Film marketing important but content is king

MUMBAI: Content is king and marketing is a kingpin that helps the king rule. That was the essence of the session titled Marketing and Distribution of Movies at FICCI FRAMES 2007.

Moderated by Adlabs chairman Manmohan Shetty, the session had speakers like Kaleidoscope India managing director Bobby Bedi, Eros International group CFO Andrew Heffernan, Roamware USA president and CEO Bobby Srinivasan, P9 Integrated CEO Navin Shah and Warner Bros Pictures Italy president and ANICA president Paolo Ferrari.

Shetty began the session by disagreeing with the fact that the success of a film no longer depends on just the content, storyline and the star cast but also on how well the film is marketed. “Content is very important,” he reiterated.

However, marketing in the real sense of the term hasn’t yet been applied to Bollywood. Until now the activities that have been done by producers for their movies can only be called promotion and not marketing. “By doing all the promotions, you end up being heard but not necessarily understood,” said Bedi.

While marketing a film, the considerations to be kept in mind are: (1) What film to make?, (2) Budget of the movie, (3) How to best communicate to the target audience? and (4) How to make it accessible to the target audience?

Stressing on Kotler’s four Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion and Place, Bedi said that genre is the most important differentiator that filmmakers have. As far as promotion is concerned, Bedi said, “Rudimentary promotion only gets us awareness and nothing else. The objective of promotion is to get the target audience in cinemas on the opening weekend. That’s where the game begins and ends. Then comes word of mouth. However, if your target audience is not correctly identified, then one can get a good opening but word of mouth will be very bad.”

Importance has to be given to the title and tag line of the movie. “Zeroing in on a name for a movie is not only a creative decision but also a business decision. It has to communicate what the movie is all about,” said Bedi.

Another marketing tool is to find a ‘star’ of the film and then make it the USP. “The ‘star’ can be anything – storyline, theme of the movie, director, music, actor or the subject of the movie,” said Bedi.

It is also critical to know where to showcase the film. One has to identify whether the film is meant of A, B sectors or if it is a film for the multiplex going audiences. “Carefully positioning the distribution of the product will help the film immensely,” he said.

Roamware’s Srinivasan stressed on the mobile medium being a strong marketing tool for a movie. “There are 2.6 billion mobile subscribers in the world today. This user base is higher than that of the print, television and internet medium and also all these mediums put together. The key differentiator of mobile as a marketing tool is that it has high visibility and personalization,” he said.

Eros International’s Hefferman, on the other hand stressed on the importance of film festivals as a strong marketing tool. He also pointed out that Eros will be premiering three of its movies at the Cannes Film Festival this year. “Film festivals ensure a wider visibility for movies and are a great platform for syndication of various rights to global players,” he said.

Shah threw light on the making of ‘Brand Krrish,’ which according to him, is worth Rs 5 billion (Rs 500 crores) today. “Producers should look at creating a brand around a film. As many as eight brands tied-up with Krrish for in-film placement and associative marketing with brands like Lifebuoy and Hansaplast spending in the range of Rs 120 million (Rs 12 crores) and Rs 10 million (Rs 1 crore) in associating with the movie,” Shah said. He also informed that the Walt Disney Company was exploring the possibility of creating an animation series around the character.

Hetal Adesara

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