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Project report on
Movie Marketing
Mr. Punit Ketan Thakkar
Div – B
Roll No – 109
Academic year 2010-2011
Project Guide
Prof. Pankaj Natu
30TH September, 2010
Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics
Vile Parle (W), Mumbai-400053
I, Punit Thakkar of SVKM’s Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics of
TYBMS, hereby declare that I have completed the project on Movie Marketing in the
academic year 2010-2011
The information is true and original to the best of my knowledge.
Punit Thakkar
I, Mr. Pankaj Natu, hereby certify that PUNIT THAKKAR of SVKM’s Narsee
Monjee college of Commerce and Economics of TYBMS (Semester V) has completed
the project on “Movie Marketing” in the academic year 2010-11 under my guidance.
Prof. Pankaj Natu
Prof. Sunil B Mantri
( Project Guide)
N.M. College
N.M. College
I would like to acknowledge the following for being the idealistic channel and fresh
dimension in the completion of this project.
I take this opportunity to thank the University of Mumbai for giving me a chance to
do this project.
I wish to appreciate the SVKM management for providing the state
of the art facilities, the Principal Prof Sunil B. Mantri for his dynamic
leadership and the library staff for their support in providing
academic content, and the teaching and supporting staff of N.M.
College, for providing the entire state of the art infrastructure and
resources to enable the completion and enrichment of my project.
I take this opportunity to thank our co-coordinator and my project guide, Prof. Pankaj
Natu, for his moral support, guidance and intellect that made this project successful.
I would like to thank our college library for having provided various reference books
and magazines related to my project.
Lastly, I would like to thank each and every person who directly or indirectly helped
me in the completion of the project. Especially my parents and peers, who supported
me throughout the project.
Gone are the days when the producer’s job ends once a movie is made. In this day and
age it is imperative for every filmmaker to market his movie once it is completed. The
lag between the completion and release of any movie can have a fatal effect if it is not
promoted effectively and smartly. Thus, for a movie to stand out in the minds of the
audience, it is important that the merit of the same is communicated to them in the
most appropriate and meaningful way.
In the last five years, non-traditional media houses have opened up. But the fact that a
producer can spend more doesn't really mean that he has to. When you say, you have
spent so many crores, it isn't really something to be proud of. What really matters is
how we spend the money.
Marketing surely has to translate into driving more people to the theatre on that first
critical weekend. Today, with the change in speed of operations, a major campaign
can be launched in a matter of days, but in such a situation, factors from the ability of
differentiate your radio message from the TV to the spread of your costs and what
media you buy – all becomes critical.
Marketing is the key in ensuring that a film is able to communicate its core theme to
potential viewers in an engaging way. It sets up the expectation levels of the audience
with regard to what sort of film they can expect when they enter the auditorium, and is
primarily responsible for the opening the film garners. Post release, the objective of
marketing is to ensure the film remains fresh in the minds of audiences as long as
possible and to build on audience reactions to the film by adapting the PR and media
plan accordingly.
In its true sense, marketing is all about the launch.
The Indian film industry has definitely woken up to the importance of marketing in
driving the business, however, it is still looked at by many as an additional expense
rather than an investment like the cost of production.
The reason for me to have chosen this topic for my research project is based on the
fascination I have towards Bollywood and its various facets, primarily marketing.
The quantum of publicity of movies that is all around is simply hard to ignore. The
emerging trend of rightly marketing every movie – right from pre production to
distribution and promotion is something that I like to follow keenly. As a marketing
student, the idea of effectively presenting a film to the audience and the dynamics that
influence the same interests me.
This is the reason why I have chosen ‘Movie Marketing’ as the topic for my project.
Entertainment industry
History of Indian cinema
Marketing Mix for movies
Marketing and Bollywood
Marketing the Film
Role of marketing in creating a successful movie
Promotional tools
Corporatization of Bollywood
Box office collections
Case studies
Recession and Bollywood
Future of Movie Marketing
The Indian media and entertainment industry stood at Rs 58,700 crore in 2009, a
growth of 1.4% over 2008, said the latest FICCI and KPMG report released at Frames
2010 on Tuesday.
The industry is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of
13% to reach the size of Rs 1,09,100 crore by 2014.
Last year, print showed a very moderate growth of 2%, reaching around Rs 17,500
crore in size. Music, Internet, gaming and animation brought cheer with double digits
growth, albeit on a smaller base. Out of Home, films and radio sectors registered a
negative growth during the year.
Rajesh Jain, head of media & entertainment, KPMG India said, “The untapped
potential for growth in media reach, impact of digitisation and convergence, better
consumer understanding, sustained efforts in innovation, and enhanced penetration of
regional markets, all augur well for the industry.”
Experts believe the annual 13% rate will be driven by factors such as favourable
demographics, expected recovery in the GDP growth rate and increasing media
“Though console gaming currently constitutes the largest share of the pie, going
forward mobile gaming is expected to eventually surpass console games levels. The
growth in this sector will be backed by the increase in number of casual and active
games, arrival of 3G, availability of localised content, growth in ad funded gaming
platforms and greater awareness of products and services,” said Jain. By 2014, the
gaming industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 32% to reach Rs 3,200 crore in
PWC recently released – Indian Media & Entertainment Outlook 2009 Report – which
however is optimistic of a double digit growth rate for Media & Entertainment sector
from next year onwards.
Print medium still dominates in terms of the size and share percentage. Total print size
is Rs. 111.5 Billion with a market share of 47.3%. Television comes in close second
with 38.6% market share and total size of 91.0 Billion. But interesting trend is the fast
growth of Online and Radio industry, though OOH still needs to pick up pace. Online
medium is at a very nascent stage in India in terms of Advertising and it provides a
huge potential. What we need though is a different kind of ad selling model as Google
ads doesn’t seem to work the same way in India as in the US.
The report also presented some very interesting Stats about Indian M&E sector-
Over 1,000 movies released annually (largest in the world)
3.2 billion movie tickets sold annually (largest in the world)
80 million pay-TV homes (third largest in the world)
119 million television households
450 television channels
Over 300 million mobile subscribers (second largest in the world)
Over 350 radio stations
6,000 newspapers published, including the worlds’ largest circulated daily.
10,000 music tracks released annually. (That is close to 3 tracks daily)
Indian Entertainment and Media Industry in no doubt have witnessed magnificent
growth in recent years. If a recent report by PWC is to be believed then India is
certainly on the verge to witness major growth in E&M industry after only to China.
Indian E&M industry grew at 10.3 per cent to reach the size of Rs. 536.9 billion,
although it will witness only 8 % in 2009 compared to 16.6% compounded annual
growth over the 2004-08 period. The growth in Indian E&M industry would hover
around 10.5 per cent during the forecasted period 2009-13.
Outlook for Segmented growth of the Indian E&M Industry (2009-13)
Television: The industry is estimated to grow at a rate of 11.4% cumulatively over the
next five years, from an estimated Rs. 244.7 billion in 2008. The overall television
industry would reach Rs. 420.0 billion by 2013. In the Television pie, television
distribution is projected to garner a share of 60% in 2013. On the other hand,
television advertising industry is projected to command a share of 41.0% in 2013,
having increased from current 39.0% in the total ad industry pie. The relative share of
the television content industry is expected to remain constant at 4%.
Film: The industry is projected to grow at a rate of 11.6% over the next five years,
reaching to Rs. 185 billion in 2013 from the current Rs. 107 billion in 2008. The film
industry would see a paradigm shift and would accrue larger revenues from new
emerging avenues.
Print media: It is projected to grow by 5.6% over the period 2009-13, reaching to Rs.
213 billion in 2013 from the present Rs. 162 billion in 2008. The relative shares of
newspaper publishing and magazine publishing would remain the same at around 87%
in favour of newspaper publishing. Magazine publishing is expected to grow at a
higher rate of 6.5% as compared with newspaper publishing which is expected to
grow at 5.6% for the next 5 years.
Radio advertising: This industry is projected to grow at a rate of 18% over 2009-13,
reaching Rs. 19 billion in 2013 from the present Rs. 8.3 billion in 2008; more than
double its present size. In terms of attracting ad spend; it is projected that the radio
advertising industry will be able to increase its share from 3.8% to 5.2% in the next
five years.
Emerging segments: The key growth driver for the music industry over the next five
years will be digital music, and its share is expected to move from 16% in 2008 to
60% in 2013. Within digital music, mobile music will continue to increase its share
and maintain its dominance.
Online advertising: It is projected to grow by 32% over the next five years and reach
an estimated Rs. 20 billion in 2013 from the present Rs. 5 billion in 2008. The share
of the online advertising too is projected to grow from 2.3% in 2008 to 5.5% in 2013
of the overall advertising pie.
Out of home (OOH) : Advertising spend is expected to touch Rs 15 billion in 2008,
which is almost twice its current size Rs 25 billion in 2013.Its share in the total ad pie
is expected to go down marginally to 6.8% in 2013 from a current level of 6.9% in
- 10 -
Animation, gaming and VFX industry: It will continue to maintain its growth pace
and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22 per cent to Rs. 42.5 billion in 2013 from its
current size of Rs. 15.6 billion.
Break up of Indian Media and Entertainment Industry
Print Media
- 11 -
1896 was a significant year for Indian entertainment industry as it witnessed the
arrival of cinema in India. When one goes to think about the history of Indian cinema
that first name that springs up are the Luemiere Brothers who demonstrated the art of
cinema to the subcontinent. Bombay was the first Indian city that screened
cinematography, six short films by the luemiere brothers. The success of these films
led to the screening of more foreign films, for instance, Vita graph by James. B.
Stewart and Moto- Photoscope by ted Hughes. In short introduction of cinema in India
took place with the aid of the colonisers.
A kaleidoscopic view of history of India includes the pioneering efforts of save dada
(Harish Chandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar). He made two short films as early as in
1897. In 1900 the entire Indian entertainment sector underwent huge changes and the
emergence of Dadasaheb Phalke took Indian cinema to new heights. In 1913, raja
Harish Chandra was released which achieved path breaking success. During that time
i.e. the era when silent films were made and when talkies were introduced, the main
sources for Indian films were the mythological texts. Gradually silent films were
taken over by the talkies. Films were now made in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and Telugu
and these films proved to be phenomenal successes.
The period from the late 1940s to the 1960s are regarded by film historians as the
"Golden Age" of Hindi cinema. Some of the most critically-acclaimed Hindi films of
all time were produced during this period. Examples include the Guru
Dutt films Pyaasa (1957)
and Kaagaz
the Raj
Kapoor films Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955). These films expressed social
themes mainly dealing with working-class urban life in India; Awaara presented the
city as both a nightmare and a dream, while Pyaasa critiqued the unreality of city
life. Some of the most famous epic films of Hindi cinema were also produced at the
time, including Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957), which was nominated for
the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and K. Asif’s Mughal-eAzam (1960).V. Shantaram's Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) is believed to have
inspired the Hollywood film The Dirty Dozen (1967). Madhumati (1958), directed
- 12 -
by Bimal
Roy and
by Ritwik
of reincarnation in Western popular culture.Other acclaimed mainstream Hindi
filmmakers at the time included Kamal Amrohi and Vijay Bhatt. Successful actors at
the time included Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt, while
successful actresses included Nargis, Meena Kumari, Nutan, Madhubala, Waheeda
Rehman and Mala Sinha.
1950 onwards, decade after decade indian film industry saw the emergence of stars
like Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachan, Asha Parekh
and many more. The list is endless. In 1960, K-Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam created history
and a trial of romantic movies followed. Similarly 1970 Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay won
hearts worldwide. Regional films too were doing well.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, romance movies and action films starred actors
like Rajesh Khanna and
Dharmendra, and actresses like Sharmila Tagore,
Mumtaz, Leena Chandavarkar and Helen. In the mid-1970s, romantic confections
made way for gritty, violent films about gangsters (see Indian mafia) and
bandits.Amitabh Bachchan, the star known for his "angry young man" roles, rode the
crest of this trend with actors like Mithun Chakraborty and Anil Kapoor, which lasted
into the early 1990s. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini, Jaya
Bachchan and Rekha
Some Hindi filmmakers such as Shyam Benegal continued to produce realistic
parallel cinema throughout the 1970’s, alongside Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan
Mehta, Govind Nihalani and Vijaya Mehta However, the 'art film' bent of the Film
Finance Corporation came under criticism during a Committee on Public
Undertakings investigation in 1976, which accused the body of not doing enough to
encourage commercial cinema. The 1970s thus saw the rise of commercial cinema in
the form of enduring films such as Sholay (1975), which solidified Amitabh
Bachchan's position as a lead actor. The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma was also
released in 1975. Another important film from 1975 was Deewar, directed by Yash
Chopra and written by Salim-Javed. A crime film pitting "a policeman against his
brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan", portrayed by
- 13 -
Amitabh Bachchan, it was described as being “absolutely key to Indian cinema”
by Danny Boyle The most internationally-acclaimed Hindi film of the 1980s was Mira
Nair's Salaam Bombay! (1988) which won the Camera d'Or at the 1988 Cannes Film
Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the pendulum swung back toward familycentric romantic musicals with the success of such films as Qayamat Se Qayamat
Tak (1988), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) and Dilwale
Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), making stars out of a new generation of actors (such
as Aamir
Khan, Salman
Khan and Shahrukh
as Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla and Kajol) In that point of time, action and
comedy films were also successful, with actors like Govinda and Akshay Kumar and
actresses such as Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor appearing in films of this
genre. Furthermore, this decade marked the entry of new performers in arthouse and
independent films, some of which succeeded commercially, the most influential
example being Satya (1998), directed by Ram Gopal Varma and written by Anurag
Kashyap. The critical and commercial success of Satya led to the emergence of a
distinct genre known as Mumbai noir urban films reflecting social problems in the
city of Mumbai This led to a resurgence of Parallel Cinema by the end of the decade.
These films often featured actors like Nana Patekar, Manoj Bajpai, Manisha
Koirala, Tabu and Urmila Matondkar, whose performances were usually critically
The 2000s saw a growth in Bollywood's popularity in the world. This led the nation's
filmmaking to new heights in terms of quality, cinematography and innovative story
lines as well as technical advances in areas such as special effects, animation,
etc. Some of the largest production houses, among them Yash Raj Films and Dharma
Productions were the producers of new modern films. The opening up of the overseas
market, more Bollywood releases abroad and the explosion of multiplexes in big
cities, led to wider box office successes in India and abroad, including Lagaan
(2001), Devdas (2002), Koi... Mil Gaya (2003), Kal Ho Naa Ho(2003), VeerZaara (2004), Rang
(2006), Lage
Krrish (2006), Dhoom 2 (2006), Om Shanti Om (2007), Chak De India(2007), Rab Ne
Bana Di Jodi (2008) and Ghajini (2008), delivering a new generation of popular
- 14 -
actors (Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan) and actresses (Aishwarya Rai, Preity
Zinta, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor), and keeping the popularity of actors of the
previous decade. Among the mainstream films, Lagaan won the Audience Award at
the Locarno International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign
Language Film at the 74th Academy Awards, while Devdas and Rang De
Basanti were both nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Hindi film industry has preferred films that appeal to all segments of the audience
(see the discussion in Ganti, 2004, cited in references), and has resisted making films
that target narrow audiences. It was believed that aiming for a broad spectrum would
maximise box office receipts. However, filmmakers may be moving towards
accepting some box-office segmentation, between films that appeal to rural Indians,
and films that appeal to urban and overseas audiences.
There have generally been five major influences that have shaped the conventions of
Indian popular cinema:
The ancient Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana which have exerted
a profound influence on the thought and imagination of Indian popular cinema,
particularly in its narratives
Ancient Sanskrit drama, with its highly stylized nature and emphasis on
spectacle, where music, dance and gesture combined "to create a vibrant
artistic unit with dance and mime being central to the dramatic experience."
The traditional folk theatre of India, which became popular from around the
10th century with the decline of Sanskrit theatre.
The Parsi theatre, which "blended realism and fantasy, music and dance,
narrative and spectacle, earthy dialogue and ingenuity of stage presentation,
integrating them into a dramatic discourse of melodrama.
Hollywood, where musicals were popular from the 1920s to the 1950s, though
Indian filmmakers departed from their Hollywood counterparts in several
- 15 -
Bollywood is the largest in the world, producing almost 800 hindi language films per
year that are viewed by roughly 11 million people per day. These movies are known
for their high concepts, ethnic flavour, rich emotionalism, vivid colours and sensuous
The entertainment industry in India has outperformed the economy and is one of the
fastest growing sectors in India. Since 1931 when talkies were there in the country,
the film industry has produced more than 67000 films in more than 30 different
languages and dialects. India’s movie industry is a great sector for foreign investment
by corporatized entertainment companies. Though risks are high on per- movie basis,
the risk spreads out across a number of films. However the domestic film industry
despite its profligacy is yet to acquire …the character of professionalism on a large
After the far fetched success of information technology and biotechnology, the Indian
entertainment industry is all set to bloom in the coming years. Be it the changing
distribution scenario, consolidations within the industry and segments, technological
invocations or changes in regulatory environment- all are contribution to the growth
of the sector. Even the macroeconomic factors like the country’s GDP growth rate,
demographic changes and Indian Diaspora are spurring the trend. There is immense
potential to be tapped to make the Indian entertainment industry at par with its global
Mumbai, the City of Dreams, houses the prime centre of Hindi Film Industry, better
known as Bollywood. Acclaimed as one of the biggest film industries of the world,
Bollywood produces over 1000 films every year. Since 1913, Indian Cinema has
made a long journey from simple silent movies to sound films, then coloured films to
technically advanced movies of the present day. Bollywood imbibed its name from
the merger of the term Bombay (now Mumbai) and Hollywood, the American Film
Another point worth-mentioning is that Bollywood is just the part of Indian Film
Industry, which also encompasses other language film industries. The movies churned
- 16 -
out here are the major source of entertainment, with an audience of 3.6 billion people,
which is more than half of the world's population. Bypassing the reality, Hindi films
are usually 'masala' (spicy) movies that comprise all the ingredients like music, dance,
violence and melodrama of a good entertainer. The languages of Hindi, Urdu and
English are extremely common in Bollywood.
Interesting Facts about Bollywood
Production-wise, Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world with over
1000 films produced every year.
Its movies are watched by almost 14 million Indians everyday.
Raja Harishchandra (1913) was the first silent feature film of India.
'Alam Ara' - the first Indian sound film was released in 1931.
Kisan Kanya (1937) was the first coloured movie produced in India.
'Kagaz ke Phool' (1959) was the first cinemascope film of Bollywood.
The first 70 MM film of Bollywood was 'Around the World'.
The first 3D movie in Hindi was 'Shiva ka Insaaf'.
'Noorjahan' (1931) was the first Indian English film.
Every year, Bollywood movies are celebrated in no less than 6 award
- 17 -
Business Segment
TV Broadcasting & Software
Name of Companies
Zee Telefilms, ETC Networks, SONY
Entertainment Television, TV Today, NDTV,
Balaji Telefilms, Bag Films, Creative Eye,
Cinevistaas, Padmalaya Telefilms, Sri Adhikari
Brothers Network, TV 18, Miditech, UTV,
Film Production, Distribution &
Nimbus Communications
Adlabs Films, PVR, Mukta Arts, Shringar Films,
Pritish Nandy Communications, Galaxy
Music Content & Distribution
Print Media
Radio Broadcasting
Entertainment, Kaleidoscope Entertainment
Tips Industries, Saregama
Mid-Day Multimedia, Hindustan Times
Entertainment Network of India
Crest Communications, DQ Entertainment
Country wise Films Produced
United States
South Korea
- 18 -
Country Wise Cinema Attendance
United States
United Kingdom
South Korea
- 19 -
Marketing mix is the set of controllable variables and their levels used to influence the
target market. The elements of marketing mix are the basic components of a
marketing plan. Also known as the Four P's, the marketing mix elements are price,
place, product, and promotion.
The concept is simple. Think about another common mix - an ice-cream mix. All icecreams contain milk, sugar, flavours. However, one can alter the final ice-cream by
altering the amounts of mix elements contained in it. So for a chocolate flavour add
more chocolate powder, for vanilla flavour add more vanilla powder and for bitter
coffee taste add less sugar and more coffee powder!
It is the same with the marketing mix. The offer made to the customer can be altered
by varying the mix elements. So for a high profile brand, increase the focus on
promotion and desensitize the weight given to price.
The 6Ps of Film Marketing
Product: It is time and again that we keep coming back to this. The base for a welldefined film marketing strategy starts with the film itself. A well researched script
with a well-woven screenplay is where the core of the film-marketing strategy for a
film should be invested. It is not about who sees the film only, it is also about catering
to a definitive audience who watches your film in theatres, and more often than not,
more than once. While other elements of marketing focus on attracting these
audiences it is this aspect of marketing i.e. ‘the product’ that aims at satisfying these
- 20 -
Placement: With the first element satisfied we move on the element that makes the
first element possible. It is true that an audience will be satisfied only when they are
attracted to go into the theatre to watch the film. It is ‘placement’ that accounts for
attracting the audience into crowding the theatre. ‘Placement’ as a term is used to
describe the modus-operandi of placing the communication and promotion strategy of
the film on to media and non-media platforms available in the industry today.
There is a complete media-mix that should be put into place usually 15% to 25% of
the production cost of the film is invested into the marketing of the film in Bollywood.
But then there are films like Lagaan, Boom, Out of Control, Khel and others who have
spent as much as 40% of their production cost on marketing. But only Lagaan out of
all these films became a super-hit and needles to point out that that had a lot to do
with the central theme of the film.
Today it makes perfect sense to collaborate with one or more media partners in order
to ensure maximum focused publicity of your film through certain guided platforms.
The PLACE of Movies:
A marketing attitude tickles the creative genius in many a digital entertainment
entrepreneur! Where and how do your prospects find (and use) your movie products?
That's marketing "place."
It's about making one's products and services available to prospective buyers when,
where and how they want them. Direct marketing to your end customer and filling the
distribution channel in between. Marketing strategies mix and match indirect channels
such as wholesale and exhibitor channels. Single or multiple channels. Long supply
chains or short. Domestic and/or global. Urban, suburban, rural.
With the ever-inventive entrepreneurial energy in the entertainment whorl, people find
venues for entertainment sales not only through traditional theaters and broadcast, but
on street corners, in homes, over the Internet, over phones, through clubs, by ship,
plane and with leaps over tall buildings!
Options for delivery of intellectual property are exploding: movies, games, music,
news, and educational content. Distribution takes place through theaters, rental stores,
sell-through stores, catalogs, non-theatrical groups, the Internet, even cell phones and
the latest new media gadget.
Just a few of the technologies that have provided platforms for creative sales of digital
media include broadband, cellular phones, hard disk miniaturization, WYSIWIG
- 21 -
interfaces, database tools, simulators, and the growing options in integrated home
theater systems.
Technologies that were invented for delivery mechanisms become the entertainment
themselves. There hasn't been such a cross fertilization of place and function since the
Italian Renaissance shook the communications world with the mixture of art, music,
literature and political ideas in the 1400s.
Is today's digital renaissance any different? We have digital entertainment, education
and news tapping the political and military fronts. Digital delivery of information
affects business, education, government and family communities.
The half-life of platforms, strategies and formats are shorter than ever. Affiliate
programs on the Internet saw their peak. Now we have RSS feeds, blogs, vblogs,
audio blogs and mobile computing. Many families no longer lease a land-based phone
line--relying strictly on their cellular phones, instant messaging and e-mail for
personal communications.
Through all these mobility and technological changes, the human factor remains
constant. People like people. They like meeting places and a reason to get together.
The campfire might be digital, but it hasn't lost its glow. That's where marketing
What does the technical digi-master need to know about the marketing realities of
place? Think Zip drive. Floppies. Analog. Radio. Local television. Books. Stone
tablets. The frustration felt by today's consumers about upgrading, lost data, boat
anchors and mice is real. A marketing 'tude about technology is really about
availability of personal and business photos and recordings and letters and records -not to mention collections of music, games and movies.
Place is about availability -- not just sales availability, but usability. Ability is the
heart of a marketing attitude. Backward compatibility, cross-platform compatibility,
global standards. Successful technologists think about people as they contort bits and
bites into new opportunities.
To put a human face on this process of change, remember how parents struggle to rear
their children who, in their teen years, hit their stride. Technology links these cutting
edge communicators with family, friends, advisors, teachers and coworkers in the
home, the car, the office, and the back pocket. It's about place. Availability.
Community. Sharing the joy, the opportunity and the content of the message.
Design for sharing and for varying levels of technological compatibility, adaptability
and speed of adoption are powerfully tantalizing and profitable elements of a
successful marketing mix.
Options for "place" today are different than twenty years ago. In 1985 Ronald Reagan
took office as President. The first laser printers were added to the desktop publishing
revolution. The Apple Macintosh and the IBM PC AT home computers had just been
released. Microsoft releases its first version of Windows. The first CD-Rom drive for
- 22 -
personal computers was released sporting a whopping "1X" speed. Is it any wonder
people are reeling from the speed of technological change?
Today, the "place" of entertainment distribution is mind boggling. Producers and
distributors must pick and choose their distribution avenues, but also manage their
presence in all of the key market distribution channels. When technologists work
closely with marketing strategists, they can keep pace with groundswell market shifts
created by competitors, collaborators and global shifts in economic, political and
social changes.
"Place" is the grassroots of a marketing attitude. There's still no place like home turf.
Create your in-house list of family, friends, supporters, and industry members,
vendors and media
Research the distribution chain in the general movie industry and hint, hint, at least
THREE niche markets related to the subject matter of your products
Refine your market niche and develop a library of movies with a cohesive core so that
you can develop fans -- people who look for the next movie you produce because it
touches their interests: genre, subject, ensemble cast, etc.
Get to know your distributors. They are people. They love movies just like you. They
see a lot, hear a lot, and think a lot about how to bring quality to their market niches.
Positioning: The entire media, marketing and communication strategy of the film
depends on the positioning of the film. Positioning is that particular slot in the mind of
the audience that the film positions it in. This kind of positioning has a lot to do with
how well defined your target-audience is.
The time-consuming and highly complex ordeal of pin-pointing the target- audience is
something that a good film marketer should take care of in the conceptualisation
stage. The film by and large should appeal to the sensibilities of all kinds of audience
but prominently should be positioned for a well defined audience. Based on the
projected associations with your target-audience you must formulate the ‘positioning
elements’. These ‘positioning elements’ should highlight and reflect in all the
promotions for the film.
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People: The positioning of the film has a lot to do with the personification of the film.
Personification finally is the key to creating a brand out of the film. Lagaan is brand
India and Cricket.
It is the central characters (not the actors) of the film that should enable the making of
a brand out of your film. There should be a well-defined promotion plan that has to be
put-into place for promoting the people of the film (both on-screen and the technical
team). The build-up should be such that without over-exposing the team there should
be enough flurry of activity that will catapult the audiences into the character of the
film even before they see the film.
Public Relations: Besides the advertising and promotion of the film there should be a
strategic focus on public relations for the film, both media and non-media public
relations play an important role in the success of the film.
Partners Brands and Bollywood: There is evidence of shortened attention spans and
a greater effort to break through the clutter of multitudinous brands and media
vehicles. The best way to deliver the message is to catch the customer off-guard when
the rational defences’ are down. The best way to do so is to use the emotional gate
rather than the rational gate. The rational gate examines the advantages, benefits,
features and seeks value for money; the emotional gate is all about trust, love,
identification and belief. It has been noticed that films operate at the emotional level.
These aspects have been leveraged by brands such as Coke, Pepsi, Lux, Airtel,
Hyundai, Bagpiper, Lux wherein movies and brands flash discreet (and sometimes
indiscreet) messages at their target audiences.
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Then there is also the need to examine synergies between the brands and films. The
successful integration of product placement within the film’s storyline has a long
history: the first example being the yellow Rajdoot bike used in Raj Kapoor’s Bobby.
Hollywood also leverages brands such as BMW (Bond movies), Jaguar, Ford, Ray
Ban (Tom Cruise in Risky Business and Mission Impossible and Will Smith in Men
In Black), Starbucks coffee, AOL, AT&T, and so on. My personal favorites are the
brand fits created for ‘Nike’ in What Women Want and for FedEx in Castaway.
However, at this point it might be crucial to point out that what is important is that
there is complete transparency in the agreement that the film-marketer and brandmarketer get themselves into. Otherwise things can get really dirty. Recall Rakesh and
Hritik Roshan of Koi Mil Gaya v/s Killer Jeans and Emami.
Films are a different medium and one bad placement can do more damage than 10
good placements. Artistic integrity is crucial for successful brand placements and the
operation has to be woven into the script. Sometimes, unreasonable clients demand
more footage although research has shown that a 2-minute clip can effectively deliver
a message in a credible manner. The placement should be a natural fit and shouldn’t
be contrived and unnatural. Each effective tie-up between a brand and a film involves
hectic negotiations of around 3-6 months.
There is no fixed formula but the factors that are taken into consideration MEDIA
during the negotiation stage include: cast and credits; size of the projects and the
producers; timing of the release; brand impact; number of screens during release and
post-release phase; and possibilities of brand associations through contests and
promotions. Depending on the content of the film and its story line, the film-maker
can sketch a profile of viewers who would flock to see the movie. Then the filmmaker approaches all those brands who could appeal to the targeted viewers. This is
followed by a 360 degrees marketing plan for cross-promotions during the various
stages of a film’s release.
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A list of marketing variables under Product, Place, Promotion, and Price are as
List price
Personal selling
Sales promotion
Payment period
Brand name
Credit terms
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"Taking your family to a multiplex would cost you at least Rs 600. Now to make the
masses do that, a good marketing strategy is very essential."
Hence now it is believed that any product --- be it a film, play or TV show --- requires
good marketing if its commercial expectations are to be met. The purpose of
marketing is to maximise the audience for a film and to therefore maximise its
earnings i.e. to make as much money as possible. Most blockbuster movies already
have an audience. So producers put in millions of dollars into the movie because they
already know people will go and see it because it is based on a media text that already
has an audience. This may be a previous film (e.g. Krisshh’s audience will consist of
many people who are fans of the first movie Koi Mil Gaya ...!). However, the
producers need a guarantee that the film is going to be make not just a small profit,
but a comfortable one, and after spending crores of rupees on a movie they will
usually spend around half as much again on marketing it.
Marketing also aims at making the movie a brand so that people are loyal to it and a
set of brand loyal consumers are created. Marketing plays a very important role in
attracting people to the theatres. However the brand loyalty lasts for a very small
period of time. People might buy the t-shirts, audio CD’s etc. of the movies. Movies
are a one time experience and people don’t go to see the same movie again and again.
The brand loyalty in case of movies is entirely different from that of FMCG products.
People buy those products again and again if they like them but movies they will see
only once or at the most twice if they like it so much. The decision to go and watch
the movie is largely influenced by the marketing of the film.
With each new movie release, the studio has to create a new brand. That’s one of the
reasons why producers are keen on producing sequels to well established brands.
They know that they already have a brand loyal customer base and no matter however
the movie would be, the audiences would have a sense of curiosity to go and watch
the film. For e.g. the producers of dhoom knew that they would get the desired
number of people for dhoom 2 and if they come up with a third sequel people would
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still go and watch it even if they didn’t like dhoom 2. Hence marketing of sequels is
much easier than creating a new brand altogether.
Stars may also be considered as brands, particularly if they are associated with only
one type of movie. People may be fans of an individual actor and will go to see the
movie because he or she stars in it. Therefore the marketing of a movie is all about
creating instant brand identity. A movie's brand is established by signalling to
consumers what it is like and where it has come from.
Films can only be marketed effectively prior to their release. Once they have been
shown in cinemas, the cat is out of the bag, and word-of-mouth takes over from the
marketing department in persuading audiences to go and see a particular movie. Films
have a limited distribution window, and therefore a limited shelf-life. They may play
in cinemas for as long as six months, sometimes only for a week. The marketing has
to happen at absolutely the right time to get audiences into cinemas. A marketing
campaign may build for as long as it takes to make a film, but it is over once the
movie has been released.
Earlier there were only two streams - parallel and the mainstream cinema. But now we
have all kinds of films that make it a difficult task to tag them. Even an odd regional
or foreign film has its audience in cities now. People today only look for the quality of
the film and so they would go to watch a film even in a regional language.
The challenge therefore lies in surviving the mad race for eyeballs. In the older days,
the public had only a few alternatives for entertainment and film producers could
always get away without spending much on marketing. But now, the new generation's
needs and interests should be treated carefully failing which the filmmakers would
suffer huge losses not only in terms of money but also in terms of lost audiences.
Thus today the mantra of marketing is… "If you don't project your film in the correct
perspective, the target audience won't notice it."
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Launching a new film into the market- place is like launching any other new product the public need to be made aware of its existence. It is the role of the distribution
company to promote the film as widely as possible in order to maximise its chances of
success at the box office. There is, of course, only one chance to do this - if the film is
not a hit when it opens there is no opportunity to re-release and try again at a later
date. People make their decision about whether to go and see a film at the cinema on
the strength of what they have seen, heard or read about it and the marketing
campaign must persuade as many people as possible that this will be a film they will
When a distribution company has negotiated the rights to market a particular film, the
marketing team meets to decide the key factors in the campaign:
Unique Selling Point (USP)
The Audience
The distributors want to advertise the film to as many people as possible, dependent
on its certificate. However, they also know that there will be a particular group, or
groups, to whom it will really appeal and therefore they will make this group the
target audience for the marketing campaign. They will also aim to schedule the release
date for the film so that it does not open at the same time as another film hoping to
attract the same audience.
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The Unique Selling Point (USP)
The Unique Selling Point - also known as the USP - will be the factor that makes this
particular film different from others in the same genre and will be evident in the
images that are seen on the poster and trailer. The marketing campaign must aim to
give the public information about the genre, story and stars of the film so they feel
confident that this will be the type of film they will enjoy coming to see. However,
whilst stressing the familiar elements of the film it must also highlight how the film is
The Budget
The success or failure of a film can depend heavily upon the amount of money spent
on marketing in the run-up to its release at the cinema. The budget for the marketing
campaign will be set according to how much the distributors think the film will make
at the box office. They have no real way of knowing this as each film is unique and
sometimes there are unexpected successes or failures, but calculations can be made
looking at other films of a similar type. Influential factors may include the cast and
crew of a film, when and where it will be released, audience research from early test
screenings of the film and how well the film has performed in the US, as it usually
opens there first.
The Campaign
A marketing campaign is divided into three areas:
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Advertising- It is to be paid for and consists of press, television and radio advertising
as well as posters and ‘new media’ such as the Internet. The advertising budget is an
‘above the line’ cost as the amount spent and what you get for it can be worked out
exactly. Additionally there is ‘in cinema’ activity, which only costs distributors the
price of production. This comprises supplying posters, trailers and other materials,
such as banners, standees (three-dimensional © Film Education 4 cardboard cut-outs)
and mobiles to Exhibitors. There is no charge for this, as it is obviously in the
cinema’s interest to promote films which they will be playing.
Publicity which is not paid for but is generated by the publicity department includes
reviews, articles and interviews in any media. This is a ‘below the line’ cost; the cost
of bringing a star over from the US can be calculated fairly accurately, however the
level of awareness raised about the film through this visit cannot be guaranteed.
Promotions - which are also a ‘below the line’ cost for many of the same reasons as
publicity, are often run in conjunction with other companies to coincide with the
film’s release. However, the success of some promotional activities, such as
competition leaflet giveaways, can be measured quite accurately.
Each of these three areas will work together to raise awareness of the film. As the
release date of the film approaches, and particularly as the film hits the cinemas you
will see more and more elements of the campaign emerge.
If the film is to be a particularly high profile release, with a large promotional budget
to spend, the main campaign may well be preceded by a teaser campaign. A teaser
campaign can contain many of the elements of the main campaign such as posters and
trailers but is designed to tease the prospective audience, to arouse their curiosity
about a film without giving too many details away. It may be set in motion as far in
advance as six months before the release date, whereas the main campaign will not
usually begin until there are approximately six weeks to go. Both campaigns need
careful handling as too much exposure runs the risk of losing the prospective
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audience’s interest. The teaser aims to get people talking about the film, the main
campaign aims to raise the profile and get them into the cinema to see it.
The Poster
The poster is the primary tool in the marketing campaign. It must be instantly eyecatching, because often it is seen only briefly, yet it must offer clues as to the genre
(type) of film it promotes, information as to narrative (story) and the stars, and sell the
film as being unique.
The Trailer
The trailer works effectively to market a film because the audience experiences it
actually in the cinema auditorium. In this way, we can get the full impact of the
moving images and sound, which is far more effective than any still picture could be,
and the connection in our minds has been made between the cinema environment and
the film. Trailers are not randomly shown before a film; they are carefully chosen to
appeal to the same type of audience as the main feature, so a trailer for say ‘Koi Mil
Gaya’, a children's film, would not be shown before a late night horror show aimed at
teenagers. Trailers also receive a certificate, and can only be shown with main
features of the same or higher certificate.
Press kits and EPKS
Press kits are sent to journalists all over the country to give them information about
forthcoming films. They are one of the basic tools of any publicity department. Press
kits include: A set of stills i.e. photographs which have been taken during the making of the film.
These may be images from the film itself, studio portraits of the stars, and
photographs of the production crew working with the actors and so on. These stills
have been authorised for printing in newspapers and magazines.
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Production notes form the bulk of any press kit. This gives the journalist a synopsis
of the film and provides interesting information such as elements of costume design,
location choices, issues raised by the film, choices in casting and how the stars feel
about their roles; all the sort of material which could be used to write an article for
their publication.
A list of cast and crew credits- Journalists writing about the film need correct
information and correct spellings.
Biographies and filmographies of the cast, director and producer: The front page of
a press kit will display the title of the film, written in the graphics which have been
chosen for all the publicity surrounding the release. It will also contain the title and
logo of the company which is distributing the film.
Electronic Press Kits, usually known as EPKS, are available to journalists working
in television. These take the form of a video tape; radio journalists will have similar
information on audio tape. The EPK may include:
A trailer for the film. There may be more than one version of this.
Short clips from the film showing dramatic or funny moments, authorised for
showing on television without further copyright clearance. For the
promotional period of the release, these are the clips you will see on film
review programmes and in more general programmes featuring film. There
will be a variety of clips, not only to show the different features of the film
but also so that the audience for a certain television programme can be shown
an appropriate clip for their age and interests.
Short extracts of the director, principal stars, screenwriter talking
about their role in the film, how they feel about it, what’s new about it etc.
These clips can be used by television presenters to make it look as if they are
actually interviewing the star, but of course without the massive cost that this
would involve.
The B-Roll. This is footage shot behind the scenes. It will often show
the director at work or it could be showing how animals were trained; anything
which may be of interest to anyone wanting to know about the film’s
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Distributors may link with promotional partners to generate additional publicity for
their films. Fast food retailers may be approached to run promotional packaging
featuring the film or electrical outlets to run trailers on televisions in shop windows.
Media partners may be asked to run preview screenings or to give away holiday
packages or other exclusive items related to the film. Prospective partners may be
shown a sizzle reel to give them an idea of what the film is about, as the film may not
be finished when the tie-ins between the two companies are being discussed.
Merchandising will be also produced to promote a film. This can be of two types:
a) Sweatshirts, baseball caps, pens, mugs, lunch boxes etc. which will be given to
journalists to provide a constant visual reminder of the film and will be used for
competition prizes in the press and so forth. This is all given away.
b) Licensed merchandise, whereby companies will buy the rights to make toys,
clothes and other goods featuring the film. These products are sold.
The Premiere of a film is its first major public showing, although it will have been
screened to the press previously so reviews can be written and the film publicised in
newspapers and magazines at the time of its release. The Premiere screening is often a
high profile event, perhaps for charity, with stars and directors in attendance and a
themed party after the film. It is an excellent opportunity to gain publicity for the film
as there will hopefully be television and press coverage of the night and as such, every
effort is made to make the Premiere a little different.
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Has the concept of ‘movie marketing’ really taken off in India? How effective is this
mode of marketing in promoting films?
It’s a split vote so far. While many are of the view that Indian film producers are now
cashing in on the hype around their movies to a great extent, others argue that the
concept has failed in many cases. For instance, the concept has worked very well for
the movie Om Shanti Om while it has failed to promote movies such as Sawaariya.
Recognising the growing significance of movie-marketing, Bollywood producers are
increasingly opting for this mode of marketing. A 360 degree marketing platform was
provided for Om Shanti Om. It worked very well for everybody who was associated
with the movie. This concept is gaining a strong momentum in India.
According to industry analysts, the concept of movie marketing is still at a very
nascent stage in India but Indian film producers are very eager to create hype and
hoopla around their movies through this mode of marketing. The concept of movie
marketing is helping producers a lot as they are able to recover the cost of the film
within the first two weeks of the release of the movie and all this is only because of
the hype created around the movie. Due to this reason the marketing budget of films is
also rising. Almost 30% of the budget is allocated for marketing. Innovations in
marketing are coming with every big banner release. But as mentioned above, the
concept is still at a nascent stage in India. Out of 500 Indian film producers, only 12
now opt for movie marketing because it becomes difficult for producers to raise such
huge funds for marketing.
Producers now have realised that marketing plays a vital role in deciding the fate of a
film and so they are now getting into marketing even if it’s a small budget film. With
more and more movies being produced, the shelf life of an individual film has
decreased and so it’s very important to make an impact on the minds of the people and
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this can only be done through marketing. Realising this, producers now are willing to
spend almost half the budget of their film on marketing.
Not just the producers but even the stars now realise how important it has become to
attract the crowds to watch their movies. They are willing to take part in media
interactions, cast engagements and road trips. Thus is explained the stripping of Aamir
Khan, the clinical documentation of flab to pectorals, and his generous billboard
appearances in the Ghajini haircut. The efforts really paid off and the movie went on
to becoming one of the biggest hits of recent times. Marketing has also become very
sophisticated. The earlier approach that bombarded audiences with noisy television
and print advertisements has now subsided. Producers are engaging into innovative
strategies of marketing now. Marketing should be done at the right level i.e. it should
raise only so much expectations as much as the movie can fulfil otherwise it was
prove quite fatal. One such example is ‘Drona’.
The film Hum Tum produced by Yash Raj Films is a classic example of a film that
had highly innovative marketing-publicity campaigns. Though film critics gave a less
than warm reception to Hum Tum, the film, specifically targeted at and marketed
among the youth, was an acknowledged box office hit.
The campaign Hum Tum unleashed could well find place as a textbook case on
marketing. Yash Raj Films tied up with organisations ranging from Times of India to
Lays Chips to promote the film. The USP of the film were the cartoon characters of
HUM TUM which were highly publicised and a lot of merchandising also was
undertaken for those characters.
Simultaneous to its production, strategising the film's marketing and publicity
campaigns had begun. Hum Tum invested 10 to 12 per cent of its total production
budget on marketing and publicity. The movie actually got free publicity worth 30 to
35 per cent of its budget because of the free-of-cost deals like Saif's appearance in
Sony's soap Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin and the numerous MTV appearances of its castmembers.
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Why Correct Marketing is important in Bollywood???
The super bumper opening that Kabir Khan’s New York had
generated in the metro cities and the multiplexes, underlines the importance of the
right way of marketing.
Vashu Bhagnani’s much hyped Kal Kissne Dekha had opened to a lukewarm response
despite being a far better promoted film in terms of money spent than Yash Raj. But
the major difference between the marketing of the two films was that, while the
marketing of New York gave the audience an insight into the film, the marketing
promotions of Kal Kissne Dekha left the public wondering what the film was all
One may argue that New York had established stars whereas Kal Kissne Dekha
introduced newcomers such as Jackky Bhagnani and Vaishali Desai but still, the
opening of Bhagnani’s film could have been far more better had the promotion been
well thought of, irrespective of the film’s merits. At the same time the release of
Paying Guests, a Subhash Ghai production hardly came with any promotion.
Trade sources felt that Subhash Ghai might have saved a couple of crores of rupees by
economizing on the publicity and marketing of Paying Guests but he might have lost
more than that because many in the public weren’t even aware that the film was
releasing or what the film was all about or who were the actors in it.
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Marketing as a tool is considered to be successful if it is able to highlight the
unconventional and make it the selling point and the USP and this is the basic edifice
on which marketing is governed. Let’s try to understand this by analysing and
undertaking the comparisons between the marketing done for SAAWARIYA and OM
SHANTI OM. OSO had emerged as a perfect success as a marketing tool.
This is clearly evident from the fact that Shahrukh Khan continued to promote OSO
on whatever occasions he could grace, as he had been doing through various cricket
matches around the countryside and different parts of the world where India had been
The song in which all the film stars till date could congregate had been brought
together and had been positioned as the USP of the film from the day on which the
promos of OSO were launched. The saviness of Shahrukh in marketing the product
aka OSO was evident from the smart comment that he made while giving an interview
to after the final one day match between India and Pakistan at Jaipur. With a
mischievous glint in his eyes Shahrukh told Rameej Raja that when people are bored
of watching a test match should come over to a cinema hall to watch OSO.
For SAAWARIYA the marketing effort of this variety was not made in the same
magnitude as it was done by OSO though it had been reported that more than Rs.50
crores had been earmarked for promotion of SAAWARIYA.
While Salman Khan was an integral part of the film he was never marketed in the
manner in which he should have been. After the first round of publicity when it
became evident that the film needed some further prop, this tool could have been
highlighted. Salman Khan after all has his captive audience and could prove beneficial
for the film.
Second aspect of the film that could have been highlighted is the fact that it was a love
story between a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl. The films made on these themes are
very few, and if a director had taken this courage to do it, this fact should have been
highlighted. This is owing to the fact that the past films of this variety, BOMBAY,
DIL SE and GADAR were a resounding success, and in the second line of marketing
effort this could have been thought of as the strategy to reposition the film.
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SAAWARIYA was a work of art, where something different had been attempted in
terms of the choice of colours and the contours and this needs to have been brought
out in a detailed motif. This could be the first film where blue colour has been chosen
as the motif in the background, and to make the audience accept the same this is also
an aspect that could have been used to position the film.
Marketing after all is the ability to make the product stand out in the crowd and have a
distinct entity in the clutter, and to do so unconventional is what has to be highlighted.
The mediums of multitude available as option need to be tapped, and occasions need
to be capitalized on to sell the product. After all it is marketing that goes on to decide
the destiny of the product.
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Film promotion is a practice undertaken by most film studios. Studios invest in
expensive marketing campaigns to maximize target audience attendance of the
released film early in the release cycle. Many promotional techniques, both traditional
and modern, serve this end:
Trailers in theatres:
Main stays are the trailers that are two-minute film promotions for movies.
Trailers screen in theatres before movie showings and pop up across the
Internet on websites.
Television and radio
Movie distributors spend huge amounts in a year to buy paid advertising (30second TV commercials, newspaper ads, etc.) and over half that total is placed
on broadcast and cable TV, which are the main vehicles for advertising movies
to audiences. TV is effective because it is an audio-visual medium – like film
– and can deliver a vast audience quickly, which is crucial because films
typically don’t linger in theatres more than 4-6 weeks.
Product placement: Paid active or passive insertion (as on-set posters,
and action figures) of film brand in drama or sitcom shows, or as passing mentions in
Extended placement: full episodes of television talk shows, entertainment
news programs, or network news programs, devoted to compensated exposure of the
film, stars, clips, director, etc.
Production and paid broadcast of behind-the-scenes documentary-style shows.
Advance trailers, longer previews, or behind-the-scenes footage on rental
videos and DVDs.
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Internet: Creating a special website for the film, "".
Viral marketing: Free distribution of trailers on movie-oriented websites and
video user-generated-content websites and rapid dissemination of links to this content
by email and blogs. Includes alleged leakage of supposed "rushes" and "early trailers"
of film scenes.
In print
Paid advertisements in newspapers, magazines and inserts in books.
Cross-promotion of original book or novelization, including special printings
or new cover jackets ("Now a major motion picture.")
Comic special editions or special episodes
Merchandising tie-ins:
Paid co-branding or co-advertising (BMW and James Bond films) of a product
with the film.
Promotional giveaways: branded drink cups, toys, or food combinations, at
fast food chains.
Promotional tour - Film actors, directors, and producers appear for television,
radio, and print media interviews, sometimes showing a clip from the film or an
outtake. Interviews are conducted in person or remotely. During film production,
these can take place on set. After film release, key personnel make appearances in
major market cities, or participate remotely via "satellite" or telephone.
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In the movie theatre
Slide shows - stills, trivia, and trivia games from the film, shown between
movie show times.
Trailers and behind-the-scenes shorts, shown prior to the main attraction
In lobbies and video rental outlets
Stand-ups (freestanding paperboard life-size images of figures from the film)
Cardboard 3D displays, sometimes producing sound
Film posters.
Taking a lead from in-film advertising, multi-national companies are now eyeing
associative marketing partnerships in Bollywood.
If Nike had become a part of the Men in Blue's uniform for the Cricket World Cup
2007, Reebok is busy romancing Bollywood. And this is not just a brief flirtatious
engagement, as the sports brand readies for long innings.
It's definitely not in-film advertising where a brand makes an appearance akin to an
advert in a movie that the MNC is interested in, but a partnership with production
houses for associative marketing.
In the movie Hattrick, Reebok had a small placement in the movie and was seen in a
60 second commercial at the end of the movie. The brand was also seen in a small tieup with Salaam India, Lets Bring the Cup Home and Goal, a football movie.
In Goal, customers got to see Reebok's new range of sports shoes sported by the star
cast that was to be launched in August along with the movie. Reebok also partly
financed the movie and participated in co-promotions, retail promotions and other
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Reebok has increased its budget tenfold for alternative mediums, which largely
include Bollywood. Over the last two years, the trend is shifting from in-film
advertising to associative marketing and tie-ups with bigger budgets. Also, more
brands, whether it is the FMCGS’, new sectors like apparels (for instance, Pantaloons
was associated with Don), all are looking at tapping into Bollywood to reach their
For regional movies, brands have budgets of Rs 25-30 lakh (Rs 2.5-3 million) and for
a bollywood movie or popular stars brands spend anywhere up to Rs 3 crore (Rs 30
Advertising agencies like Madison, JWT, Leo and Group M have specialist divisions
focusing on entertainment business. Broad mind, Group M's specialist unit for its
entertainment business, has signed on 100 customers in four years since inception.
Some of its work includes ICICI in-film placement in Baghban, Lenevo in Kabhi
Alvida Na Kehna and Reebok in Goal.
Bollywood has now become an integral part of the advertising budgets of corporates.
Over the last two years corporates are setting aside significant budgets for Bollywood.
A huge change from the ad hoc spending where Bollywood was a part of the 5-10 per
cent of the advertising budget allocated for innovations.
Till last year, brands association was limited to just 60-70 movies of the over 300
Bollywood movies releasing every year. This has now changed. In-film advertising
and associative marketing is growing at over 70 per cent and the number of movies
having brand tie-ups will also double.
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Bollywood has started increasing it’s spending on digital marketing. Typically, total
marketing budgets of a Bollywood movie comprise 30 per cent of which 15 per cent is
spent on digital marketing. This is still small when compared with Hollywood flicks
which invest up to 30 per cent of its budget on digital promotions.
For promoting films like Kambakkht Ishq and Love Aaj Kal on the web, almost 20
per cent of their marketing budgets were spent on digital promotion. Love Aaj Kal
invested nearly Rs 3 crore in online promotions. Tie-ups were made with Yahoo and
YouTube to market the two films. An extensive online activity was carried on to
promote the movie on websites like Bollywood Hungama, Orkut, and Facebook
which interact directly with the younger audiences. In an attempt to lure the 50-60
million Indian internet subscribers, programmes were designed to engage the
audiences through games based on films.
Eros and Hungama Digital Media had also come up with a game on the movie Love
Aaj Kal. It was an arcade game with Bollywood twists, tailor-made to give the player
information about the movie and its concept. Users could access the game online and
on mobile platforms and a mobile racing game on Kambakkht Ishq. Eros also offered
its customers free digital content based on the movie and had also tied up with online
ticketing partners like Around 81 per cent of the online Indian
population, according to a report by Hungama Digital Media, engages in some kind of
social interactivity on the web making it an ideal place for the film marketers to draw
young crowds.
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Internet viral marketing is less about how much is spent and more about how
effectively it is spent. Eros, which was one of the early players to strike an alliance
with Google’s YouTube, has its own partner channel on the video sharing site that
gets over 100 million views. Eros also markets its videos on websites like MSN,
Rediff, AOL, Yahoo to drive the audiences to its content.
After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, the Indian film industry gained an
international outlook. So, it is no surprise that the spending is increasing on digital
marketing by bollywood.
The recently-released Kambakkht Ishq, which was said to have cost the producers
about Rs 70 crore, pumped in nearly Rs 7 crore in digital marketing. With around 50
million Indians accessing the internet, movie marketing budgets are bound to include
the online platform.
Rise of the movie portals
For the last decade or so the bollywood space has been covered by the likes of
Indiafm now renamed and rebranded (owned by the
hungama group) and But offlate there have been a bunch of
bollywood centric portals that have sprung up. That also from big corporate houses
like the Reliance group and Percept. These are and which
we covered here and here. Not to forget Network18 as well which has buzz18
covering the bollywood razzmatazz.
This trend indicates that more of more movie goers (especially the multiplex kinds) is
flocking to the online space for reading reviews and views and dicusssions before
going and watching a movie.
Rise of Microsites/Movie Sites
Of recently has started the trend of hosting movie websites and promoting it
via their portal. They did so for Singhiskingg and also for a few others. There has also
been considerable free PR and publicity via official movie websites and a case in
point is Dev D a small budget multiplex audience targetted movie which caused a stir
with its adult website and lust line feature.
Rise of the Social Media & Gaming Phenomenon
Practically every decent movie last year has had an official facebook and orkut group
and marketing and engagement through social media be it blogs and communities.
This has been a big trend in the US and our last post on dark knight has discussed this
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with a video. But the trend is catching up in India as well with movie makers hiring
professional agencies to handle their social media and buzz marketing for their films.
Facebook Fan Pages of Recent Movies
We are family
Peepli Live
Hoardings and Trailers are things of the past
Movie production houses are now looking at novel marketing techniques to get
audiences to the theatres. And with several movies lined up for release, we'll see more
From big-ticket contests to online promotions, there are a slew of initiatives on the
table. Some movies are taking the reality show route, with Salman Ghouse, the winner
of a dance reality show, performing with Salman Khan for a song in Wanted Dead &
Alive. Love Aaj Kal had tie-ups with the T20 World Cup.
To promote New York, Katrina Kaif is expected to write an online diary chronicling
UTV Motion Pictures has devised horror-based marketing initiatives for their movie
Agyaat. The Agyaat Short Film Contest has been announced, for which participants
can submit a 10- to 15-minute-long scary clipping. The winner will work with the
production house on a movie. Widget-like software will also be launched soon, with a
Make Your Own Trailer contest. Ram Gopal Varma will select the best trailer, which
"The usual promotions — basic campaigning, a few trailers and a couple of media
interactions — is out. Now, we plan it strategically and keep the target audience in
mind. We study the core of the film and understand the depth of the story before
constructing a marketing plan. The process is variable: the budget, technicalities,
impact — everything is flexible," explains Shikha Kapur, vice-president, marketing,
Percept Picture Company used the IPL to promote Jannat last year. They also had 20
consumer screenings for Khuda Kay Liye, which gave the film a good boost. "The
movie ran for 51 days because of the buzz around the film much before its release,"
Big Pictures is also having special screenings for its upcoming film, Sikandar.
"Movie-goers just don't go to the multiplexes and decide which film to watch
anymore. We have to create a space in the minds of the audience through various
activities and pre-release buzz. Even gossip related to movies has become part of
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marketing strategies. Movies like Wake Up Sid and Kites are already making news,"
says Saurabh Varma, chief marketing officer, BIG Pictures, adding, "Earlier, trailers
would give away the best part of movies, but today, we try building curiosity in
Producers are also increasing marketing budgets. Says Navin, "Marketing cuts the
losses of a bad movie and increases the profit of a good one. Earlier, less than 10 per
cent of the total budget was kept aside for promos. Today, it's shot up to 20-25 per
But Saurabh believes the budget depends on strategy. "For instance, 13B was a smallbudget film. But we thought it had good potential, so we went beyond what was
decided," says Saurabh.
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“Movies have become extremely perishable,” and so it becomes very important for
the marketers to attract the audiences in the 1st few days of the films release.
Marketers today are focussing on having fewer but very important strategies to
promote the films. Let us look into some of these examples.
Stars today are willing to take part in media interactions, cast engagements and road
trips. Thus is explained the stripping of Aamir Khan, the clinical documentation of
flab to pectorals, and his generous billboard appearances in the bizarre Ghajini
haircut. It certainly paid off, says Nitin Sood, Chief Financial Officer, PVR, with due
respect to the contents of the movie. The movie was the biggest hit in recent months.
DevD, UTV’s modern-day version of Devdas, launched a line of tattoos in Mumbai’s
Al’s tattoo parlour, and a ‘Lust line’ had been opened for callers who could talk to key
actors in the urban interpretation of Devdas. The initiatives were targeted at its key
audience, the urban youth.
The plans were different for the highly awaited Delhi 6, directed by Rakeysh
Omprakash Mehra, which had a more pan-Indian appeal, said UTV. A caravan took
stars to 10-15 cities across the country, including Indore, Surat and Nagpur. A mela,
recreating the gullies of Old Delhi, was planned for Bangalore and Kolkata.
For the release of Luck by Chance, Big Pictures arranged programming alliances, now
a norm. Stars made appearances on Oye! It’s Friday, the talk show on NDTV Imagine
(hosted by lead actor Farhan Aktar himself) and at the grand finale of the singing
contest show SaReGaMaPa .
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For its movie Fashion, UTV tied up with RPG Cellular, Kimaya and Sunsilk. Both
Kimaya and Sunsilk launched a range after the film. Lead actors Priyanka Chopra and
Kangana Ranaut walked the ramp for Sunsilk at Lakme Fashion Week, helping buzz
reach peak at the time of launch. A Vogue photo shoot was roped into the storyline;
Priyanka Chopra had already featured on the magazine’s cover by the time the film
released. As brand endorsers stars can extend the association. Samsung launched
special Ghajini-model handsets and Tata Sky ran a continuous feature on how Aamir
Khan (its brand ambassador) worked to get the Ghajini look and hosted an interactive
Producers are counting on paid previews/premiers. It’s a new phenomenon; Chandni
Chowk to China had them, and Luck By Chance ran a “paid preview” before its
release. The Hollywood studios’ foray into Hindi movies has demonstrated how the
big studios do the marketing. But the hype only did that much for the movies
Saawariya (Sony) and Chandni Chowk to China (Warner). Eventually it’s all about
the content.
Ram Gopal Varma’s horror film about black magic, Phoonk, offered a cash prize of
Rs5 lakh to anyone who dared to watch the movie alone in a theatre. UTV
Entertainment Network offered viewers a chance to get married on a grandiose set
of the film Jodhaa Akbar, if they won a contest that was run during the television
premiere of the movie. Jannat, a film about cricket match fixing, was promoted
aggressively by actor Emraan Hashmi at the Indian Premier League matches.
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Around the release of the film ‘Rock On!!’ a 7,000- strong crowd gathered in the
backlot of Select Citywalk Mall in New Delhi for a concert featuring Magik, the
fictitious band from the Bollywood film Rock On!!
The event, different from the traditional celebrity-laden Bollywood promos, was a hit
with the audiences that had gathered there to see actors Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal,
Purab Kohli and Luke Kenny perform live, backed by musicians Shankar, Ehsaan and
Loy. The idea was to engage and “interact with audiences through a different
platform”, said Ritesh Sidhwani, co-founder of Excel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, which
co-produced Rock On!! “A star cast is not enough to market a film any
have to think out of the box.”
Engaging viewers: Luke Kenny (left) and Arjun Rampal, part of the fictitious band
Magik from the film Rock On!!, at a concert organized by Excel Entertainment, that
produced the film, in the Capital on 6 September.
A growing number of film-makers are looking at investing in innovative film
marketing to cut across the clutter and grab consumer attention in an increasingly
competitive movie business.
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No surprise then that the production house also commissioned a Rs25 lakh music
video for the track Pichle Saat Dino Mein... as a part of their Rs4.5 crore marketing
and promotion budget for the film.
Experts maintain that innovative film marketing is linked to Bollywood becoming
more organized. Big-budget films such as Jodhaa Akbar, which could open with
1,200-1,500 prints in the market, adopted a strategy of trying to reap maximum box
office collections during the first weekend, which determines the fate of a movie.
Smaller-budget films, however, have to stand out to score in an extremely cluttered
market that has three, or four releases every week. Both scenarios call for smart
strategy, say experts.
Film-makers need to have a differentiator. There is no such thing as a clean window
for release any more…so you have to create excitement around the film and a sense of
urgency, which will drive audiences to theatres.”
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There is a lot of buzz going around that the Indian movie making process especially
the Hindi film making process has started adopting corporatization in a big way. The
talk rests on the premise that the financing for making of the films has started getting
institutional finance, big business houses have stepped into the business of
filmmaking and they are also distributing the films. Then corporatization is also being
talked about for the fact that now the big companies are doing bookings in bulk for
their employees to view a film, which is a part of the corporate responsibility. This
happened in a big way with Rajnikant's latest movie SHIVAJI-THE BOSS where all
the corporate majors of the software sector booked bulk tickets, and it was termed as a
corporate interest in the film dynamics.
Corporatization has also become buzz word in association with the fact that corporate
are participating in the processes of film making by either sponsoring the songs or the
vehicles being used in the movies as it happened in the case of TA RA RUM PUM,
where Castrol and Chevrolet Aveo and Good Year chipped in a big manner. The
signing of a number of films with the top stars is also being brandied as one more step
towards corporatization. But does this mean that a streak of corporate approach has
been injected in the process of film making in the country.
When the surface is scratched then beneath the veneer the reality is different. The first
fundamental premise of corporatization is the finalized script of the film. Rarely does
it happen that when the film has gone to the floor the actors are having a complete
script of the film with themselves. Shootings go on, and then at the editing table the
story is given the conclusion. When one has the complete script then shooting
schedules is organized in a better manner, there is a minimum wastage of the raw
stock and the film can be completed in the ordained time frame, thereby saving in a
big manner on the input costs.
Another fundamental principle of corporatization is the process of accounting that is
adopted in the filmmaking. The payment system has to be through the cheques and the
expenses incurred in totality should be audited after the completion of the films. May
be the new companies which have stepped into the process of film making like
Shringar Films, Adlabs, etc., have adopted it, but they still form the miniscule
minority, and in majority of the cases the financial transactions that are done are either
in cash, or in kind in form of various usable commodities.
In the process of corporatization another key edifice is the system of deferred payment
while here signing amount is the norm. Even the corporate majors, who are stepping
into this arena gradually, have not been able to introduce the system of deferred
payment on a gradual basis. A form of deferred payments though has come into play
in a big way, it being obtaining the territory rights. Once the system of deferred
payments is introduced the headache of getting the signing amount back from the stars
who may have been signed in the initial euphoria but refuse to return it, either after
being dropped at the time of film going on the floor, or being dropped from the
project could become a thing of the past.
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A beginning is being made, though and the real corporatization would come only
when scripts are given at the time of signing, payments are through cheques and in the
form of deferred payments and auditing and publication of accounts film wise starts
getting done on a regular basis.
This had to happen. A chunk of industry which was talking about the 'evil' of
corporate world (especially the ones that were believed to be having no business to be
making movies) resulting in rotting of Bollywood has now come out in open. Of
course there were collective failure of much hyped films like Drona, Love Story 2050,
Yuvvraaj and 'Karzzzz' (all of which were either produced, backed or acquired by
corporate houses) that had set the ground for a debate around whether corporate world
is burst or just about to burst.
Saawariya, which had released in 2007, had started it all while raising the question
around foreign studios entering Bollywood with big money. And now, within 14
months of the release of Saawariya, Chandni Chowk to China, which saw Warner
Bros. aiming for a solid foundation, has made quite a few industry followers go on
record with their views about corporatization of Bollywood world. In this two-part
Exclusive Feature in Bollywood Hungama, Joginder Tuteja kick-starts the debate and
seeks point of view of independent film makers as well as those who belong to the
corporate world or are making films with them.
"The bubble still exists though the myth of big money is over. It's the time of high
concept - low cost films", says Anurag Kashyap whose Dev D is produced by UTV
Spot Boy and is eyeing a 6th February release. Ramesh Taurani of TIPS too maintains
the same stand by saying "I don't think the corporate bubble has burst. However, I
must say that reality has (thankfully) crept back into the industry. In the year gone by,
we have seen losses being made not only by flop films but also several super hit
He does make a point here because there have been murmurs that even a biggie like
Singh Is Kinng didn't make profits for a distributor or two. Though the quantum of the
money being lost on the project is not something that has been discussed so far (since
the film did make good money for majority of it's investors), no distributor going on
record about the losses only makes the claim further redundant.
Says Vipul Shah, the producer of the Anees Bazmee- directed Singh Is Kinng, "With
movies like Singh Is Kinng, Ghajini and Golmaal Returns, distribution house Indian
Films has become extremely strong distributor. So I would disagree if someone starts
speculating that a bubble was being created with the entry of corporate world and is
now getting burst."
Interestingly, his next release London Dreams was said to have been acquired by
Indian Films for an astronomical 120 crores. Though trade believes that this figure has
been pulled down now, an official statement on this is yet to be made. However,
Indian Films is not the only corporate house that Vipul is working with as he has also
signed a two film deal with 20th Century Fox which is looking at entering the
Bollywood market. Buzz is that at least one of them would feature Akshay Kumar
(with whom Vipul has earlier made Aankhen, Waqt, Namaste London and Singh Is
Kinng) and would be set on a mega budget due to the ton loads of special effects that
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it promises to carry.
Mukesh Bhatt, whose Raaz - The Mystery Continues, is releasing this weekend is
expectedly vocal in his displeasure with the corporate world, "The bubble has
certainly burst. There was so much of artificial hype that was created; things were
being inflated. This had to happen at some point or time or another. People should get
into reality check and it is introspection time for the whole industry. Everyone has to
come together and the basics of economics have to be developed."
Vivek Agnihotri isn't far behind when it comes to being frank about his view around
the changing scenario of Bollywood in today's world. He doesn't blame it all on the
so-called 'corporate bubble' but insists that money instead of ideas was turning out to
be focal point of movie making. "I don't know if the corporate bubble has burst but
yes, a bubble has certainly burst". Not mincing any words, he goes on to add, "It was a
cancerous bubble which emerged due to fictitious hype and lack of assessment of
potential. A game of highly projected figures to lure investors gave impetus to
organized scheming and manipulation."
Someone like Sajid Khan, who has worked with independent producer Sajid
Nadiadwala for both Heyy Babyy and soon to get on floors Housefull, has his own
point of view about the entry of corporate houses in Bollywood. He says, "Most
corporates believe in producing a large number of films and releasing them on their
own. Due to this, the loss or profit is greater. Off late, it is unfortunate because it is
turning out to be 'loss' and more 'loss' because of the market crash."
Satellite revenue, something that was being looked as a goldmine, has considerably
gone down as well (as per industry followers, it is as low as 30% of what was being in
the offering till about 6-9 months) that has proven to be the final nail in the coffin.
"That's exactly the case", asserts Sajid, "Besides audio market, which is anyways in
the doldrums, the satellite market has crashed too. Since satellite is completely
dependent on advertisers (which are mostly MNCs) and these companies are anyways
facing the market heat due to recession, how could you expect them to shell out
money? Their budget cuts are eventually affecting everyone, which down the line
impacts the corporate world behind movies."
UTV (Ronnie Screwvala), Sahara One, Adlabs, Pritish Nandy Communications and
Ram Gopal Varma's Film Factory are such corporatized producers. Corporatization is
still in infancy and only an estimated 15% of Bollywood movies are "corporatized."
But these production houses have brought about much needed professionalism. Movie
scripts are pre-researched by market research groups who sample audiences upfront.
Gone are the days when actors and actresses could walk into sets hours late or when
producers were assasinated for not paying extortion money to Bombay gangsters. Big
production houses today apprently have roadmaps for upto two years in advance.
Satellite rights, radio, home videos, DTH, mobile services have also opened up new
revenue streams when only one (theatre box office) existed earlier.
Most of the corporates are counting on the 1,000-odd new multiplexes that will spring
up in the country in the next two years. Consequently, they're hoping it will put an end
to the industry's lackadaisical and haphazard way of functioning.
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YRF has scaled up its operations recently and the studio model that was embarked
upon a couple of years ago is firmly in place. YRF takes prides in being part of every
step of the value chain of a film from its conception to its delivery,” says Sanjeev
Kohli, director and CEO, Yash Raj Films.
The seeds of corporatisation that were sown a couple of years ago are finally bearing
fruit and most of the top players (read Reliance Entertainment, UTV, Eros
International and TIFC) now want to be on all sides of the spectrum: Production,
distribution and exhibition. Having said that, there are no set rules of corporatisation
in the film industry and most of the players admit that “Bollywood is not all there
Some corporates, including the Singhanias and the Birlas have learnt it the hard way.
For instance, according to analysts after producing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black,
Aditya Birla Group’s Applause Entertainment lost its way somewhat and is now
reorganising its strategy to move forward.
But still, there’s ample reason for big corporates to knock on Bollywood’s doors and
walk in.
Consider this: The Indian film industry, with over 3 billion admissions per annum, is
the largest in the world. The industry, which is currently worth $2.9 billion as per
estimates, is slated to grow at a CAGR of 16%.
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By now we have understood the relative importance of marketing a film in a proper
way. But all this is only done to achieve good box office collections. As is stated
earlier the fate of the movie depends on the initial weekend collections of the movie
so let us look at some of the box office collection report.
- 56 -
We spoke here about the way Indian movies marketing mantra is changing and how
movie making has become more of a business. It is indeed becoming more and more
professional way of money making. From being an art now it has become a business.
One film which is a striking example of the same, about which I cannot stop raving is
3 idiots. Mainly due to the man at helm, Aamir Khan this movie can be taken as an
example in business of film making.Four months prior to launch of the film a 40
member team was put up for marketing of the film.The film was shown to all Reliance
Mediaworks employees and all other stakeholders, weeks before the release on
December 24, to ensure that everybody spoke the same language and kept the
communication consistent. It was followed by a full 360-degree campaign.
Two weeks before the release, a huge splash was made online. A site called was started to engage the viewer. Aamir Khan, the star of the film,
travelled to various parts of the country in disguise to create buzz about the movie.
We have seen 3 idiots modelled seats in major multiplexes around the country as a
marketing move.
Character of Chatur Ramalingam, a major factor to the film’s success mainly because
of the humour associated with the character was fully kept under wraps. “All is Well”
campaign by Reliance was symbiotic gains to both Relaince insurance and the
movie.This ad took TV and Radio by storm in a never before fashion.
Digital media was used strongly. One of the first things the company did was to
launch an alternate reality game on where actor Aamir Khan said
that he will travel through India, leaving clues about his whereabouts, and participants
had two weeks to find him.
The site had over 600,000 unique visitors in a matter of two weeks. Along with that,
the marketers of the film used Facebook extensively to make a point.
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Piracy problems were also effectively handled. A core group working from India, the
United States and the United Kingdom tracked and attacked piracy — physical as well
as online — by issuing trade notices, warning letters specific to prospective infringing
sites and outlets across the United States, Canada and Europe. Raids were also
conducted following the release of the movie.
And to add to all this, the good old methods of strong distribution were done. In India,
the film was released across 1,850 screens; overseas it opened in over 360 screens,
making it the largest opening thus far.
Though I may not be proud of the product 3 idiots is, I am definitely proud of the
business model it is. It surely serves as a case study in the business of movie making.
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Aamir khan as most of us as Bollywood Fans know is not only a brilliant actor but
also an intelligent marketer. In times when the success of a film hugely depends on
the business it does in the first two weeks the marketing genius leaves no stone
unturned to spread the word for his films and create a sense of rush among his fans to
watch the film as soon as possible. As expected he did the same for his latest movie
Ghajini. He promoted the film extensively all over the country. What’s noteworthy is
the fact that a major chunk of the promotion involved online promotion. Films were
never really involved in online promotion but post Ghajini its become a huge success
and majority of the producers are using this tactic to attract the crowd. The idea was
given by Hungama channel.
Let us list down the various tactics that went into the marketing of Ghajini and how
they were executed
1) The Look (Online & Offline):
When one thinks of Ghajini, the first thing that springs up in ones mind is the
haircut which aamir khan sported in the movie and also his tattoos. The haircut led
to creation of a new trend in the fashion industry. A lot of efforts were made to
create this unique look for aamir khan. And the efforts did pay off well. The
haircut sure did wonders for the film.
Online Tactics:
a) Aamir khan’s blog carried a full screen sized picture as on the film posters.
b) Two of the three websites related to the film also had a big bare chested picture
of his on their homepage.
Offline Tactics:
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1) Aamir khan had the same Ghajini haircut for quite some time even after the film
was released and declared a hit.
2) Aamir and his producers tied up with leading multiplexes (PVR, BIG, Cinemax)
across the country to give all the ushers, ticket-sellers the distinctive “Buzz-cut” that
Aamir sports in the film.
3) Aamir personally gave the ‘buzz cut’ — the hairstyle the actor sports in Ghajini to
his fans in Delhi
2) Getting fans Involved (Online):
Aamir & co got another important bit right i.e. “Interactive promotion”. Rather than
doing one way communication/broadcast through the film site or simply sharing
content they involved his fans in the film’s promotion.
Wallofsuspects: A supporting viral website for the film, whose aim was to replicate a
similar concept from the film. To checkout the wallofsuspects one needed to have a
code which could be obtained by uploading ones images. Users could also provide
their mobile numbers which were used to intimate if they win some prize.
Findghajini: Another viral website built around the film, was a viral gaming
application where the users could play the role of Aamir’s character in the film and try
to find Ghajini through the clues provided.
3D PC Games: on the 25th of Dec the film was released and also India’s first 3D PC
Game built around a movie. For the first time there was a complete game built around
a movie.
3) Getting Media Involved (Online):
Once his fans got involved, the next target was the media. Aamir & co tried to engage
media persons and add a level of personal touch to the whole affair. is the place where media people could upload
their pictures to which Aamir added notes based on their previous interaction(s) with
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him. This repository helped him in remembering those media people more vividly and
those who registered got information kit on Ghajini along with Aamir’s personal note
about them. Ghajini’s marketing team shared movie stills with their site so that they
could be used for promotion.
4) Maintain Suspense and Throw Hooks (Online):
Unlike other film sites the sites for Ghajini did not focus much on the synopsis of the
film or the main plot (Which was out in open) they instead focused on certain events
of the film (finding the killers etc) and were leveraging them. In addition to this there
were some hooks which were meant to form certain associations and build mind
maps. Extending the theme from film after every 15 minutes the user got redirected
(forget everything) to the home page no matter what page they were at. Remembering
the date (Remember Dec 25) on which the film was to be released was another one,
quite prominent and common through the sites.
5) Associations/Collaborations:
They had a tie up with Tata sky and aamir khan featured in Tata sky ads along with
Gul Panag. Though Gul Panag was nowhere related to the film, the advertisement still
helped in promoting the film because aamir khan starred in it. Tata Sky also has a
contest specifically for the film and had chosen Asin as their new brand ambassador.
Not only this, there a splurge of videos about making of Aamir’s body for the film.
First the footage taken was of the course of his body building was shown on Tata Sky
and later it was all over the news channels, which gave people more and more reasons
to talk about the film.
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Van Heusen launched a similarly-named collection for the super confident young
men who were inspired by the movie. Van Heusen to promote the new range also
organized a fashion show in which models sported not only Khan’s clothing style
from the film, but also his hairstyle.
Then there was “Tata Indicom’s outbound dialler service with Khan’s pre-recorded
voice. In this a Tata Indicom service user got a call in Khan’s voice, asking the caller
whether he was Ghajini and told the caller that the film was releasing on 25
December. Tata Indicom reached out to 10 million customers with those outbound
dialler calls. Tata Indicom also advertised on TV for mobile downloads of Ghajini
Samsung launched special Ghajini edition of models L700 and M200 of its mobile
phones of L700 and M200 models. These handsets were pre-loaded with ringtones,
pictures and songs from Ghajini. Ghajini was the first Indian film to release a handset
as part of the film’s content. Aamir also tied-up with some leading sculptors who
created replicas of Khan’s Ghajini look. These sculptures were installed at various
multiplexes in the country. The first phase of Ghajini’s marketing life cycle was quite
active and promising. Ghajini was Made with a budget of around 50 Crore and
marketing expenses of about 14 Crores.
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Before you go any further, pick up your phone and dial 022-61424800. Just dial it for
yourself and see what it is, trust me, it will be worth the call charges (if you are
dialling from India)
Welcome. To proceed, please certify that you are above 18 by pressing one. On
pressing one, you are greeted by a husky voice that says "If you want me in English
today, press one. Agar hindi mein chahiye toh do dabaiye." Though what happened on
pressing the next digit might have been disappointing for most callers as instead of
talking (or hearing) anything naughty, all they got to hear was "to get an autographed
cd of the film visit the website or "to get a movie poster visit the
This kind of marketing is a brilliant example of something that had never been tried
before. If the lustline ever worked the way it was said to work it would have been
great but even if it never really worked that way it opened up a whole new world of
interactive marketing. The possibilities of using phone and sms lines for involving
masses was immense and hopefully, we would soon be seeing more being done on
these lines.
The user had to certify that he was above 18 to view the site, interesting. The lustline
was also available on film's website, where again the user needed to certify that he
was above 18 by and select a language to get going. Though only a few sections were
working, the all red site looked intriguing just like its trailers. The community links
section had links to 10 external web properties but the site could have been a lot better
and engaging (engagement was almost zero).
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The song, “Emosional Atyachar” was uploaded on YouTube under the official UTV
Motion Pictures channel three weeks prior to the release of the film and had got about
25,000 views while the official trailer uploaded two months prior had been seen more
than 59,000 times and had got about 117 comments, not bad at all. Not only this, UTV
folks had been regularly uploading a minute long video of the film songs every 7-10
days. Since the movie contained 18 songs, they could easily upload 10 songs without
worrying too much. These videos had got almost 1, 00,000 hits in total.
The films music was also available via streaming at Bollywood Hungama. Anyone
who listened to the songs of the film definitely spoke about it and thus spread the
word. After having listened to the songs people started buying audio CD’S of the film
and the songs have been listened more than 25,000 times already.
The MTV ticker was full of "Atyachar". What happens if you are pretending to be
working in office when you are actually playing games? Professional Atyachar etc. It
was another nice way to spread the word. There were film promos playing every 5
minutes across the news channels, even if anyone wanted they couldn’t miss them.
An active official group was formed which consisted of 920 members (2,020
members as of now), 7 videos, 86 stills from the film. The good thing about the group
was that it was regularly updated and the administrators were also participating in it.
There’s also an active fan page which is also heavy on content. The film has 686 fans
already (now 12,161 fans). There was also an event about Dev D's tattoo launch. This
was an interesting way of involving online audience into offline activities. Translate
the lyrics contest: There was also a contest to translate Emosional Atyachar into
English & get an autographed CD.
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Other social networks (Fishing where the fish are):
The film had official groups/communities on Orkut (316 members), Perfspot (135
members), hi5 (42 members), Fropper (26 members), Bigadda (45 members) and
Goyaar (10 members). It's worth mentioning that despite the size of the
group/community the information and content was same across all these groups and
apparently there were profiles of some of the cast and team members also on most of
the platforms covered.
Passionforcinema is the biggest platform for Hindi film buffs and lots of experts in the
field blog there. Anurag Basu being an active blogger at PFC had written a lot of the
film and engaged with his readers. There were lots of other posts written by other
folks about the film. These posts must have easily got more than 10,000 views. There
was also a deleted scene video from the film exclusively for PFC which was certainly
a great idea.
Nothing works better for making noise than a planned or accidental controversy. Dev
D also had its share of controversy in the claims the film had reignited the infamous
DPS mms scandal.
The marketing strategy for the film included both offline and online activities, while
Ghajini's online marketing was more focused on stand alone sites, it was focused more
on social networks in the case of Dev D and apparently it had got to do with the fact
that the producer of the film was UTV Spot boy. Apparently, they had a platform and
a methodology which was used to promote their films.
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There has to be something really flawed about a film which is based on Ramayana,
has Mani Ratnam at the helm of affairs, stars the Bachchan couple, boasts of music by
A.R. Rahman and has the who’s who from the technical department. Still, Raavan
hasn't worked with the audience. We analyse why!
Boring narrative?
Everyone understands that Ramayana was about the triumph of good over evil. As an
audience you are prepared to see what is going to unfold. But pray, why make it all so
boring? This is where Raavan falters because a one-dimensional storyline just doesn't
translate into a two hour film, which could hold your attention. All one gets to see is
every actor in the film getting wet in the jungle and slipping or running through the
rough terrain.
Abhishek's character - The weak link?
As for the lead actors, Abhishek Bachchan has definitely tried hard. In fact one can
clearly sense that he has followed Mani's directions to the T and done whatever was
asked of him. However, if the attempt was to bring the split personality side of his
persona out, than sadly, it fails totally. It's the character which fails here, not Abhishek
as an actor.
Aishwarya's character - Contradictory?
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Aishwarya Bachchan's character is full of contradictions. Does she wish to end her
life? Or does she not? Is the Stockholm's syndrome catching up with her? Is she
falling for Raavan? Does she really get to her husband in the end? Well, you don't
quite get it.
Confusing plot?
One never knows whether the outlaw (Abhishek Bachchan) is a Naxal, militant, rebel
or something else? Yes, he the messiah of tribals but as it turns out, the entire drama
revolves more around the personal enmity that he has with the cop (Vikram). But
what about the bigger picture? Whatever happened to the entire Naxal angle? And if
personal cause was supposed to be the driver of this entire episode, why have a Naxal
angle at all? After all, the outlaw could well have been a corporate executive and that
wouldn't have made any difference to the film at all.
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As is happening in any other industry currently, Bollywood companies too are striving
to curtail their cash outflow and increase cash inflow.
The budgets allocated to movies earlier have already been renegotiated, and now
another prime area to come under the axe is the marketing and promoting expenditure
of movies.
Some recently released movies already shrunk their promotional budgets and vast
campaigns. Most other forthcoming movies of 2009 have readjusted their marketing
and promotional budget to bring spends down by approximately 30 percent, point out
marketing heads of various filmed entertainment companies.
But the key here isn’t to reduce spends and get going, the problem is only half solved
yet. If a movie’s promotion and hype is low, then it also becomes a point of worry, as
it may not be effective in getting audiences in large numbers in cinemas and therefore
hamper cash inflow.
Yes, there are budgets cuts in marketing forthcoming movies, but one has to
compensate it with better ideas,” says Dharma Production marketing head Arun Nair.
In such a scenario, the way out is to couple your judicious spends with innovative
marketing strategies. Every movie’s marketing strategy should comprise of two –
three absolutely innovative ideas which catch people’s attention.
Intelligent TV and PR oriented campaigns can do a lot of good to a movie’s
promotion. For instance, ushers at multiplexes posing Aamir Khan’s Ghajini hairstyle
was low on cost, high on promotion.
“Approximately 70 percent of a movie’s revenue such as theatrical, home video and
satellite are impacted by its marketing buzz, so the marketing has to undoubtedly be
very effective,” says Studio 18 VP marketing, distribution and syndication Priti
Since various brands, companies, movies are keeping low key on advertising; the
environment isn’t cluttered now as it was at this time last year. This has therefore
automatically reduced the requirement of noise a movie’s marketing should make.
Traditionally in the months of February and March movie release and promotions are
low due to the school and college exams. This time last year, in March 2008 five
movies released including Subhash Ghai’s Black & White, Race and One Two Three.
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In March 2009, more than 10 movies including Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge, 13 B, Little
Zizou, Aloo Chaat, Aa Dekhen Zara etc. are slated to release. But even collectively
these 10 movies may not make the same level of noise as last years movies.
Movie marketers media planning and buying has definitely been impacted which
various marketing heads call as a rationalized procedure now. Marketing heads are
challenged to reinvent their strategies. Group M general manager Rajeev Berry says,
“There has been a definitive change in the media buying habits of movie marketers
and they are being cautious now due to the low sentiment in the market. Marketing
focus will now shift back to the consumers from the film trade.”
Even as low cost effective promotion is a priority, but no media in the country has
slashed its advertising rates until now. “Full page ads in newspapers and outdoor
hoardings do not translate into incremental revenues. These just act as two second
reminders and build a movie’s brand, but may be avoided. Instead this money may be
channelized to mass media through an effective ad which reaches out to larger number
of audience. It is necessary to think intelligently on media planning and buying,” says
A focus on the use of above the line or below the line media differs from movie to
movie and company to company. A smart mix of both will have to continue for the
upcoming releases of this year.
Dos and Don’ts: Don’t be scared to do it
Even in times of slowdown, UTV promoted its latest film Delhi 6 across mass media
in the country with few alterations in its strategy to suit the current marketing
Last year, Dostana was the only film that did not make its actors Abhishek Bachchan,
John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra appear in a number of reality shows on TV.
Studio 18 did not put up outdoor hoardings for its films Singh Is Kinng, it chose to
redirect these spends towards mass media, such as TV.
In times like these, it is only natural for any marketer to rope in brands for co-branded
partnerships in order to fill a void. But a brand that does not match a movie’s theme
may do more bad than good. For instance, an otherwise suave marketer Shahrukh
Khan roped in brands Tupperware and Century Ply for Billu’s co-branded promotions,
both of which had no direct connection with the film.
Have it, flaunt it. Kambakkth Ishq and Kites have been in news since the time the
movies even went on floors. Unveiling the presence of actors such as Sylvester
Stallone, Brandon Routh, Barabara Mori etc. in the film has helped the film gain great
visibility across media for free.
The list of sectors afflicted by recession blues seems to be getting longer with
Bollywood being the latest entry to it.
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Leading film-making company, Yash Raj Films (YRF), is understood to have laid-off
20 of its employees recently as a part of its cost-cutting initiatives.
"The company recently asked 20 employees to leave, saying that it was not in a
position to retain them any longer," an affected YRF employee said in Mumbai.
These employees had been working with the company for the past five years, the
employee said adding, amongst those asked to leave include Executive Producers.
When contacted, the company declined to comment. YRF, spearheaded by ace filmmaker Yash Chopra, is one of the leading film-producing companies in the country.
The production house recently released Shahrukh Khan-starrer, 'Rab Ne Bana Di
Jodi'. Its much-talked about film 'New York' featuring John Abraham and Katrina
Kaif, is slated for release in 2009.
One of the signs of a slowdown in Bollywood was clearly manifest in the low-key
promotions of several recent releases including 'Ghajini' and 'Chandni Chowk to
A few film-makers have already slowed down on new projects while others have
resorted to cost-cutting measures including renegotiating contracts.
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From left to right Siddhart Roy Kapur CEO of UTV Motion Pictures, Neeraj Roy MD & CEO
ofHungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Colin Burrows CEO of Special Treats Production
Company UK ,Sandeep Bhargava CEO of Studio 18,Kapil Agarwal Joint Managing Director UFO
Movies India Ltd.,Sanjeev Lamba CEO of Reliance Big Pictures
This session at FICCI Frames looked at new technology providing additional revenue
to the theatrical release. Siddhart Roy Kapur CEO of UTV Motion Pictures said, "The
size of our entire film industry is equal to the box office earnings of Avatar at 2.2
billion. We could grow our revenue if ancillary revenue could contribute 60%. Then
the theatrical release would be like a trailer to sell other rights. However the reality is
that theatrical contributes more than 60% of the revenue."
He then gave reasons for the limited revenue generated by ancillary streams, namely,
pirated copies of a film out on the very day of its release, the recession, the way media
companies purchase films in parts, the rise of home video prices and the decline of
physical sales in music before companies have digitized. He also gave ways in which
the industry could grow like creating content that has appeal outside South Asia,
tapping the Indian diaspora more and increasing the number of functional theatres in
rural India. Sandeep Bhargava CEO of Studio 18 said, "We are dependent on
theatrical, whereas in the west, revenue comes from platforms that are more
recurring." Sanjeev Lamba CEO of Reliance Big Pictures then contributed, "The
Indian movie is under served internationally. There is an interest but no access to
Indian films. Only 30-40% of movies have an international release."
He then spoke about how the markets of continental Europe, Africa and South
America can be exploited with not only Bollywood blockbusters, but also with art
house cinema on TV or even other mediums. He also spoke about how the focus of
our films tend to be the stars, which presents a challenge since they are unknown in
overseas markets. Colin Burrows CEO of Special Treats Production Company, UK
and the moderator for the session said, "You need to popularize your stars abroad,
they all speaking English, they all look fantastic. My Name is Khan is an interesting
example, where Shahrukh Khan cracked the market open in Germany, but the subject
opened the market in the Islamic world. So perhaps small budget subject based films
can work abroad."
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Sandeep spoke about increasing the strength of the overseas market through
digitalization. He used the example of Striker, a smaller film which didn‘t have much
of a theatrical market abroad, but was exploited by marketing DVDs on the day and
date of the release of the film everywhere except in India, thus tackling piracy of the
film abroad. Youtube quickly removed any part of the film that was uploaded.
Speaking about the advantages of going digital Kapil Agarwal, Joint Managing
Director, UFO Movies India Ltd. said, "By going digital you can achieve a
widespread release and you don‘t have to invest upfront in print costs. This also curbs
piracy." Neeraj Roy, MD & CEO, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.
spoke about the many devices that have an increasing download speed and memory
capacity and lowering costs and the exciting film revenue opportunities they offer.
Neeraj added, "Don‘t restrict yourself to thinking, who will watch this on such a small
screen. Devices can project on up to a 40 inch plasma screen, plus you can attach
speakers, which can be your home theatre in the jungle. Even video players are
coming with social networking immersive interactive features like film trivia
appearing in a bar after watching a movie. Siddhart said "We are looking at taking our
films to different platforms, but there maybe so many ways of exploiting the rights we
already have that we may not think of. Like audio cinema - listening to the films
dialogues from beginning to end, we never thought people would want to do that."
Answering a question about independent films Sanjeev said, "Technology exists to let
you enjoy films in different ways. Theatrical cinema has become an event, where
bigger films with bigger marketing budgets do better; I think independent films will
gravitate away from theaters"
Sanjeev mentioned there were only 9000 screens that were fully functional in India,
the rest being tea stalls with a small screen, among functional theaters more than 50%
are in the Southern States, which are dominated by regional films. Siddharth said,
"The exhibition sector will need to see returns to create digital screens and refurbish
old screens. We talk about cross over films, but the only films that have crossed over
even to south India are the films with visual delight where language isn‘t very
important." Kapil said that in a year from now we could expect to see 500 plus digital
screens in India. He also spoke about having at least 20-50 screens in more countries
and mentioned the13 screens in the US that are screening IPL matches.
Speaking about merchandising in India Sanjeev said, "Film merchandising is
important for 6 to 12 year olds,
because then you want to wear your
favorite film and for kids under 6 it‘s
the mothers choice and after 12 it‘s
more about collectables than anything you would use. The problem is the main source
of merchandising, animation films and sequels haven‘t taken off. The toy and apparel
industries are unorganized. So there are problems in logistics, infrastructure and
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As the current position of the economy is not hidden form anybody, it is very much
obvious that bollywood industry too is facing the brunt. Producers are trying to curtail
their budget and thereby trying to increase their profitability. But this is becoming
difficult day by day because of increasing no of films being produced in a year. Every
producer is trying to attract the crowd to watch their film and so they are incurring a
lot of money in marketing the movies. Sometimes this marketing helps the film do
good business and sometimes it doesn’t. There have been cases wherein the films built
in a lot of expectations and failed to deliver at the box office. And these were the films
which actually overshot their marketing budgets.
So today if a film wants to stand out amongst the others then it has to have a very
effective marketing strategy and the focus here should lie on reducing the cost of the
marketing activities. It is alright if there are less no of marketing activities but these
few should be so innovative that it hits the target completely. But along with this it is
very important that the film has a good script which appeals to the masses because
people today demand quality and this is one aspect which should never be ignored by
filmmakers. That’s the reason why some of the low budget movies even though not
having a huge star cast work well just on the basis of a strong story line.
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Marketing of movies is surely a new concept in bollywood but it is really catching
pace now. With each and every movie being released new and innovative marketing
strategies are being introduced which are proving beneficial for them and are helping
them in generating great revenues.
Theatrical release of films now has a shortened life span. Also with the amount of
noise and clutter, films loose their “newness”. Correct positioning and communication
helps to maximise earnings throughout the lifecycle of the project, which is carried on
to other delivery channels (DVD, TV, etc.)
The only focus now is to introduce new and new strategies which would break all
records and generate revenues for the industry as a whole thus benefiting our country.
Thus in the coming years the industry will witness films which would be marketed in
a very innovative way and also having an appealing story line and a blend of talented
actors and not necessarily big and established stars because they are not the sole
reason of a films success.
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