Planet Bollywood
The Role of Marketing in Bollywood
- Pankaj Kumar Sinha           Let us know what you think about this feature article

In the earlier days filmi posters were good enough for promotion of films and the films used to run for weeks. Those were the eras of golden jubilees. The film actors had an aura about them. Media was also not that vast. There were a couple of film magazines and few newspapers here and there. When television came in India prominently, there were programmes like ‘Chitrahaar’ showing the songs of upcoming films. There were not many theatres and ‘Doordarshan’ was the only television channel for entertainment. With the advent of television boom programmes showcasing trailers of upcoming films was the beginning of marketing in the Indian film industry.

Today, television has become bigger then cinema. You have so many channels catering to different tastes for every audience. You also have internet, which is another golden form of entertainment. Television and Internet has become a big challenge for Indian films. But now the film industry is trying to take advantage of this by selling their movie rights to television channels for big money before the release of the film.

Today, the audience has changed in India. They are more educated, critical and want value for their entertainment. They also want variety. Today the audience can’t accept any third rate films. They want action films matching Hollywood standards and the filmmakers trying new horizons. They want to get away from stereotypical movies and instead focus on newer stories coming up. They want to see actors doing different kind of roles. The current generation of actors will have to explore different kind of cinema otherwise the audience is ruthless.

Today the trailer of the film and promotion of songs before the movie is not good enough for garnering audience. Soon, the marketing of films will take half the budget of the production. The actors and filmmakers will have to learn the tricks of marketing from experts and use them while promoting the films. The marketing campaign has to capture the imagination of audience. There are so many films being made in Bollywood, Hollywood and regional cinema. There are almost 3 to 4 new releases every week. How many movies can we watch? The best marketed movie has the best chance to do well at the box office. Today, it is an era of instant gratification. It means the initial box office collection is the only key for movies to do well.

Let’s not forget video piracy, which makes a large dent into the industry earnings. These days, you are able to download the movie on first day of release. Why would you need to go to the theatre? Yu can buy a biryani and beer for the same money and watch the movie at home. This trend also demonstrates that television shows will also need marketing.

The marketing for movies or television shows has to be unique and innovative to catch the attention of people. In today’s time, catching the people’s attention is the biggest challenge. The audience is easily bored. It needs constant variety of entertainment. The routine media interviews have also become boring. The media needs to ask more interesting questions to these stars. Shahrukh Khan is the king when it comes to marketing and his sense of humor helps him in his strategic (marketing) techniques in the film industry. Many actors need to learn these skills from him to market their movies in a better way.

Akshay Kumar leaving his marketing campaign in between for his films Joker and One upon a Time in Mumbai Again has set a very bad example. Some times the marketing of average products can also turn profitable. Actors should never leave their producers in the lurch. Marketing can be a tough job and can be tougher if you don’t believe in your product. It’s not about doing 3 or 4 films a year but doing 1 or 2 films which have been marketed well and can earn bigger revenues.

However in today times, the marketing of the film is equally important as creative part. You can’t ignore the fact and our actors will have to expertise themselves with the fundas of marketing their movies. You can easily notice that lot of actors are uncomfortable marketing their films and find it tougher interacting with media and promoting their films constantly. It’s not about making of the product but selling of the product counts. How well you sell is the key?


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