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Cross-Media Promotion

Jonathan Hardy

Cross-Media Promotion is the first book-length study of a defining feature of contemporary media, the promotion by media of their allied media interests. The book explores the range of forms of cross-promotion including synergistic marketing of mega-brands such as Harry Potter; promotional plugs in news media; repurposing media content, stars and brands across other media and outlets; product placement, and the integration of media content and advertising.
Incorporating specialist literature, yet written in a clear, accessible style, the book combines three areas of study: media industry practices, media policy, and media theory. It examines the dynamics of cross-media promotion across converging media, drawing on a range of examples from the United States and the United Kingdom. Synergy and intertextuality are explored alongside critical debates about the ‘problems’ of cross-promotion. The book also offers a critical evaluation of media policy responses from the late 1980s to the present, which the book argues, have failed to grapple with the problems of media power, market power and commercialism generated by intensifying cross-media promotion.
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3. Commercial Intertextuality: Cross-Promotion in Entertainment Media

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CHAPTER THREE

Commercial Intertextuality: Cross-Promotion in Entertainment Media

Cross-promoting a single concept across various media is most evident in the synergistic strategies adopted for entertainment content. For integrated entertainment businesses success depends on the promotion and circulation of intellectual properties across media outlets. Major film releases are cross-promoted, as well as cross-referenced, through magazines, newspapers, broadcast content and online, and connected to an often extensive array of interlinked media products such as computer games, interactive websites as well as spin-off merchandising. The global consolidation of media and entertainment industries has favoured the creation of ‘intertextual’ cultural commodities (Meehan 1991; Marshall 2002, 2004), ‘content brands’ such as Harry Potter that ‘travel between and provide a context for the consumption of a number of goods or media products’ (Arvidsson 2006: 75). This chapter examines cross-promotion of entertainment media and situates this within the wider context of flows of texts, brands, concepts and content across multiple media platforms and multiple sites of consumption and engagement. The chapter also engages with different perspectives towards commercial intertextuality, in particular political economic and culturalist approaches. The economic, as Murdock (1989: 230) observes, ‘is a necessary starting point for [cultural] analysis but not a destination’. To make full sense of cross-promotional practices we need to examine industrial organisation and production; symbolic meaning and textuality; reception, consumption and use. In short, we need the contributions of both political economy and cultural studies. If much can be gained by bringing various analytical tools into relationship...

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