Mumbai: While many a films have not done exceptionally well at the box office this year, in-cinema advertising has witnessed growth. Both on screen and off screen in-cinema advertising has continued to bring in good revenues for the multiplexes. The overall revenues across multiplexes have on an average shown a growth trend of 10 – 15 per cent on a year-on-year basis as per industry estimates. And with some of the big films yet to come, the numbers only look set to grow.
Fame Cinemas associative vice president marketing and ad sales Abhishek Raina says, "The year still has not ended so we are hopeful that we will do much better than last year, is spite of the IPL and the lack of really big releases."
E-City Ventures-promoted Fun Cinemas too has seen a substantial growth in revenues generated by in-cinema ads. E-City Ventures vice president sales Anand Vishal says that there has been a growth of 20 – 25 per cent from in-cinema advertising for Fun Cinemas.
The reasons for this growth are obvious. As Dimple Cine Advertising joint managing director Rajesh Karamchandani says, "The biggest selling point is the captive audience and the big screen." In terms of reach, while in-cinema advertising may be lower than TV and outdoor media, its impact tends to be higher due to confirmed audiences and undivided attention.
Raina says, "In spite of the economic cut down, there has been a substantial growth in spends done by brands and new brand categories are also tapping the space. This is due to the fact that the reach is direct and faster to the target audience."
NDTV Media CEO Raj Nayak is of the opinion that the first and foremost reason for in-cinema revenues flourishing is because it is a cost efficient advertising medium. NDTV Media handles the sales for UFO Moviez’s digital cinema advertising business in the private sector.
Nayak says, "The sheer size of the big screen and sound system creates a larger than life impact for commercials. Cinema goers are normally in a stress-free state of mind and in an environment like that the communication is much better received. Unique audience, clutter free limited break, ability to target region and state, urban and rural etc are some other benefits that in-cinema advertising offers. Now with UFO one also can save on film prints and with just one digi-beta we can release commercials in over 1200 cinema theatres via satellite. With online telecast logs being generated, technology has made it possible for the advertiser to monitor his activity."
BRAND BUZZ AND INNOVATION IN THEATERS
The growth witnessed has been largely due to new categories of brands that have started advertising at multiplexes and the direct interaction with consumers as compared to other media that are one sided. Among the popular brand categories that currently advertise in theaters are FMCG, lifestyle products and the media.
Speaking on the kind of advertisers that approach theaters Nayak says, "It would be unfair to name a few brands and leave the others as the list is too long. Automobiles, PSUs and banks (both in the private and public sector), insurance companies, FMCG, telecom, consumer durables, mobile companies, beverages etc are some sectors that actively advertise in theaters. DTH players and TV channels are also using it effectively especially outside the metros."
Compared to regular single screens, a multiplex offers larger avenues for advertising, increasing the opportunities to innovate and maximize revenues. Nayak throws light on digital cinema player UFO Moviez saying, "Due to the technology, with UFO one can run a contest in cinema theaters across the country by running a commercial before the movie starts, get people to SMS, announce the winner in the interval and give the gratification at the end of the movie. The gratification can be anything from sampling with cinema tickets or free tasting of a new beverage launched… there are so many creative ideas one can think of."
Advertisers are always experimenting with innovative ideas to attract consumers. Karamchandani is of the opinion that there is ample space in theaters and hence options for advertising are vast. "One of the most exciting things done by us was for Kaya, where we had a spotlight in the auditorium focused on one of the patrons who was awarded with a gift. Additionally, we also had a life size box of pop corn with kernels for Sahara One’s reality show The Biggest Loser Wins, which grabbed a lot of attention," he says.
Another way to advertise is via value-add ons. "Axis Bank had special schemes on movie tickets for their priority members. They gave away one movie ticket free on the purchase of one on Fridays for their card holders. Set Pix also used Pop Corn Boxes for branding, which is another active medium," says Vishal.
Raina believes that the shop-in-shop concept is another innovation that is fast catching up. He says the crowd that walks in to a multiplex is a serious buyer, unlike malls where not only are the rentals high but window shopping is also on a high. "Merchandising is another avenue that can be explored, for example Reebok or Nike promoting a particular range. The merchandise can be changed with the change of movies," he says.
Multiplexes can be touted as the best location for many brand activations. There’s a growing trend in brands trying to coincide promotional activities with the release of films just to cash in on the footfalls.
Nayak says, "Brands are very open and are seeking such opportunities. Except for some organized multiplex chains, most cinema theater owners have not yet been exposed to the full potential and the benefits of generating revenue through advertising and other brand activation. The cinema theater owner must be willing to walk the extra mile because it will take time for big monies to start flowing in and if the logistics are taken care of, there is a gold mine waiting to be tapped."
Karamchandani also feels that brands are now more open to carrying out activations at multiplexes. Dimple Cine Advertising even has a dedicated team of people just thinking beyond on-screen advertising.
With the increase in the number of multiplexes, there’s optimism in the air around the growth potential of this media. While Vishal foresees a growth of approximately 15 per cent in the in-cinema advertising market, Karamchandani believes that with more screens being added there are more avenues to advertise, and the growth will be between 10 -15 per cent.
Nayak adds, "The biggest barriers to cinema advertising were the cost of making multiple prints, the logistics of monitoring activity across theaters and the 35mm format. I think cinema has also not been marketed properly and is an under leveraged medium. Even today there is no uniform style of selling… some sell it by way of tagging it to movie releases, which I think is bad both from the sellers and buyers point of views. What percentage of movie are hits? By selling it by theater or region and having a sustained activity, the audiences who go to that particular cinema theater begin to recall the brand better. Moreover, with UFO technology, I see no reason why every commercial made for TV should not start hitting the big screen, especially given the huge advantage of targeting by state, region etc."