Streaming platform promotions bring big bucks for celebrities

  • A-listers can bring with them up to 50 million followers even for a one-time social media post
  • Most people prefer to watch content featuring their favourite celebrities

Lata Jha
Updated22 Mar 2022, 01:28 AM IST
OTT platforms are actively looking at all possible aspects of digital marketing.
OTT platforms are actively looking at all possible aspects of digital marketing.(Photo: iStock)

Film and sports stars are making good money collaborating with video streaming platforms that engage them for everything from one-off social media posts to promoting specific shows, films or the platform itself. The work may also include longer campaigns that require celebrities to shoot for content at regular intervals. Disney+ Hotstar getting Shah Rukh Khan on board is the most recent example of such a deal.

As per executives at celebrity management and digital ad agencies, A-listers such as actor Salman Khan or producer-director Karan Johar who have been posting about shows on over-the-top (OTT) video platforms like Hotstar and Lionsgate Play lately, can charge upwards of 30 lakh per post.

However, a longer-term contract like the one with SRK, can last anywhere between six months and a year with the actor charging 7-8 crore. While platforms make use of stars to reach out to mass-market audiences, the latter seek to remain relevant among younger, new-age viewers.

“India is an entertainment-driven country, even while several other sectors slowed down during the pandemic, entertainment viewing remained on the rise at home. As Internet penetration deepens and all kinds of free content pops up, these streaming services know they will benefit from the use of celebrity faces,” Rajni Daswani, director, digital marketing at SoCheers, a digital agency said.

An A-list star can bring with them up to 50 million followers even for a one-time social media post, in some cases, widening reach for the platform and its offerings, Daswani added.

Amol Roy, founder of digital marketing agency The Shutter Cast said most people prefer to watch content featuring their favourite celebrities, evident in how 80% of Netflix users in India watch a film every week, making it the highest viewership market globally.

“At a macro level, a celebrity may not promote a particular show, but adds great value in promoting the platform,” Shruti Deora, head of partnerships at digital agency White Rivers Media said.

“With covid-19 and restrictions on theatrical releases, the online universe has emerged as an important revenue stream for film personalities. The challenge for most celebrities at a time when they do not have any projects lined up for release is visibility and relevance,” Deora added.

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar and Lionsgate Play did not respond to Mint’s queries on collaborations with celebrities. Executives in Karan Johar, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan’s teams did not respond either.

OTT platforms are actively looking at all possible aspects of digital marketing, including social media and influencer activities, Shahir Muneer, founder and director at Divo, a Chennai-based music and media company said.

“Artistes and celebrities have wide reach and engagement and using them is a natural outcome of the need to amplify consumption. Using them for regular social media posts is also a relatively cost-effective way to get eyeballs, you don’t need a large media plan or an agency to carry it out and the outcome is faster,” Muneer said.

For example, Netflix bagging a celebrity like Anil Kapoor or Rana Daggubati to promote a legacy show like Money Heist in India expands its reach beyond loyal fans. For its movie The Tomorrow War, Amazon Prime Video had got Varun Dhawan for a series of interactions with the film’s lead Chris Pratt.

Daswani pointed out that celebrities who earlier signed up for about three films and 10 brand collaborations per year, could now be looking at almost 100 partnerships, and a substantial boost to income.

Such collaborations work perfectly well for both parties because they amplify the voice of the platform in consumers’ minds and are a matter of prominence for the celebrities that get featured too, said Sonya V Kapoor and Amrita Mendonza, founders of M5 Entertainment, a celebrity and brand collaboration agency. “There is appeal for a platform in getting celebrities on board that otherwise may not be currently associated with it through specific content plans, it is a form of validation. For a celebrity, there is appeal in being part of conversations that revolve around this business that also open up avenues for future collaborations,” Kapoor and Mendoza said.

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First Published:22 Mar 2022, 01:28 AM IST
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