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Sources Of Competitive Advantage/Disadvantage Essay

1545 words - 6 pages

Oddly enough, Focus Features and Focus Features World Wide, which for the purposes of this analysis will be lumped together, remains one of the few art house/independent movie studios that is owned by one of the major six studios. Ironically, this distinction also lends Focus Features a distinct advantage. Typically, the independent film industry requires a studio to distribute/produce a certain number of projects in order to fund initial overhead or licensing costs. This puts a significant financial strain on the smaller market firms and increases risks. While, the project quota remains true for Focus, it is by choice and not by financial necessity. Focus is able to utilize its parent company, Universal’s wide reaching distributive and marketing scope, making Focus’ project performance less variable while fixed costs remain low. However, this corporate structure poses obstacles as well. Independent film studios put a considerable amount of resources into finding or developing content of acceptable quality. This never ending hunt must be balanced against stringent financial targets imposed by Universal. Seemingly, these do not mesh, but due to Focus’ business model, which takes a calculated approach to releases and relies heavily on festivals to generate buzz. By releasing movies in only a moderate number of theaters first, it allows Focus to use their budget for marketing more effectively. Surprisingly, Focus is able to operate almost completely separately from Universal relying on its growing library sales, and international distribution rights to cover its annual operating expenses, including overhead, development, production, acquisition, marketing and distribution costs. More specifically, Focus’ international sales “arm” gives Focus a distinct advantage because it is able to capitalize more on international revenue where the market is growing, unlike the domestic market which has remained stagnant. Another advantage of Focus is the immeasurable amount of expertise and devotion that its past, but longtime CEO James Schamus, offered the art house division. Schamus an award winning screenwriter, a producer, and a Professor at Columbia drove Focus exactly in the direction he wanted. In the early 2000’s when the industry realized you could make an independent film for a quarter of the cost and sometimes bring in as much as a blockbuster Schamus’s Focus built its enviable track record by making smart movies in the space between the tentpoles and the tadpoles. It is undeniable that Schamus’ presence has left a permanent mark on the studios culture and business model. Respected cinematographer Andrij Parekh said of the employees, “There are a lot of very intelligent people working there who are concerned with making good movies first and making money second.”
but that position has become unstable territory. Due to the amount of influence Schamus exerted on the division it is highly anticipated if his successor Peter Schlessel, the founder of the...

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