Apt distribution, promo strategy to boost speciality films

GOA: Speciality films – a term referring to small budget and concept driven movies – have come under the spotlight like never before. In recent times, small films have made it incredibly big, and how.

Not only have such speciality films gained importance from financers, producers, distributors and marketers but also from audiences. Made in budgets ranging from Rs 20 – 60 million (Rs 2 – 6 crores) speciality movies are proving rational business propositions for film corporate companies and even offering variety to the audiences.
 
To discuss the marketing and distribution of such specialty films in India, NFDC India organised a panel discussion at Film Bazaar with UTV Motion Pictures CEO Siddharth Roy Kapur, Alliance Media managing director Sunil Doshi, Walkwater Media managing director Manmohan Shetty, NFDC India managing director Nina Lath Gupta and director Anurag Kashyap as panelists.

The rising prices and non-viability of big budget movies is the first and foremost reason why specialty films are of more consequence now to the Bollywood film industry. Therefore, every corporate company is scaling its economies by investing in cash rich specialty films.

Kapur says, “Last year the influx of money in the film industry led to hike in rates of talent but companies cannot recover such high costs. On the other hand, a smaller movie even without a big star cast is more viable now.”

That said and done, it however does not imply that any small film will be successful on the silver screen. There are golden rules to abide by comprising strong creative collaboration of director and producer, innovative marketing strategies and some yet-to-be-tapped distribution platforms that will enable the making of a movie, which has a distinct vision coupled with entertainment value.

However, if these aspects are not well explored, these speciality films may very well end up being a losing proposition as a big film at least has a star cast to attract audiences, whereas a specialty film will not necessarily have that pull value.

By and large theatrical, music, home video and satellite are the major platforms of recovery for any big or small budget movie. The recovery through any other ancillary platform depends on a project to project basis.

Even amongst key platforms, the ratio of recoveries may differ for a small film vis-à-vis a big film. “Since ticket prices for speciality films are not priced lesser than those of a big budget films, audiences would rather watch a big movie in theatres and the smaller ones at home on DVD,” pointed out Shetty.  

Director Anurag Kashyap added, “Speciality movies need more innovation in their distribution and especially amongst the non South Asian Diaspora in international markets.”

While specialty films have a negligible market share in the overseas even amongst the South Asian Daispora, the fact is that these films haven’t yet crossed over within various markets in India itself except for the main film territories.

While film corporate companies are investing in their share of speciality films, Gupta informed that NFDC is also playing its role in making specialty films in different Indian languages to promote the cinemas of India and new talent.

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