Mumbai: India is the world’s largest producer of films (by volume) and Bollywood, the most dynamic cinema industry. With over a thousand movies a year, producers are going all out to gain the audience’s attention. Film promotion – now as important as actual making of the film – has evolved from posters, hoardings and print ads to teasers, trailer, promotional tours, star interviews, music launch and reality shows.
New and social media are the latest addition in movie marketing. According to a report by Hungama Digital Media, around 81 per cent of the online Indian population engages in some activity on the web, making it an ideal place for the film marketers. The digital renaissance has given rise to multiple platforms – RSS feeds, blogs, dedicated websites, movie-based game sites, mobile apps and more. Today, every Bollywood release is preceded by online chats with cast and crew, digital fan clubs, star posts on micro blogging sites and an active Facebook page.
But, with movies allocating a heavy percentage to digital promotion, film makers and producers are in search of innovative marketing strategies to attract the audience. Film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo got the who’s who of Bollywood grooving to its title track with multiple celebrities emulating the title track’s dance steps on Twitter and Dubsmash. Anurag Kashyap and Shahid Kapoor conducted Facebook Live chats to promote their movies Raman Raaghav and Udta Punjab respectively. Actress Richa Chadda also conducted a Live Twitter chat to directly connect with her fans and promote her upcoming work.
Recently VMate, a movie platform, used Danmaku chat with Jimmy Shergill for the online release of Madaari. Danmaku, which means “bullet curtain”, is a commentary sharing system in which viewers can plaster comments directly on top of an uploaded video. In China, Bilibili is catching a lot of youth attention for live texting in movie halls.
Social media, with its interactive power, is now a game changer for audience engagement. Movie marketers will continue to experiment with various platforms in an effort to draw more crowds.