INTRODUCTION TO MOVIE MARKETING
“5 lac rupees for anyone who can watch my film alone in the theatre without getting frightened” echoed Ram Gopal Verma for his latest offering “Phoonk”. Katrina Kaif on a special episode of Star Plus’s “Baa, Bahoo aur Baby” and Hrithik’s Coke being integrated in the film ”Dhoom 2”
Although the concept is in its nascent stages in India, film marketing is evolving into a burgeoning industry. This area of study has been undertaken by us to reflect the changing paradigm in the Hindi film industry – popularly called Bollywood with respect to marketing and promotions. Over the years we have seen a seamless integration of marketing ideas selling the film and being responsible for its success rather than the content itself. Gone are the days when the film’s director and banner was good enough to draw the audiences. The multiplex crowd of today wants novelty and more than just storyline and star-cast to watch a movie. The entertainment created through the hype and hoopla created by the film marketers goes down a long way in predicting the film’s success. More and more film makers are adopting out-of-box strategies to cut through the clutter in the highly competitive business.
From content related meaningful cinema to now commercial blockbusters with wafer thin plots which are minting money, Bollywood churns out the maximum number of films in the world in a given year. According to the Dodona report (by Cinema-going India), Indian cinemas would admit 4 billion cinema goers by 2011.
Movies as a medium are carriers not only of the content or story they portray but also transmit various cultures other than our own which we assimilate, absorb and then react to. As Steven Speilberg has rightly put it “Cinema is the strongest weapon we have in the world today”.
Movies are, as mentioned before, products – the only difference being, it has an extremely short shelf life and is intended for one time consumption. It takes a lot of effort to produce, make and then market a movie as the product, making it a complex process.
Due to the short life cycle, the movies have to be competing in the minds of the viewers for space so that they come to the theatres to watch their films. So much so that, a Bollywood movie doesn’t compete for mind space only with their competitors releasing the same week or the next, it also competes with its predecessors from the same production house, with a fear of being type-casted as a movie in the similar league as the previous one.
For example “A Yash Raj” movie is bound to be lavish and hit…we better book our tickets in advance·, “Madhur Bhandarkar’s” films are surely hard hitting and it is good to see the true side of society through his films. It works perfectly fine for production houses like the Barjatiya’s, the YashRaj’s, the Bhandarkar’s who specialize in a particular genre of movie, however for the experimentative ones, it works against them, even more if their last production wasn’t a ‘hit’·.
Now coming back to the point, for both these sections of the industry, marketing would play a vital role. We need to understand that a Yash Raj or a Bhandarkar wouldn’t be what they are unless they establish their forte through proper marketing channels. Also for the more adventurous film makers it’s imperative to realize the importance of establishing the differences between his/her movies through proper marketing techniques, so that the movies flourish or flounder individually.
Marketing has now evolved as a separate business entity within the domain of film-making and is considered one of the most important variables in film-making today. It’s the ‘packaging’· that matters, says most film-marketing gurus today. With almost 30% of the films budget being actually allocated to film marketing, it is something that the organizations and Corporate are sitting up and taking notice.
The message is being the same, the medium used are multiple – be it the World Wide Web or the mass appealing television (75% of the film marketing budget) or even below the line activities like contests and integrated marketing activities.
1.1 Overview of Indian Film Industry and Market
India is the world’s largest producer of films by volume – producing almost a thousand films annually. However, revenue-wise, it accounts for only 1 percent of global film industry revenues.
Components of the Indian film industry
The Indian film industry comprises of a cluster of regional film industries, like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, etc. This makes it one of the most complex and fragmented national film industries in the world. These regional language films compete with each other in certain market segments and enjoy a virtual monopoly in certain others. The most popular among them is the Hindi film industry located in Mumbai, popularly referred to as “Bollywood”.
Out of the 200 Hindi films made in India each year, around 150 are made in Bollywood. These Bollywood films are released throughout India on both big and small screen formats, with several of them being screened overseas as well. Though there have been sporadic instances of regional films, enjoying a national release or even an overseas release, virtually all films having a national audience, are made in Bollywood. It accounts for over 40 percent of the total revenues of the overall Indian film industry, which is currently estimated at INR 59 billion. It is estimated that only INR 50 billion finds its way to the industry coffers, with the balance INR 9 billion being cornered by pirates.