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What is Synergy?

vikiwalden | Tuesday June 12, 2012

Categories: Film, Film Analysis, Film Industry, Film Language, Film Promotion, Key Concepts, Media Language, Hot Entries, New Media, Synergy


The basic concept of Synergy can be explained through this mathematical formula:


Whilst this may not make sense to mathematicians, in business it does, when we think of profit value. If you sell two separate products, for example a video game and a film, they could both do very well, giving you a profit of £200 million each.

However if the video game and film were linked, i.e. both Harry Potter projects, this is synergy because the profit value of each will be more, perhaps £300 million each. Therefore the product value of intertied products is


than the value of two separate products.

As film students, of course you do not have to worry about mathematics, but you do need to understand the importance of synergy for the industry and to be able to identify and discuss examples.

Jill Nelmes, in ‘An Introduction to Film Studies’ defines synergy strategy as:

Combined or related action by a group of individuals or corporations towards a common goal, the combined effect of which exceeds the sum of the individual efforts. (Nelmes, 1996: 42)

Synergy can come in a number of different forms:

Product Placement

Companies pay to feature their product in a film, which often leads to a deal in which the film’s protagonist or other characters are featured in their advertising campaigns.


Promotional Partnerships, where the film or its characters will feature on existing products. This may be in the form of competitions.


Products based on the original, i.e. the Film. A film may be a spin-off of a television series, or a television series may be created as a spin-off of a film. We can also think of this as media convergence.

Pre-Existing Property

If a film is based on pre-existing material (for example a video game, novel or comic book) the pre-existing material is often re-released featuring imagery from the film on its cover, or a special edition is released in synch with the film’s scheduled cinematic...

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