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Business News/ Industry / Film marketers look at digital media to bring down costs

Mumbai: As costs of marketing and distribution become prohibitive, film marketers are looking at the digital medium to effectively target consumers and boost returns.

In 2014, the film industry grew at a mere 0.9% over 2013. If it wasn’t for Aamir Khan’s PK, which grossed 300 crore at the box office, the film industry would have actually shrunk last year, said Jehil Thakkar, head, media and entertainment at consulting company KPMG, at the annual media and entertainment convention FICCI Frames.

Today, if a movie is made with zero production costs, it still requires to do 18 crore of business to make money if released in theatres.

And if it is made at a budget of 5-10 crore then double the cost of making and add 18 crore to that for it to recover money, said Bobby Bedi, who produced The Myth, Saathiya and Maqbool.

As producers try to get more bang for their buck, digital which is relatively much cheaper than the traditional mediums is gaining scale, said experts.

“These videos engaged the audience and went viral," said Rudrarup Datta, vice-president, marketing and project operations, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, which has made successful movies including Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Gangs of Wasseypur and Mary Kom.

It’s not about the size of the movie, but the communication message and the medium that matters more, said Nabeel Abbas, founder and chief executive officer, Epigram, a film marketing agency that has marketed movies such as Lagaan, Delhi Belly, Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na and adult film Grand Masti, which saw a lot of traction online as it focused on the profile of the consumer.

“The traction we got online for Grand Masti was far beyond what it would have got in traditional mediums," he said.

Movie marketing also needs to get more focused and not target everyone. “This increases the cost. Instead, look at a focus consumer set," said Datta of Viacom18 while explaining that this is more easily achievable online.

Moreover, unlike out of home hoardings or newspaper and television advertisements, “new media is exciting, it is measurable", said Abbas, while pointing out to the fact that a lot of people now record their television shows in the metros and skip advertisements, making it difficult to measure their reach. However, the number of views online for videos and banners can be measured.

The growth in popularity of digital media continued to surge in 2014, pushing digital media advertising to grow by 44.5% in 2014 over the year-ago period and driving the broader advertising industry growth, according to a joint report published by industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and KPMG India.

For films, digital advertising now accounts for 15-20% of the overall advertising and promotion spends, said Datta while explaining that this is only growing.

Ways to increase profitability included having more alliances with brands, said marketers.

For instance, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani had associated with travel site, Amul Milk was associated with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and Mary Kom, which was made on a budget of 15 crore, had partnered with brands such as Havmor, Mother Dairy and Usha International.

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Updated: 28 Mar 2015, 04:49 PM IST
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