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Peculiarities of the Russian Market for Short Documentary + Short Documentary Film Project

Student: Mariya Charnaya

Supervisor: Ilya Kiriya

Faculty: Faculty of Media Communications

Educational Programme: Master

Year of Graduation: 2014

<p>In the recent years Russia has undergone dynamic social, political and economic changes. Along with it the market for short documentary film is also seeing signs of growth. We are witnessing an emergence of new film studios, organizations specializing in documentary work as well as new events dedicated to the issue. And although these changes are not characterized by major growth rates, their presence gives reason for optimism. Although filmmakers are recognizing the positive direction that the documentary art form is taking, they are at the same time concerned about some of the problems plaguing the industry and would like to see a number of changes take place in it.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The last decade has seen a dramatic advancement in production technology methods and distribution modes, as well as an expansion of the documentary conventions. New low-cost filmmaking opportunities and direct-to-viewer sales are reshaping the industry.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>There is no theory of documentary filmmaking, just like there are no set criteria defining a documentary film. Short documentary films are even &ldquo;less lucky&rdquo; in this regard. There are no comprehensive studies exploring this market segment and any available publications either aim to inform or debate the subject matter. Over the last two years the Russian Ministry of Culture has commissioned several research reports of the animation and documentary industries. However, none of the research results have been made available to the public.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Thus, the purpose of this work is to try and characterize the Russian market for short documentary film.&nbsp; The author has made a decision to consider the research object from the perspective of industrial organization, because this theory offers the best way to identify the market type and the nature of relationships among its players.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The paper&rsquo;s hypothesis is that the short documentary market can be characterized as a monopolistic competition. The main aspects of this type of market structure are:</p><ul><li>The products sold on this market are differentiated</li><li>There are many producers and many consumers and no business has total control over the market price</li><li>There are few barriers to entry</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>To check this hypothesis the author did the following:</p><ul><li>Characterized the products sold on the short documentary market</li><li>Described the extent to which they are differentiated</li><li>Determined any barriers to entry</li><li>Estimated the number of producers and buyers</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Conducting research was made difficult because of the limited amount of theoretical and empirical data available on this subject. It is not known how many producers or consumers operate on this market, while the available figures usually contradict each other.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Nevertheless, the research conducted by the author revealed the following:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li>Short documentary films are characterized by a high degree of differentiation (horizontal, vertical, spatial as well as from the demand side)</li><li>There are no substantial barriers to entry, except for a theatrical distribution license and the purchasing of rights to other producers&rsquo; content</li><li>There are a lot of producers (the number of film studios alone amounts to more than 700). It is harder to say how many independent documentary filmmakers there are, but we can safely assume that their number is just as high.</li><li>There are a lot of consumers, including intermediary buyers like television companies and the final buyers like the viewers.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Based on the acquired evidence, the author has found significant reason to accept the hypothesis. Further research into this subject matter could yield potentially useful results, particularly due to the positive dynamics characterizing the industry.</p>

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