ticketing sites which not only provide consumers with information on films but also give them the option of purchasing their tickets to a showing online.  In analyzing all three types of film sites, there are many similarities and differences that occur between American and Indian film websites that allow sites in each country to better reach their intended audience.

Research:

While searching for the best way to compare the different types of websites across international borders, a couple of the same websites appeared in both American and Indian film website searches, including the well known American film company Sony Pictures which has subsidiary companies in many different countries including India.  In fact, in India, Sony Pictures is the second largest film company, not only producing Bollywood films but also serving as a large music distributor.  The largest film company in India is Saregama which specializes in music and home video as well as film production, though their website is currently under construction and as such is inaccessible for the purposes of this study.  Sony Pictures is not only prevalent in the United States, but also in India, making their website an ideal place to begin analysis of the differences and similarities between Indian and American film sites.

Upon first glance both the American and the Indian Sony Pictures sites seem almost identical in content and nature.  The sites are both set up the same way, with a flashy but user friendly set up that clearly defines the capabilities of the website.  The Indian site is topped with an easy to navigate home menu which displays the sections of the website which are most used, those to access information on upcoming films and DVD/Videos that are available through Sony’s home distribution company.  Below that is a banner that has advertisements and homepages for two of Sony’s forthcoming features as well as their latest, most popular DVD release.  The banner also proclaims current contest information.  Below that is a listing of forthcoming movies with provided links for viewing homepages and production information as well as trailers for the films.  This same information is also available for recently released films as well as current DVD/Video releases.  The films that are listed in these areas on the home page are the ones that have received the most attention for forthcoming films, as well as which ones were most successful worldwide in the other two sections.  The fourth navigable section of the website is dedicated to archived information.  Advertisements as well as a sign-up form for a newsletter decorate the side of the page and there are smaller links available at the bottom that are very discreet for Sony’s company information as well as their legally required privacy policy and terms of service.  There is some communication information available, such as if you are a member of the film community or the media, however there is no direct contact available for the company or the website.  There is an email option available to report website problems or to contact the company, however it is a generic email and not specifically attributed to any particular person.

The American Sony Pictures site, while set up in much the same way, has some subtle differences.  The basic set up of the page is exactly the same, flashy without being overbearing or losing any of its user friendly features, however the four main categories under the banner are for films, television, home entertainment, and games.  There are many more applications which can be used to interact on this site as well as a definite push toward the other aspects of Sony rather than just the film segment of the company.  There are also several banners that decorate the side of the page proclaiming film related games, the Sony Pictures twitter pages, as well as advertisements for different Sony-produced shows.  The American site has more of a detailed breakdown of the different types of films, especially with regard to the television shows that are related to Sony Pictures.  There are also optional links for purchasing DVDs of Sony produced products as well as registering for pay per view showings of exclusive films and other material.  The more subtle links on the bottom of the page not only list the aforementioned three categories which were on the Indian site as well, but they also have employment opportunities as well as a help section and a page dedicated to the California privacy rights.  The help section on the American site is much more detailed than what was available on the Indian site.  Where the Indian site did not really offer much in the way of opportunities for communication, the American site does offer not only a generic email address, but a phone number as well as an address to mail questions or concerns to.  The American site seems to be much more of a complex website dedicated to encouraging further user browsing into different areas other than just the film segments of Sony Pictures.  The Indian site, though it does retain many of the same elements of the American site, it seems to not be as well developed and contains much less user content.  The Indian site is almost exclusively dedicated to films and providing basic information, advertisement, and production information for those films while the American site contains more detailed information as well as more opportunities for the user to interact not only with the films but also with the company.

Yahoo is another American based website which has a page dedicated to films.  Yahoo is not associated directly with any particular film production company, so the content is based on being interactive and user friendly with regard to the films that the website is advertising.  The Yahoo Movies American page is covered in advertisements for films and American companies that are promoting different movies.  The features section of the page changes daily to allow for more merchandise to be displayed to users.  There is also a section which displays the top performing films in the American box office as well as a search engine which allows you to view films and showtimes available in your area as well as book tickets at some movie theaters.  The Yahoo Movies site is dedicated more to the celebrity aspect of the film industry rather than straight information on the films themselves.  There are many different opportunities on the homepage for purchasing film related merchandise as well as catching up on celebrity gossip related to the featured films’ stars and viewing production pictures.  The website expands out to include DVD information as well as the ability to search the entire site for a specific film or information related to the film industry.  There is also a place where you can save links to your favorite films to easily refer back to them at a later date.  The communication abilities of the website are much better than those previously examined related to Sony Pictures as Yahoo is a part of a huge conglomeration of websites which span many different forms of communication and interests all over the internet.  It is much easier here to reach customer service or help through several different generic email addresses as well as a toll-free phone number which takes you directly to Yahoo customer service and website assistance.

Yahoo’s Indian Movie site is not nearly as flashy or jammed full of information as the American site.  It contains basic searchable information on films as well as a easily navigable toolbar which allows you to seek out the information that you want without bits and pieces of it being plastered all over the front page as they are on the American site.  Though this is Yahoo’s film site, a large part of the homepage is dedicated to celebrity information, pictures, and gossip as it relates to Bollywood stars.  There are a few advertisements, however they are much more discreetly placed than on the American site and do not have the same type of flash players, so the advertisements stay stationary rather than flickering constantly with a different advertisement.  The communication information for users as related to the company is much the same as it is on the American site.  There are several email addresses to choose from when attempting to communicate directly with Yahoo.  There is also a customer service number that is usable during business hours if you require immediate assistance with the website or to report concerns.

The differences in the American and Indian Yahoo sites really demonstrate the differences in the two cultures.  While the American site is very flashy, very distracting really, the Indian site is more subdued with only the most pertinent information for Indian film-goers on the home page and a toolbar to navigate to specific information.  The American site displays the need to have all of the information at once on one page without having to go from page to page and so it has snippets of information on everything on one page.  The advertisements and film trailers that are present on the homepage are so numerous that they are overwhelming, and the site is more confusing if you are seeking specific information.  Rather than using the toolbar to navigate your first instinct upon visiting the site is to use the search function to find the specific information that you are seeking.

The American ticketing site chosen for this comparison, Hollywood.com, is very similar in its set up to the American Yahoo site.  There are flash images everywhere and many different advertisements on each page.  There is also a high concentration of celebrity gossip as well as production information for the films showcased on the site.  This site’s main function is to provide users with local movie times and theaters, a function which it serves admirably, though it does require use of at least one search function to get to films and showtimes, sometimes two or three to gain access to local information.  Since this is an informational website, there is a huge amount of communication material available, including several phone numbers, an address, as well as email contact information for different departments dependent upon what your question is.  In contrast, the Indian ticketing site, Surf India, is a subsidiary of Google, a well known internet company and search engine in America.  Though the website is part of a well used site in America, the set up of the page is decidedly Indian.  This site offers links to different areas of the website based on the content that you are searching for, but it does not display any film trailers, flash advertisements, or any other fancy type of formatting on the home page.  The communications accessibility of this site is far better than the American ticketing site as it not only offers ways to communicate with the company but also offers users chat rooms, FM radio stations, as well as gaming sites.  The site not only offers film information and showtimes but also home delivery of tickets.  The set up of the page is much simpler than the American version, but the simplicity makes it easier to locate the specific information that you are looking for.  However, if you were not seeking specific information, it could be much harder to navigate through the site.

American based Millennium Pictures has a rather basic website for a film company, more than likely attributed to the fact that it is a smaller film company.  Its home page begins with flash animation through which you must navigate to reach the home page which displays basic information for the films that are available or are coming out under the Millennium brand as well as basic contact information for the company.  It is user friendly, but mostly because there is very little content on the site.  It is a very visually appealing site due to the animation however it seems to try to disguise the fact that there is little information available.  The homepage for Indian based Percept Picture Company is actually much the same as the Millennium site as it gives the basic information for the company and concentrates instead on the films in production with the company.  There is more navigable content on the site including more company information, though the contact methods are much the same.  The Indian site is more well developed than the Millennium site, though again this could be due in part to the differences in size of the two operations.

For a film company seeking to do business in India as well as set up a website there, the conclusion that is reached here is that less is more.  An Indian site can easily be set up in much the same way as an American site.  A standardization of information available as well as the tool bars or links available on the website is a good idea so as to not confuse someone who is a regular user of both sites.  However, an Indian site should be more content oriented and less concerned with animation and visuals.  Keeping the information available on the home page to a descriptive minimum seems to be more receptive in India rather than the large, flashy, animated sites that American companies are known for.

Works Cited

Bollywood Hungama. (2009, May 12). Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Bollywood Hungama: http://www.bollywoodhungama.com

Google. (20009, May 12). Surf India Movies. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Surf India: http://www.surfindia.com/entertainment/movie-theaters-tickets/

Hollywood.com. (2009, May 12). Hollywood.com. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Hollywood.com: http://www.hollywood.com

Millennium Pictures. (2009, May 12). Millennium Pictures. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Millennium Pictures: http://www.millenniumpictures.tv/index_flash.html

Sony Pictures. (2009, May 12). Sony Pictures. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Sony Pictures: http://www.sonypictures.com/

Sony Pictures. (2009, May 12). Sony Pictures. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Sony Pictures India: http://www.sonypictures.in/

Yahoo. (2009, May 12). Yahoo India Movies. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Yahoo: http://in.movies.yahoo.com/

Yahoo. (2009, May 12). Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Yahoo: http://movies.yahoo.com/

 

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