“Patiala House releases in Patiala, ironically the film has nothing to do with the princely state, Katrina Kaif in Lucknow studio of radio mirchi for Rajneeti’s Promotion, Silence is the promotion strategy for My Name is Khan a much talked film”
This paper investigates widespread marketing strategies used in Film industry popularly called the Bollywood both nationally and internationally. Film marketing is rapidly developing into a promising industry although the idea is its incipient stage in India. We have seen over the years that success of film now not only through its contents but varied integration of marketing strategies to promote the film. Today everyone in the film bazaar wants success but it is acquired by only those who have come out with some out of box strategy for their film. Films are much hyped before their release in the market so that they have great openings but some are bombed in few weeks and some are not even noticed due to lack of content.
Films now are more than just an entertainment, but are a business. Marketing of a movie is not a new initiative it has its existence since films were introduced in India, but it is followed more rigorously in today’s state of film affairs. The inception of this paper starts with introduction of the film industry followed with the strategies used to market the movies in the industry. This is also an interest area of the author, as being a movie buff. The other segment research will highlight the growth of this budding industry. The content of this paper also comprises with current inclination and variation that are common in the film industry.
The methodology used in this paper has a literature review which will be the basis of the report. Due to non-availability of required data relating to the expenses on conventional and non-conventional media, the author has chose a case study approach. To indentify the consumption pattern of the consumer a research is conducted both with qualitative and quantitative analysis.
The dissertation is ended with the inclusion of integrated marketing framework for Bollywood and the new means that for existing medium, those are being or could be deployed in the area of film marketing.
Before getting into details of film marketing the author highlights the area of conventional and non-conventional media and tactics to manipulate the viewer’s decision. Conventional media majorly includes Trailers and Commercials on Television, Posters, Radio promotion and Printed Ads etc. whereas, unconventional media comprises of SMS/MMS, Internet Broadband, BTL activities and events and social networking etc.
In terms of number of movies produced India has the biggest movie industry. Around 800 movies are made and released of which 90% are bombed beyond the week at the box-office. (Indiaonestop, 2010) We can every day, every few hours, somebody, somewhere is launching a feature film in this country. (Bose, 2006)
So it’s important for a film marketer to know which method or media would be appropriate for that particular film. While delineating conventional tactics for marketing films to the unconventional ones a clear example would be advertisement in theatre which is a conventional way but using technology or innovative techniques to market it qualifies to be an unconventional way of marketing.
Taking in to consideration the number of flops annually the Bollywood gives, it is mandatory to understand the spending done on these mediums for promotion as it would give an insight to a new method which will be helpful for our dissertation.
Film makers generally don’t take into consideration what audiences want a few can be named as Ram Gopal Verma, Mani Ratnam etc. whose films like RGV ki Aag, Rakta Charitra and Raavan flopped in spite of having strong star cast. So in order to gauge consumer consumption pattern in terms of movie content, effects of promotional activities, change in the decision to watch a movie etc. (Chand, 2011)
These factors will help in defining the timing of the movie to launched, content of the movie, Star cast, Publicity, unfriendly press and partner brands. Producers often forget the importance of the above factors in a hurry to give a clone of previous hits. All the film makers try to play safe, recover costs and try to move on and thus leave the impression to the general public that our film makers have run out of ideas. (Bose, 2006)
Film makers these days are like businessman, they spread their losses by investing in several films simultaneously in the anticipation that at if one will work he can take care of the losses with it.
A film-maker who has the resources and the ability to work and gamble on multiple projects is never let down by the law of probability.
Mode of Study/Tools Used:
A two pronged approach adopted in this report will help to understand all of the above and find a satisfactory answer for it.
A secondary research will be conducted on the available data. A whole research framework will be gathered related to film marketing. This would not meet one’s expectation entirely so we need a primary survey including both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Quantitative research would be done with the help of questionnaires targeting the urban crowds from the metros excluding the southern cities of India. Overseas city like Leicester and Wembley which has a number of Indian communities is also taken under the survey which will give a more holistic research.
Approximately a sample of 50 respondents were targeted, though the number is too short for large topic like this; hence a figure ranging to 20,000 at a confidence level of 95% and percentage of 50% the confidence interval comes out to be approximately +/-3.5% which should be acceptable. Internet has been used as a medium to collect data from the respondents along with collecting data personally from the above mentioned localities in Wembley and Leicester.
This medium saved cost and time. However response for the survey was not mandatory and it was completely at respondent’s discretion. The idea behind the selection of the metros for primary research is due to the beginning of the multiplex culture in these cities. Usual movie goers were targeted that includes families, teens, couples etc. The data obtained from this survey will be evaluated using factor analysis.
This data will help us to understand the trend, interest of the consumers towards the unconventional media used to promote the films. As part of the research a case study of movie will be taken which was well marketed but bombed at the box office. This will give an actual scenario of the topic.
Anticipated Output from the Research:
Few questions would come up along with this dissertation:
Whom should the producer communicate to?
What appeals to whom?
Which media reaches the most?
What do the consumers want?
Limitations of the Survey:
This sample does not represent the entire India due to the limitation of the survey conducted in the taken geography. The area was chosen mostly as the region bestows majorly to the Hindi speaking population of the country.
Another limitation is number of the respondents would be contacted through emails or social networking sites which leads to a possibility of fake response, half response or also data duplication.
Review of Literature
Hollywood has been dominant over the years in the international film industry but slowly Mumbai and Shanghai are emerging beyond providing the local language films and television into domestic and international markets. Los Angeles remains the largest cluster in the world with Mumbai following second in the lead. (PWC, 2010) Mumbai and Shanghai’s cluster increases between 2010 and 2040 while that of Los Angeles cluster decreases in size. This is because of shift of consumers towards alternative media options like video games and internet. (PWC, 2010)
Indian and Chinese governments have realized the potential of the industry and so they are encouraging these industries to grow. However it is difficult to imagine a mainstream film audience opting for Chinese movies instead of Hollywood movies. In future this may change. In recent years Hollywood and Bollywood have realized the importance of regional cinema and so there is an increasing trend of dubbing popular movies of both the industry. E.g. Gurinder Chadha’s latest film “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife” was dubbed in Hindi and Punjabi. (PWC, 2010)
As stated earlier the subject of this dissertation is to understand the Indian Film Industry’s marketing strategies and its competitors. The aim of the literature review is to understand the method used for film marketing using conventional and nonconventional medium. Indian film marketing is in its incipient stage there is dearth of literature work. There are few reports and articles here and there which shed light on this subject.
The literature review on the subject I found relevant to my research is as follows:
Unraveling the potential: The Indian Entertainment and Media Industry, FICCI Frames, March 2006, by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)
The report is published by FICCI and it looks as Entertainment and Media Industry as a whole but not only the film industry. However the overall percepts provided gives some important information for my research.
Table 1: IRS 2005, Round 2 as quoted in Jagran Prakashan Prospectus filed with SEBI dated Feb 3, 2006
Reach in % age
Reach in millions
Source: Televisionpoint, Research, Media & Industry, 2005
The above table shows how much penetration films have in the socio economic classes. It helps to target market segmentation and marketing campaigns according to the socio-economic classes and the reach of the medium. However the report shows the share of the film industry in the Indian economy which is not changing from 2005- 2010 as the share of film industry was 19 % in 2005 but has not increased in 2010. (FICCI, 2006) The report points out that film industry is among few growth drivers for the E&M industry. Quoting directly from the report:
“Indians love to watch movies. And advancements in technology are helping the Indian film industry in all the spheres – film production, film exhibition and marketing. The industry is increasingly getting more corporatized. Several film production, distribution and exhibition companies are coming out with public issues. More theatres across the country are getting upgraded to multiplexes and initiatives to set up more digital cinema halls in the country are already underway. This will not only improve the quality of prints and thereby make film viewing a more pleasurable experience, but also reduce piracy of prints. “
Indian Film Industry is full of uncertainty and is unorganized. The outcome is bollywood has only 1% of share in the world film industry while at the same time US has 60% of the world revenue. (PWC & FICCI, 2007)
Table 2 Filmed entertainment revenues by country/region, US$ million, 2009
Other Western Europe
Other Asia Pacific
Central and Eastern Europe
Middle East and Africa
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2010-2014, June 2010
The above report shows the world film market is still dominated by the developed economies. (UK Film Council, 2010) In spite of Indian Film Industry having larger admissions ratio and population it still lags behind to Australia and Italy in terms of world market share.
Films are today more than Art, its business. This showbiz business is the biggest money earner in the country. In last couple of years film industry has changed itself into fully professional business industry with innovative methods to promote a film. Time has changed and so are the promotional and marketing activities of a film. Awareness of film and its Star Cast is important in the competitive industry. (Merinews, 2010)
Almost two to three movies releasing every Friday, to succeed the producer or directors have to something different to attract the audiences. It’s all about creating brand identity. For e.g. during the release of ‘3 Idiots’ Amir Khan toured seven cities across India to connect to people and create an attention towards the movie. This proved to be very successful strategy and the movie broke all box office records. Today the actors have also understood the importance of marketing of a film. The author has found few gaps in the Indian Film Industry.
Development in the digital technology will lead the industry in future. Digital movie assures to raise box office collections by increasing picture resolution, quality of the print and lower distribution costs. There are mixed reaction on the issue of piracy. Initiatives by producers like Bharat Shah and Manmohan Shetty have started initiative to increase digital cinemas. (Bose, 2006)
Audiences distinguishing the promotions to be fake
All promotion techniques like Coffee with the stars, Invitation to the premiere etc does not attract the audiences as they don’t trust the promotional event. They simply think that at given sample of 10000 only 2-3 fans get a chance to meet the stars or invitation. Audiences do notice such events but percentage of participation is very low. Thus by using conventional medium to connect to people a major chunk of the pie rests untouched by the film makers. (Chand, 2011)
BTL activities and its effects on films
Below the line activities do engage the audiences with the campaign but at the end they fail to attract the audiences at the ticket booths and do not increase the ticket sales. A good here is of the film ‘Aagey Se Right’ The campaign ‘Win a Gun’ was woven with the story line of the film where the actor loses his gun in the film. It was launched online where the users could take home a gun by answering a simple question and the help the cop Waghmare, find his lost gun as well.
The actor also visited seven cities of India and checked visitors purses and bags as a part of campaign. In spite of the innovativeness and spending on the campaign the film did not earn money to the producers. (Nautiyal, 2009)
Competition from International Movies
The international market is expected to grow at the pace of 18% annually with estimation at Rs. 7 billion but bollywood shares only 10% of its box office revenues in the international market. (PWC & FICCI, 2007) There is a significant gap in the urban and rural demand due to growing middle class. The urban audiences demand ‘Masala + Movies’ which cannot be met due to shortage of talent. Hence this demand gap is filled by international movies.
Hollywood is gaining a reasonable market share with the help of better marketing techniques. Their target audiences are young Indians which amount 50% of the population. (Kukenshoner et al 2008)
The above holes found in the working of Indian film industry surmises to the statement that:
Traditional marketing strategies are vieux jeu, and more and more innovative techniques are used to attract the audiences for the Friday.
Bollywood and the World Film Industry:
With the rise of new mediums and change in economic scenario of India more attention is diverted towards bollywood at the same time other film cultures attempting to “Bucolize” Hollywood. (Desai & Dudrah, 2008) Bollywood prides itself with being one of the largest film industries in the world in terms of producing the films. Some around 1090 films compared to 607 in the year 2006. (Jones et al, 2008)
The current dominance of Hollywood is largely due to advancements in marketing techniques, innovative, good content and an effective distribution channel. In terms of commercial success Hollywood dominated the world market but other countries were still making culturally important movies. (Jones et al, 2008)
France and UK were major competitors of Hollywood. Modern Motion Picture was invented in France. It loses its leading position against Hollywood with the invention of sound in the film. The demand decreased due to the less French speaking people over the globe. Since the creation of television and film, Britain has been thriving due the film as it is a key part and driver of the mix of creative industries. (House of Commons, 2003) The industry experienced a constant brain drain to the Hollywood. (Jones et al, 2008)
Chinese film industry although compared to India is small but is very organized. One area bollywood has to work on if want to be successful in the world market is the length of the film. Even the best film has 20-30 minutes more length. If bollywood wants to succeed in the global market the industry will have to invest lot in marketing and distribution of the film. (Pillania, 2008)
Nollywood a dark horse of Africa is the new word in the world market at least in India. The world was minted by their inspiring counterparts namely Hollywood and Bollywood. It is one of the fastest and largest growing industries with over 872 films in 2006 (UNESCO, 2006) The African market is dominated by Nollywood. Compared to Hollywood, Bollywood and other film industries the film making style is cost effective as it uses digital cameras instead of film and movies are made in mere a week’s time with the less than 15000 USD. Movies are released directly through DVDs or CDs rather than in Theatres. It does affect the quality of the film; making it difficult to export overseas. Few western directed documentaries have spread some knowledge of Nollywood in the West. A part of the industry is working to improve the current scenario. (Mazzocco, 2011)
Tollywood is the combination of wood from Hollywood and Tolly from Telugu language also known as cinema of Andhra Pradesh. In 2008 278 movies were released. Hyderabad is the center of all the work done and studios of Tollywood. (Vikram, 2010)
The South Indian film industries produce half of the total number of movies of India. Breakdown of films in different languages of India is shown below:
No. of Films
(Source: Central Board of Film Certification, 2003)
Bollywood has over the years created an synthetic culture that appeals to a specific audience in India while regional cinemas are still rooted to their culture and language. Few regional films have been so popular that they had bypassed Bollywood films at the box office by selling more tickets in their respective states. E.g. A Tamil Super Star Rajikanth’s Film named “Shivaji” broke all records of Tamil film industry and at the same time breaking India’s Box office records. Even though the film was played on only 12 screens it was the first non-Bollywood Indian film to make it to UK Top Ten. Bollywood is mistaken as Indian Cinema by many non-Indian commentators and also by some Indians but the fact is something different. The challenge to bollywood is not only from overseas but also from the regional movies. (Stafford, 2008)
The Integrated Marketing Framework
Understanding Film Marketing
The strategic importance of publicity of any film is undoubted. It is oxygen for everybody who is connected in the film industry. It keeps you in the attention and guarantees the longevity of your career. An important role is played by both media and non-media public relations. Although here Bollywood lacks good publicist like they have in Hollywood. Publicist have failed to keep with pace of growth by the industry in past years. Publicist are increasingly becoming a necessity as the number of publication seeking coverage are increasing along with the technology which is expand bollywood beyond the borders. (Parimal et al 2009) Public always has an craving for gossips about domestic crisis, romantic linkages with a star or a sensational filmi story.
So it always makes a sense for a film-maker to give media some ‘masala’ news about the plot of the film, release of the music, clarification on controversies, celebration parties or location of the shoots. Film awards also boost chances of the actor/actress to get new films. For e.g. Producer Bimal Roy’s movie named ‘Bandini’ was released in 1966. The film was running according to the course and was about to be take off the theatres, when suddenly the movie was nominated for Film fare awards and President’s Silver Medal. It a new lease of life to the movie and the movie was a hit miraculously. (Bose, 2006)
If a movie successfully touches the public emotion it is bound to be a hit. This happened with movies like Gadar and Laagan. These films touched the patriotic sentiment of the common man so got mouth to mouth publicity and enjoyed greater success after the first week of release. It is said that people from villages with trucks full went to the cities to watch these movies. Especially, “Gadar”. Quality of movie along with good music played an important role in success of these movies. (Pandey, 2010)
Over the year’s bollywood have successfully partnered with brands like Tag Huer, Rolex, McDonalds, Maybelline, Exide battery, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Hutch, Bournvita, Zandu, Ultratech cement, Nikon and so on. For e.g. In the movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’, In the drawing competition the participants were shown using colors of “Fevicryl”. The same color prints were gifted by the elder brother of the main character Darsheel Safari. (S Roy et al, 2009) Few e.g. of the brands partnering with the films are as under:
Om Shanti Om
Mukta Arts-Production House, HMV, Exide Battery, Filmfare Awards, Tag Heur Watch, Maybelline
Chak de India
EXIM Bank, Australian Trade and Commerce, Aaj Tak, McDonald’s, Britannia Marie, ESPN, Puma
Coco Cola, Marie Claire, Zoom (Media Partner), Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Toyota, ESPN, Boost, Hutch, Sony Vaio, Phuket (Tourism), Starbucks, Mercedes, Kawasaki (Water Boat), Nokia 6600, BPL, DFL, Bournvita, Sony Erickson Mobile, Go air, Nikon, Calvin Klein
Spykar Jeans, Western Union Money Transfer, Streax, MTV, Kingfisher, Bharatmatrimony.com, Indiatimes.com, HP (laptop), Bailey (Packaged Water), Ford (Tractor), Sony Camcorder
Source: (Product Placement in Bollywood Movies, pp 56)
Content of the movie:
Most modern films that are high in style and locations but low in content fail to click at the box office. The movie-goer however motivated is no fool and can see through the content of the movie within the first 15 minutes of the movie. Honesty is the best policy. Honesty to the medium and honesty to the audiences does pay off. Audiences always prefer innovativeness in the content. Five Film on the freedom fighter Bhagat Singh was made in 2001 simultaneously, but only the one with protagonist Ajay Devgan in the lead role was a hit at box office mainly because of its narrative style. There are many such instances in bollywood where narrative styles of the movie have won producers accolades. (Bose, 2006)
Making a film is all about team work. It consists of actors, crew members, technicians and artistes who contribute their skills and reputation to create a brand value for the film. These people used to be employees of the production houses hired on monthly fixed salary in late 50s. Time passed and so changed the working of bollywood film industry. With the wipeout of the studio system freelancing became the norm of the industry where stars soon began to call the shots. Their association with the production team and banner determined their success and reputation in the industry. Today the focus shifting towards the stars, ‘camps’ have come up where Shah Rukh Khan belongs to the Karan Johar Camp. Actresses like Urmila and Antara Mali belongs to Ram Gopal Verma camp etc. They may be lucky talismans or loyalists to their respective camps but together they constitute a winning team that every distributor would like to bet on. The star system of bollywood signifies their value by their impact on the industry. Lorenzen and Taube (2008) stress that inclusion of stars in the movie play a major role in the success of the typical film of the bollywood at the same time acknowledging that mere inclusion does not guarantee the success of the film at box office.
The second largest movie industry of India is Tollywood which also has the same star system. At international level Nollywood the movie industy of Nigeria also has the same star system where the power is hold by the marketers and distributors. In contrast to most European film industries, Nigerian film industry is run on very industrial terms. (Kerrigan, 2010)
Timing of the movie to be launched:
As such there is no rule that films have to be released on Friday but the general reason behind is Friday is the last day working day giving the audiences to spend rest two days in recreational activities. Watching a movie is one of them. Another reason for timing a movie release is people don’t come to theatres if there are exams or festivals or world cup event. Given an example is the current release of the movie ‘Yeh Faasle’. The current hysteria of World Cup and Board examinations the film is not having audiences in spite of strong star cast. (Pattni, 2011)
Planning Campaign of Film Marketing:
Film marketing is nothing but how the filmmakers and marketers position their film in the mind of the audiences in order to increase the consumption of their film. (Kerrigan, 2010) A marketing process must address few factors like PEST, cultural and competition to fit in the market place. The timing of this process is very important; filmmakers have realized its importance. Film marketing is done at three stages namely corporate branding, promotions & events and traders and distributors.(Chand, 2011)
Planning for a Movie:
Film marketing starts at the moment the idea of particular film making is conceived. The target audience is also decided for whom the movie is made for. So effective planning is needed to contain all the section you need to address. More than 50% of all movie theatre tickets are bought by 9% of the population. The film’s first two weeks does the business of around 78% in the given market place. (Smith, 2011)
The two key factors of your film planning are Positioning and Target Market:
“Positioning is how a product appears in relation to other products in the market” (Tutor2u, 2011)
The whole marketing and communication strategy of the film is depended on the positioning of the film. The film positions itself in the mind of the audience through positioning. A target audience is to be pin-pointed by the marketers to appeal them through ‘positioning elements’ (Kalra, 2002)
For e.g. In Dharmendra’s Barsaat the film was intended to be the refreshing love story with two new star faces. But no key elements were expressed convincingly in the film. Two star faces were created in the industry but the film didn’t do well in the box office. (Chand, 2011)
Every movie differs from other and so is the genre of the movie. The film cant be a hit unless the film maker knows it target audience. It is important for the film maker to know what the target audience want, what they have rejected in past and their habits.
Target audience is defined by age, class, gender etc while elements like movie goers, race, socio-economic status, urban and rural audience are additional.
Targeting can be done on the basis of:
Age Gender Education Religion Ethnicity Nationality Geography
Medium of Marketing:
“Be interesting, or be invisible”. Andy Sernovitz
There are so many options for marketing that marketers are confused over it. There are many boulevards for marketing in India. Many marketing tools are used for single film in the industry. Let’s look at the most used platforms to attract audiences at the theatres. In the past the marketing campaigns were usually done by billboards designed to fit in magazines, newspapers ads, integrated into television ads and the same in theater trailers. Over the years the style of bollywood has changed so is its campaigning style the conventional marketing through billboards, print ads, TV ads and trailers have changed their approach. In today’s scenario film campaigning is more targeted at various online demographics that suits the audiences’ demands and is more specific. (Miller, 2011) Gupta and Gould (1997) stated product placement as incorporating brands in films in return of money. Regional movies are also at par with Bollywood in product placements. E.g. A Telugu movie named “Jalsa” had a Coca-Cola brand incorporated in it. (Roy & Bhattacharya, 2009)
In contemporary India advertisements play many roles. Print advertisement are the most used and old techniques to reach the audiences. Full page ads and half page ads in a newspaper like Times of India, Dainik Bhaskar etc were regular norms till date. These ads are now shifting towards internet which has photographs usually taken during the shoots. To make the ad more effective and increase its credibility quotes from critics are added to the advertisements. (Chand, 2011) The Indian print industry is expected to grow at 7.4% over the period of 2009-14 and an estimated of Rs. 230.5 billion in 2014 from the current estimate of Rs. 161.5 billion in 2009. (PWC, 2010)
It was started just as an experiment by Yash Raj but this idea seems to be accepted by all in the industry to promote their respective films. Currently this medium is taken by film makers very seriously. Before it was reality shows on TV and now it is serials. Bollywood has found their new mantra to publicize their upcoming movies. Both big and small TV stars benefit from this new arrangement as this is the be
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