Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bollywood INC.

Debanjana Sinha, Priyanka Pandit, Samita Patnaik, Varshik N | IIMS

There has been a paradigm shift over the years as to how business is conducted in Bollywood. Professionalism and a sense of identity have been the outcome of the increased corporate presence in the tinsel-town. The multiplex and mall culture have brought a new segment of audience for the film makers and encouraged them to be innovative in their product design as well as promotions. The exciting times for Bollywood Inc. have only started…
With over a 1000 movies releasing annually, the Indian Film Industry, popularly known as Bollywood, is the second largest in the world. Even though India sees the largest movie tickets sales, the market penetration is still low. According to FICCI, the Indian film industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.6% reaching to Rs. 185 billion in 2013 from the present Rs. 107 billion in 2008.

Traditionally, Bollywood has been dominated by either family-run production companies or independent producers. The marketing and branding often relied on the shoulders of individual “stars” or the music content of the movie. Movies usually catered to mass markets with hardly any effort to differentiate and target a specific audience. The last two to three years have seen a tremendous shift with increasing corporatization of the industry. But the seeds were sown 10 years back when Sushma Swaraj, then the Union Information and Broadcasting minister, accorded “industry” status to the business of film making. It allowed filmmakers to fund their productions from legitimate sources and provided the opportunity for banks and financial institutes to invest in movies. The film industry was brought under the purview of FICCI and was made a part of a larger FICCI Entertainment Committee.

The year 2008 saw many global players entering the Indian Film Industry. The most notable was Walt Disney, which produced and released its first film in India Roadside Romeo with the leading player Yash Raj films. Warner Bros also released its film made in association with Ramesh and Rohan Sippy: Chandni Chowk to China in January 2009. It ventured in India as distributors with the film Saas, Bahu Aur Sensex. Fox STAR Studios, a joint venture between Twentieth Century Fox and the Star Entertainment has tied up with the immensely successful director Vipul Amrutlal Shah for a multiple-film exclusive deal. Even Indian filmmakers are going global with UTV India collaborating with 20th Century Fox for M. Night Shamaylan’s The Happening. Anil Ambani owned Reliance Big Entertainment struck a deal worth US$ 1.5 billion with Steven Speilberg’s DreamWorks SKG to set up a new DreamWorks studio in Los Angeles
The dynamics of movie marketing in India have changed enormously with both domestic and international houses going for professional and innovative strategies. Digital marketing is one such example. Corporates are investing huge amounts on online platforms to reach and interact with around 50 million Indians accessing the internet. Digital promotions and viral marketing go hand in hand and can have a huge impact. Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na (UTV Motions Pictures) used the eye blaster technology for the first time in Bollywood, which caused Imran Khan come alive to interact with the user on his desktop, walk on the website and knock on the screen and even move to the tune of a song from the movie.

With the slowdown looming over Bollywood last year, corporates relied more on product placements in their movies to generate greater revenues. In this form of marketing, branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of advertisements, such as movies, the story line of television shows, or news programs. In-film placement gets brands a better recall value, provided the communication is aligned well with the theme and is also more cost effective than the conventional methods. Several production houses utilized this concept of co-branding including UTV, which tied up with Motorola for Delhi 6.
Corporate biggies like Yash Raj films have begun to segment their audiences and are deviating from their tried and tested formula of romantic movies in order to fill all the niches. Indian public is now exposed to different genres and styles and they expect good scripts ranging across varying storylines. Filmmakers can no longer ignore the diverse needs and are producing movies accordingly. For e.g., New York was targeted at a younger audience whereas Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic was positioned as a family movie. This trend is getting increasingly common, with most of the production houses diversifying their product portfolio to reach greater number of audiences.

An added advantage of corporatization of Bollywood is that these businesses possess the entire product mix needed to market the film including state of the art studio facilities, distribution rights, movie promotion campaigns, and online music and DVD sales etc. This integrates and streamlines the entire value chain involved in the film making process. This helps in a huge decrease in the average production time for a movie. Thus, the film budget is utilized in the efficient use of technology and marketing. Such developments also have the potential to minimize piracy which drains large amounts of revenues from Indian Film Industry. Digitization (in which the projection of the movie is in digital format, without the need of actual film prints) would not only help in speedy distribution to all the parts of the country but would also minimize the time frame for piracy.

If one looks at the bigger picture, it can be comprehended that corporatization is helping in branding Bollywood itself. Since the phenomenon started in the early years of the millennium, the presence of the Indian Film Industry is being increasingly felt at international film festivals and awards like the Cannes and the Academy Awards. There is an increasing sense of uniformity in the erstwhile unorganized and fragmented Bollywood with new standards being on par with those at the international level.
With the great financial backing to the producers and directors, we can expect more innovative marketing campaigns, better audio and visual quality and last but not the least original and revolutionary stories. The Indian Film Industry is ready to reach newer heights not only in terms of quantity but quality too. The era of Bollywood Inc. has arrived.

UTV Spotboy

UTV has been a premier name in the Indian entertainment scene, whether on TV with serials like Shanti or on the big screen with hits like Rang De Basanti. Credited with pioneering Hollywood concepts such as co-financing, diversified revenue models and brand extensions in India; in 2007 it launched UTV Spotboy which has since then delivered critically acclaimed hits like Dev D. and Welcome to Sajjanpur. Dev D. was made on a paltry Rs 10-crore budget, went on to pull Rs 20-22 crore from the box office and reinforced the sub-branding decision.
The production company promotes quality workers in the film industry, without looking at either their age or
their experience. Welcome to Sajjanpur by the legendary Shyam Benegal with a strong script not only drew audiences to the theatres but also won critical acclaim at international festivals. On the other hand, Aamir, a movie made entirely by debutants-from the lead actor to the director- talked about the sensitive issue of terrorism and religion. Not only do such niche movies capture the multiplex crowd; in their after-life, they also earn through the sale of TV rights, home videos, merchandise and games. UTV Spotboy plans to explore newer revenue opportunities like pay-per-view on DTH.
Film-making at UTV Spotboy is a matter of tight shooting schedules unlike the ‘chalta hai’ attitude of the Bollywood of yore. Vikas Behl, the CEO of UTV Spot Boy says “We can’t let money go waste by over-extending our shoots and paying extravagant sums to market the film.”For content development, there is a tie-up with Virgin Comics to focus on Indian superhero characters. Arjun, an animated movie, will be the first in this series.
Apart from being made on small budgets with experimental storylines, the movies from the UTV Spotboy stable are also characterized by their out-of-the-box promotional campaigns.
Aamir, a thriller, used an unconventional soundtrack throughout; a sufi number was the background for the promotional video which was shot in a single go on the busy streets of Mumbai. Shreyas Talpade, the protagonist of Welcome to Sajjanpur visited the Mumbai GPO and wrote letters; just like his reel persona Mahadev who is the village letter-writer.
However, the coming-of-age of Indian movie marketing was marked by the innovative “Shockvertising” for the movie Dev D. The movie attracted a huge traffic on its official website and on the ‘Lustline’ on phone as well, for hearing the lead character Chanda talk dirty.
Shikha Kapur from UTV said, "From the beginning we have been a bit outlandish on the promotion of Dev.D.” So the movie with the tagline “Come Fall in Lust” saw the premiere invites including a pack of condoms to promote the cause of safe sex along with the movie. Even the pre-release party was held at a tattoo-parlor, with the lead actor Abhay Deol cutting the ceremonial cake with a tattoo machine!

EROS International

An established global player in the fast-growing Indian media and entertainment arena, Eros operates in more than 50 countries. It works with the vision of integrating the fragmented industry and to achieve the same, it extensively uses technology and innovation while implementing vertical integration.
Eros has played a major role in popularizing Indian cinema in the global market, courtesy its strong content library and distribution. With around 30-40 film releases a year, of which 10 have global theatrical releases; it makes sure that it caters to multi-faceted customers in the global market. Leveraging their extensive network Kambakht Ishq was released across an unprecedented 2000 plus screens worldwide, making it one of the widest releases in recent times. This translates to 1400 screens in India and over 600 overseas. The reach of Bollywood is now better than ever before.
Eros concentrates equally on tech-savvy consumers - provides free online content from the Eros movie catalogue of various titles, music videos, behind the scenes, ‘making of movie’ footage & even events such as IIFA. The video stream is supported by periodic advertisements - a model similar to the television model. They also offer rental without advertisements under different schemes. With ‘Om Shanti Om’, for the first time, a full length Bollywood movie was made available on the Apple iTunes Video Store. In 2008, the smash hit Heyy Babyy earned the distinction of having the first global release of a Bollywood film on Blu-ray disc format. Their collaboration with Sony Entertainment and Lionsgate will open new opportunities for the Indian Cinema and also help create market for Hollywood in India.
Film promotion is now a mixture of innovation and technology. Eros has increasingly been practicing digital marketing – almost 20% of its marketing budget is allotted to the same. It makes use of websites like MSN, Rediff, AOL, Yahoo to markets its videos and also ropes in Bollywood Hungama, Orkut, and Facebook for online activities. It is the first company, of the Indian entertainment sector, to launch an official channel on YouTube. Love Aaj Kal was promoted across three digital platforms – mobile, internet and DTH- in association with Hungama Digital Media. Development of games with the central idea of a Bollywood movie is also not uncommon.
Aladin, a family movie with target customer of children & their guardians, was promoted by teaming up with Baskin Robbins and Godrej Appliances. Baskin Robbins introduced three new flavors with names associated with the lead characters of the movie. Eros also launched a Godrej-Aladin ‘Make a Wish’ offer which granted the customers three wishes – acting in a Bollywood blockbuster, dinner with Amitabh Bachchan (who plays the genie in the movie) and free home appliances. Another innovative promotion effort was creating a band, “ADZ – Rising” for Aa Dekhen Zarra. The band after the launch, performed in some of the hotspot of various cities all the while being accompanied by Neil Nitin Mukesh.
Eros, has many times helped in giving Bollywood a face-lift. It was the first to take Indian cinema to the multiplexes. It has formed joint ventures with Ayngaran (its counterpart in Kollywood) and EyeCube –a state of the art visual studio. This would not only open up a new section of market for Eros but also help in consolidating the much fragmented Indian film industry. Considering the high growth rate of the TV industry, Eros has undertaken a series of television syndication deals with Star India Pvt Ltd, Sony Entertainment Television and Sahara Television. Growth in revenue from this segment was better than that from theatrical and digital segments. In the period 2007-09, television segment exhibited a growth of $42.9m while theatrical and digital segments showed a growth of $25.2m and $22.3m.
Eros in the course of its 30 years existence has made tremendous contribution to the industry and was acknowledged for the same at a recent IIFA function. Bollywood continues to grow with the corporate leading the way. Hope this teamwork translates India into “creative superpower”

Percept Picture Company

Animation has traditionally been one of the most successful forms of entertainment worldwide. From the time that Walt Disney introduced the first commercially successful animated cinema, it was largely positioned as movies that kids love to watch. However Hollywood has been largely successful in creating a wider appeal for this genre of movies. Movies like Shrek, Up, Monsters Inc. etc. have generated huge box office receipts and some have even become established franchisees in Hollywood.
This success however could not be replicated by the Indian film industry. Bollywood was so immersed in its formulaic school of film making that it missed out on creating new audiences through this medium. But all that seems to have changed with the entry of corporate film studios into the mix. Animation seems to be the next great frontier with everyone from the venerable Yash Raj Studios to smaller studios like Toonz Animation testing the animation waters in India. While their efforts have met with mixed success, it seems clear that animation is the way to go as far as Bollywood is concerned.
This trend of animation in India was started by the Percept Picture Company which in association with Sahara Motion Pictures and Silvertoons produced India’s first certified full length animation feature, Hanuman.
The Percept Picture Company was formed in 2002. It is not a pure movie house but rather has a mix of products including Television Software, Ad Film Production, Live Events and Motion Pictures. It is this depth in its product mix that gives it a greater leverage as a corporate brand. It claims to be India’s first integrated entertainment content creation, aggregation

and distribution conglomerate. Percept Picture Company is a division of Percept Limited, a huge entertainment, media and communications company. This financial base gives the Percept Picture Company a huge reserve of cash from which they can use to strengthen their position in the Indian film industry.
Hanuman was released in 2005 and met with instant success earning almost Rs. 15 crore in revenue at the box office. The producers of the movie did not follow the niche marketing strategy but pushed the movie toward a wider mass audience. This move represented a major shift in the thinking of film marketers as previous successes like Shrek were released only in the metros as it was estimated that these films would not find an audience outside the cosmopolitan elite. But the success of Hanuman proved them wrong with a significant percentage of its revenues coming from the tier 1 and 2 cities. This showcased to the world that there was a significant market lying untapped in the Indian heartland. This identification of a huge latent market played a major part in spurring the animation industry into action.
The film had a merchandising strategy that followed a symbiotic approach i.e. merchandise like the Hanuman dolls were used to promote the film and the dolls themselves proved to be major hits in their own right thus increasing the revenue channels for the company. The success of the film in turn increased the sales of the dolls leading to a virtuous circle that exponentially increased the overall revenues of the film.
Non-ticketing sales form a major part of the film’s overall revenues and the studio tied up with Microsoft to screen Hanuman on Xbox Live and the television premiere too was promoted with the help of the “Hanuman Dekho, Lanka Jao” that used the Internet to target specific interest groups of children.
Thus the movie Hanuman played a huge role in changing the face of movie marketing in India and facilitated the transition of Bollywood into a modern and dynamic industry.

1 comment:

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