Hype Machine

Television channels are devising special marketing campaigns to promote film premieres on television

Published: August 26, 2013 4:56 am

In July,Sony MAX launched several mobile and internet apps that revolved around “love”. Also,among other things,the team strategically placed canter vans outside colleges in a few metro cities with billboards covered with roses. They,then,encouraged the youth to pluck the roses off the billboard,an activity meant to serve two purposes — the rose could be presented to a loved one and the process of plucking the flower would help unveiling the billboard. A few lucky youngsters even found free dinner coupons stuck to the rose.

The idea was to connect with the youth so as to garner the maximum possible viewership for the television premiere of Aashiqui 2. The film fetched a sweet 5.3 rating for Sony MAX when it was telecast on July 28.

With production houses demanding a premium from television networks in exchange of satellite rights of popular films,the channels are working to maximise their gains too. In order to do so,special marketing campaigns are being devised ahead of the TV premiere that will create curiosity regarding the telecast.

Take for instance Zee,which in a run-up to the TV premiere of Barfi!,got young men on bicycles — dressed like Ranbir Kapoor’s character in the movie — distribute boxes of sweets to passersby in multiple cities. Ahead of Dabangg 2’s premiere on Star earlier this year,the network ran extensive Twitter contests where they gave out Dabangg merchandise to the winners.

The surprising aspect is that the films have all exhausted their theatrical runs and yet,channels are willing to invest in the marketing. Vaishali Sharma,marketing head of Sony MAX,explains that the television audience is much larger than the theatre-going public. Also,she adds that the potential to bring them in is higher as there is no extra cost for viewing the film and families can watch it together. “Movies,like any other show,are a product and a good marketing plan can help push it to the consumers,” she explains.

However,Akash Chawla,marketing head of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL),says,“Each film needs to be treated as an individual product and the campaign should be designed accordingly.”

So apart from Barfi! ZEEL,which has launched a subscription movie channel ‘& Pictures’ recently,also extensively promoted English Vinglish and ABCD. For the former,the channel arranged for viewers to sign up for free English speaking classes and dance classes were conducted for the latter. The Avengers premiere on Star Movies was preceded by a social media campaign where trivia regarding the film as well as super heroes was shared with fans.

In fact,Kevin Vaz,the business head of the English channels under Star India network,believes that it helps to maintain a two-way communication with the audience throughout. The channel,in 2011,introduced the concept of “Chillout Nights” where they arrange for food,beverages and party kits at the residence of select fans from across Delhi,Bangalore,Mumbai and Kolkata in order to enhance the experience of a film’s TV premiere. “We want viewers to celebrate these exclusive experiences within the comfort of their homes,” he says.

Often,the film’s cast and crew too,go out of their way to aid the TV premiere. For instance,Aashiqui 2 actors Aaditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor shot special ads and segments.

R Balki,the producer of English Vinglish,came up with special posters for public spaces such as one with the text “Queue-Vueue” for a space where people were expected to queue up. Ayan Mukerji,whose Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was banned from TV release unless the reference to the syrup brand Rooh Afza was not removed,has edited several minutes of the film to accommodate the court order.

Explains Sharma,“Money earned from selling the satellite rights make up for a decent chunk of revenue for filmmakers — they don’t mind making such efforts because if the film finds repeat value on TV,it brings them royalty too.”

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