Developing a Model to Gain a Greater Share of International Markets for the Iranian Audio-Visual and Cinema Products

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate in Media Management, Department of Cultural Affairs and Media Management, Faculty of Management and Economics, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Prof., Department of Cultural Affairs and Media Management, Faculty of Management and Economics, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Assistant Prof., Department of European Studies, Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Objective: Despite significant success in international festivals, Iranian cinema industry has failed to gain a share of the global markets. This interdisciplinary research, while examining the factors affecting the entry of Iranian cinema industry into international markets, tends to find out the flourishing context for the products of Iranian cinema, the steps it has taken to gain a share of the international markets, and what planned measures should be taken into account for this purpose in order to determine its distance from the involved countries and to provide the necessary solutions to advance the goal of internationalization. The macro-factors affecting all businesses in general and the specific factors of the cinema industry have been examined and finally, the consequences of such strategies have been clarified. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide a comprehensive model for the entry of Iranian visual and cinematic products into the international markets.
Methodology: This research is "fundamental" in terms of purpose and is "exploratory" in terms of result which has applied a "qualitative" approach. This research is based on the systematic model proposed by Strauss and Corbin on grounded theory; for this porpuse, 23 interviews were conducted with the experts including directors and film agents, international activists in the field of video distribution and professors of media management and marketing management during 2019 and 2020.
Findings: The proposed model provides a comprehensive image of the current situation of Iranian visual products and cinema industry in terms of the possibility of entering into the international markets. For example, any shifts toward making expensive films cannot give us the power to compete with the dominant cinema and it does not comply with the style and history of cultural-artistic films for which Iranian cinema is known in the world. Meanwhile the lack of infrastructure and necessary laws for the field of film export, lack of copyright in Iran, inability of Iranian film and cinema to compete with the mainstream in the world, lack of attention to producing films based on the audiences’ taste, technical requirements, content requirements, lack of required capital, the lack of professional business and international marketing managers, and, of course, the legal requirements are among the main barriers to the entry of Iranian films into the international markets. Therefore, necessary efforts should be made in the management structures to transform the Iranian cinema market into an organic market in accordance with international standards with a focus on the decision-making institutional context in the field of cinema and the role of national production and wealth. They should establish communication between traditional business owners and startup innovators. Within the ideological attitude of the government, the procedures should shift from a negative to a positive view, and with an economic (business) priority to make it possible to adapt the films to the target market and gain economic benefit. There is also the need for a change in the attitude and the plan of the senior institutions in order to shape the bases of co-production and to change the attitude of Iranian cinematographers in exploiting new technologies for a more professional production and distribution of the films.
Conclusion: Unilateralism, lack of a collective spirit, and lack of professionalism have prevented the right action for Iranian cinema to enter international markets. Ignoring the need for cinema to become industrialized, ignoring the power of its media, and relying solely on marketing and commerce have prevented Iranian cinema from gaining a share of the global market. However, the entry of Iranian films into the international market as the indicator of culture and art can represent the national identity of the country and help maintain the country credibility in the field of public diplomacy. In addition, the commercial performance of the cinema, provided that its industrial cycle is completed, will be an important source for the growth of non-oil exports and help the independence of the country's economy from oil exports.


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