In the current era, just making a good film isn’t enough, reaching that film to the audience is of even more prime importance. Most of the big stars and producers have realized that and have been spending time and efforts towards marketing their films. Stars like Ajith, who still feel that a good film will take care of itself, are very rare. Stars like SRK, Ranbir and Suriya are more the norm.
But, film marketing as a culture hasn’t picked up in Tamil cinema. By marketing, Tamil producers still mean the mandatory wall posters, pre-release press meets, interactions on FM radio stations, TV promos and the interviews given by stars to websites and newspapers.
In stark contrast to this is the Bollywood marketing culture where in some cases, the marketing budget is about 40% of the total budget. For small budget films, the marketing expense is sometimes more than the cost of production itself.
In Hollywood, the general norm is about 30 to 40% of the total movie’s budget being allocated for marketing and promotions. But, in Tamil cinema, that is not the case. Of course we can argue that the reach of Tamil films is very narrow, compared to Hindi films and so producers can’t afford to spend so much on marketing.
Promisingly, the collections of some big heroes’ Tamil films, match up to their Hindi counterparts in prime overseas markets like US and UK. In countries like Srilanka, Malaysia and Singapore, Tamil films dominate and in Japan, our superstar has exclusive domination rights.
In such a promising scenario, stars and producers are waking up to newer trends like the amazingly versatile and flexible internet medium. Bollywood spends up to 15% of the total budget on digital marketing. This constitutes almost half the total marketing budget. The logic is simple. The youth in their 20s and 30s are the prime target audience nowadays and they are prominently on the internet discussing about a whole lot of things.
Trailers on YouTube are the most cost effective way to reach the target audience – this youth who flock to the theaters in the first weekend.
With the reducing life cycle of movies at the theaters, it becomes a necessity to attract maximum audience in the first 3 days. 100 days is no longer the norm. In Hindi cinema, 100 crores net collection is the new silver jubilee. In the same way in the regional movie markets, earlier the break-even stage, greater is the success.
Gaming is another versatile solution that has been used by Bollywood movies since the past decade. Instant recall would give you web and mobile games made for movies like Ra One (even a PlayStation game was made), the Don movies, Dhoom 2, Ghajini, Agent Vinod, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Singham and Krrish to name a few.
Gaming catered to a new target audience that hasn’t seen Hindi films religiously – the geeks who are big time into games and who treat Hindi films as an assault to their senses. Games based on movies definitely up the curiosity levels of such people. For the general masses, games still aren’t a big decision making factor. They look for pure entertainment. But, gaming as a marketing tool for movies is definitely IN and will pick up in the years ahead.
Back home in the Tamil industry, Billa 2 is expected to open the floodgates. An online and mobile game based on Billa 2, developed by Hungama was recently launched by one of the lead actress, Bruna Abdullah. Earlier, an exclusive Billa 2 beach calendar was launched featuring both the actresses. In that sense, the team of Billa 2 has opened up the mindset of Tamil producers by doing something different. They are already exploring the social media space with Billa 2 fan pages getting amazing response from the fans. Their YouTube channel is also a major hit with both the teaser and theatrical trailer creating records for hits garnered. They have also launched digital posters, teasers of the songs and small promos on their YouTube channel. Definitely proactive and something different.
Come Friday 13th, all these focused marketing activities are expected to bear fruition at the boxoffice.
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