The film, the Internet, and the Young Generation Of today's world

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The film, the Internet, and the Young Generation Of today's world, films have supplanted television as the primary source of entertainment. The generic classification of movies helped spread their popularity because every genre has its fan base, with some getting a large following and others catering to a specific demographic. These films have a variety of impacts on their viewers. Some are inspiring and morally uplifting, others that tell funny tales, and some harmful to society. The Internet's widespread use in the twenty-first century has expanded global access to this diverse film collection. This is a two-part paper that discusses the effects of the Internet on the Film industry.

Development of the Film Industry

Early-Day Film Technologies

The film industry has existed for the greater part of the 21st century. It has seen significant transitions from the majorly theatre-dominated visual entertainment world in the late 19th century and early 20th century to the majorly Internet-based film distribution in the 21st century. Across the period, there has been a gradual change over the decade since the first film that was produced in the 1890s. The existing technologies at the time could only permit minutes that lasted less than a minute (History Channel). The historic moment when the first commercial film was screened took place at the Grand Café in Paris under the ‘Cinematographe’ camera project being undertaken by two French brothers Auguste and Louise Lumiere. It was a simple film that showcased the everyday life in the French nation in the 1890s. This development originated from the development of the Phenakistoscope, an optical spinning disc with a series of drawings that could be viewed through slots on the disk, developed by Joseph Plateau and Simon Stampfer, Belgian and Austrian citizens.

Thomas Edison elevated the level of filming a notch higher through the invention of the Kinetograph, with his colleague William Dickson, in the United States. This is the device that was adopted by the Lumiere brothers and used to develop the Cinematographe, which was used in the development of the first motion picture in history.

Beginning of Film Distribution

This was the age of limitation as only a few devices could be produced, thanks to the rudimentary technology that was available then. Therefore, to commercialize the film industry, the Lumiere brothers opened up cinemas (theaters) in Paris and other places to showcase their revolutionary work. The Vitascope Hall in New Orleans, which opened in 1896, was the first movie theater to be opened in the United States (Balio 69). Other significant times for the industry include 1909, when the first ever film review was published by the New York Times, featuring ‘Pippa Passes’ by D. W. Griffith (Gallen and Stern 283). In 1911, Charlie Chaplin, one of the world’s most revered comedians of all times, made his debut on the big-screen when the first Hollywood film studio was opened. Hollywood, since its opening, has remained an industry driver through the century, dictating levels of innovation and the fusion of art, science, and imagination in movie production. After this period companies such as Animation films developed alongside the other genres, with the first half-a-minute film in 1899 by Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (Wells 40). Nickelodeon was launched and opened cinemas that showcased only cinemas in 1905. There, then, followed an increase in theaters across the United States, which eventually led to a worldwide boom in the filming industry, producing movies that lasted several minutes to half an hour. It was until 1927 that the first film with sound was produced by the Warners with the title The Jazz Singer. It contained synchronized voice through dialogue and music (Cooke and Ford 15). The adoption of new technologies in the rest of the world was slower due to economic disparities with America being one of the most advanced nations economically. However, China and Japan caught up with some classic heroic films between 1930 and 1950.

Definition of Genres

The advancement in sound technologies introduced a powerful element in the industry as film genres became possible. Avant-garde, gothic horror, romance, comedy, musicals, cartoons, and American gangster films became available shortly after 1927 through to the 1930s (Hark 51). Some of the most recognized brands of all times produced by Walt Disney and other animation companies were made during this period.

The 1940s through to the 1960s introduced a broader perspective as advances in technology as well as audience maturity shifted (Stubbs 58). War films became more popular, and a new class of genres expanded the already existing classifications, thus creating a variety of films that could be liked by every individual. Some directors used the platform to influence the societies to support their countries in the world wars while others discouraged international conflicts that led to massive deaths. For instance, many films were produced in solidarity with the fight for independence by the countries under European colonization, most of which were on the African and South American continents. The Battle of Algiers is an example of these films, which showcased massive brutality by the colonial powers in torturing those under their regimes (Pontecorvo). It depicts racial tensions, greed, and political contests at the cost of human life on the battlefields of Algeria, which is representative of many other colonized countries. Octavia Getino and Fernando Solanas produced many documentaries, an example being The Hour of the Furnaces, which focused on decolonization (Pontecorvo).

Some genres depicted the national superiority of fellow countrymen, troops, and technology. Such genres were produced to rally citizens behind their war veterans who took part in various wars of the 20th century such as the World Wars, Vietnamese wars, and those on the Persian Gulf (Purseigle). These films transformed into the heroic films with people fighting vices in their own societies. Some of the world-famous stars include Harrison Ford, Roberto de Niro, Al Pacino, Sean Connery, and Tom Cruise, and Richard Gere (Bybrant). Others include Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Silvester Stallone, Bruce Lee, and Jackie Chan, among many others who produced entertainment films through the 1980s and 1990s (Ali). This kind of genre is one among the most popular across the world.

Blue Films

The blue film category is a controversial genre that has undergone significant transformations over the years. In many cases, pornography is categorized as material that is bad for the society as it represents moral decay. This genre has suffered massive bans across the globe in different countries while others partially permit it with restrictions. A genre that began through novels has quickly transformed into a film in the early 20th century; they began to spread silently through the 1920s to 1940s. There were popular shows in brothels, after which constitutional restrictions took a toll (Chris Rodley). The post-WWII brought a different kind of thinking and acceptability of this genre as its demand grew. British film producers such as Harrison Marks began making movies that were considered ‘risqué’, what would be considered today as soft-core pornography (Schlosser 143). The color television and filming came with the 1960s, further pushing the demand higher. Lasse Braun and Reuben Sturman contributed towards the significant spread of these controversial films across Britain, the United States, and Europe (Schlosser 144).

The introduction of the more affordable video tapes brought an era of private home shows, meaning that people could own their copies to watch at their time and convenience. The camcorder was also introduced at the time, bringing the self-made videos a possibility (Corliss). The legal regulations regarding the industry were also defined, as a genre meant for adults only. This meant that the genre was legalized.

Films in the Age of the Internet

The 1990s brought a new distribution medium for movies, which first began in the United States, and then extended to the other nations. Accessibility of films online depended on the cost of connectivity and bandwidth. The influence of the Internet on the Film Industry a significant factor in the growth of outreach to massive populations. It has largely contributed both positively and negatively to the movie industry.

Positive Contribution of the Internet to the Film Industry

The spread of the Internet has lowered the entry barrier into the film industry, thus supporting low-budget films and promoting the profiles of new filmmakers and actors. The number of Internet users across the globe has continued to rise since the early 1990s. This exponential growth has been guided by a number of factors including falling prices of connectivity, advancing technologies, as well as globalization. As of 2017, about 4 billion people are connected to the Internet, and more than half of that population are frequent users (Kemp). As the number of Internet users increases, the audience for beginner actors begins to increases significantly. Distribution of films has become costless for the companies, as they are sought after by online distributors. Channels such as YouTube offer use-generated content on which amateur filmmakers can get their content to a content hungry global audience, which may launch their career into success (Sheric).

The Internet has personalized entertainment. Family television watching was common in the 1980s through the 1990s as movie distribution channels could either be possible through theaters or the television and tape media. These means of entertainment were limited in nature. However, new-age entertainment option is portable, thanks to the spread of Internet-enabled phones and other gadgets in the 21st century. Five people living in a single house would access five different films at the same time, using their accounts on streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix (Luckerson). Due to the big Internet data, multiple TV shows and films can be supported through production simultaneously due to massive support on a global platform. The result is that people get to choose what they want to watch based on individualized content and many directors can access funding due to the number of active viewers of their work. This is a positive factor as it contributes towards the growth of the film industry.

Destruction of borders has been brought about by the growth of the Internet, thus aiding the process of globalization. The increased global Internet access has driven up the rate of success of popular films. In the previous decades, it took years for certain films to spread to every country on the planet. However, today, all it takes is a single click to upload the content, and it will be accessible everywhere on a website. People living in the USA get to watch a popular American TV show uploaded to the Internet at the same time as fans of the same show in Tuvalu, Mumbai, or somewhere in Nairobi (Temkin). The purchasing of broadcasting licenses by different streaming companies help to aide in show sales, thus making it possible for the film Industry to produce more movies and TV shows within a short period, thanks to increased demand.

Increased number of films made during a single year has increased the demand for able actors and actresses, thus opening up chances for young and upcoming filmmakers in the Industry. It is a good opportunity that has been brought only by the massive global demand created by online audiences who are hungry for variety and new content on a daily basis. This provides job opportunities to film-making crews who may work on small and successful projects that feature less than ten actors to ones that employ hundreds of professionals (The Economist).

Negative Effects of the Internet on the Film Industry

The Internet has enabled piracy thus bankrupting many film companies. While the spread of the Internet has supported the growth of demand for films, it has obliterated the previously established distribution system in which people would buy films. Every consumer would either have to rent or buy DVDs or tapes, thus contributing to the increased cash flow in the Industry. Today, one of the toughest problems facing the issue of piracy (Strauss). Anyone with a copy of a new film can be able to share it on a website of his or her choosing, thus making it possible for thousands, and maybe millions, of consumers to access the content free of charge. This kind of culture has significantly reduced the financial muscle of the Industry as the number of viewers who pay to watch is declining at a fast rate.

The Increase in the number of films produced in a year due to the increased demand for new movies per year has made the terrain tougher for film producers and actors. Innovation and creativity in imagining fantastic worlds and stories are the key to massive appeal. This challenge is huge because it is easy for good talent to be largely ignored by the masses who are spoiled for choice. According to The Economist (2016), the film industry has lost its reliance on the influence of including big names in the projects on which they work. Films lose relevance as soon as they are watched as opposed to the days when re-watching films was common, which created room for individualized casting. Today, people take different roles, and the focus has become on the story rather than the actors. This issue compounds on the ills of piracy that is choking the industry's finances (The Economist). Therefore, the audience’s expectations have risen significantly and cashing prominent actors and actresses is increasingly becoming difficult.

Effects of the Films on the Young Generations

Films have both positive and negative effects. The primary goal of film-making and watching is entertainment. As stated, the introduction of the Internet, as well as the popularization of different genres, helped to diversify entertainment, thus introducing a high rate of individualization. People can stream different films on multiple devices that are portable. Portability makes it easier to watch films at one's comfort, whether at home or in a bus or plane, provided they have access to the Internet. Through this, the youth are able to relax from school and work activities (Sawyer 197).

Films also enhance the creativity of the young people. The different genres such as science fiction, professional-based, and biographical films inspire the youth to achieve success in their education, careers, and pursue innovation. For instance, the biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and others have inspired the creative spirit among people who go ahead to bring new technologies to the world (Routledge 157). Legal dramas expose young upcoming lawyers and forensic scientists to significant cases and court language, which enables them to become more passionate about their dream careers.

Pornography consumption is controversial, as has been stated before. The increase in the number of pornography filmmakers, as well as the rise in Internet distribution, has made it a private affair to obtain copies, either free of charge or at a cost. An alarming number children and youth are accessing pornography sites on a daily basis (Webroot). This results in the alteration of sexual behaviors and expectations, thus changing the moral fabric of the society. Also, it leads to time-wasting as people spend hundreds of hours online watching pornography and other videos.


Developments in the filming technologies over the years, as well as the invention and popularization of the Internet, have had a significant impact on the number of viewers who access movies. The introduction of genres diversified the variety of movies available for the different audiences, and the distribution platforms such as the smartphone and the Internet helped to individualize entertainment. All these factors have contributed to a large market of movies that has had different challenges despite its growth in numbers, including piracy, legal, and moral issues. These developments have a significant impact on the young people of today's society than before due to increased accessibility.

Works Cited

Ali, Zohe. The Best Hollywood Actors of the 1990s and the New Millennium. 14 November 2012. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

Balio, Tino. The American Film Industry. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1985. Print.

Bybrant, Andreas. Top Actors of the 80's. 14 March 2014. Online. 17 May 2017. <>.

Cooke, Mervyn and Fiona Ford. The Cambridge Companion to Film Music. Cambridge University Press, 2016. Print.

Corliss, Richard. That Old Feeling: When Porno Was Chic. 29 March 2005. Online. 19 May 2017. <,8599,1043267,00.html>.

Gallen, Ira H. and Seymour Stern. D.W. Griffith's 100th Anniversary The Birth of a Nation. FriesenPress, 2014. Print.

Hark, Ina Rae. American Cinema of the 1930s: Themes and Variations. Rutgers University Press, 2007. Print.

History Channel. First Commercial Movie Screened. 28 December 2016. Online. 17 May 2017. <>.

Kemp, Simon. Digital in 2017: Global Overview. 24 January 2017. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

Luckerson, Victor. How You Watch TV Is about to Change Forever. 6 May 2016. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

Pornography: The Secret History of Civilization. Dir. Dev Varma, Kate Williams III Chris Rodley. Perf. Grant Romer, Rolf Borowczak, Bob Guccione, Dean Kuipers Marilyn Milgrom. 2006. Film.

Purseigle, Pierre. Propaganda and the Tragedy of Consent. 1 November1 2013. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

Routledge. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. Routledge, 2008. Print.

Sawyer, Robert Keith. Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.

Schlosser, Eric. Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. Houghton Mifflin Books, 2004. Print.

Sheric. Releasing Your Feature Film on YouTube. 3 July 2013. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

Strauss, Karsten. TV and Film Piracy: Threatening an Industry? 6 March 2013. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

Stubbs, Jonathan. Historical Film: A Critical Introduction. A&amp;C Black, 2013. Print.

Temkin, Sanchia. Increased Internet Access Expected to Generate More Consumer Spend across the African Continent over the Next Five Years: PwC report. n.d. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

The Battle of Algiers. Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo. Perf. Jean Martin, et al. 1966. Film.

The Economist. Fading stars. 27 February 2016. Online. 19 May 2017. <>.

Webroot. Internet Pornography by the Numbers; A Significant Threat to Society. n.d. Online. 17 May 2017. <>.

Wells, P. Animation, Sport and Culture. Springer, 2014. Print.

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