Even before the Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif starrer Bang Bang hit the screens on October 2 this year, it was said that the Rs.140 crore film recovered a good amount of the budget. Apparently producer Fox Star Studios sold the satellite rights to sister concern Star India which will have exclusive rights to the movie for a period of ten years, airing the film across their network. With the home video and music rights the studio, earned ` 50 crore. In addition, Baggit one of the largest selling bag brands became the official partner. But there’s more—H& R Johnson whilst promoting Johnson Tiles did an in-film branding and Volvo Auto India promoted their stylish Volvo S60 which had Roshan and Kaif driving it in the film. What makes all such associations significant is the fact that they earned Fox a big slice of the non-box-office revenues. However, the spokesperson for Fox Star Studios did not confirm these deals. Then there were international rights, which brought in good revenue thereby lowering the studio’s chances of losing money had the film not fared well at the box-office.
In fact, all these pre-licensing deals and sources of revenues, which include the traditional ways like home video, internet, digital, in-flight, overseas and merchandising helps studios generate additional revenue and ensure that they recover almost 40-50 per cent (with almost 35 per cent per cent coming from satellite rights) of the production cost of a film before it is released. The revenue helps diminish a films dependence on box-office collections by almost 50 per cent and helps the production houses limit losses to 10-15 per cent! In fact, the advent of new emerging platforms like film placements, merchandising rights and brand appearances and technologies will pave the way for newer streams. Innovations like 3G and 4G will change the dynamics of the movie watching experience, creating new access points for consumers across the world.
“At Disney India, with a strong slate of 10-12 movies a year and the heft of a strong distribution team worldwide, we have the advantage of exploring multiple revenue streams beyond theatrical and television revenues. The box-office continues to contribute significantly, however newer avenues have emerged in the past few years and have been seeing steady growth. I see it as an evolution of the movie business. Few such avenues are hotel rights, airline rights, multiple music publishing rights, home video rights, electronic sales through rights, VOD rights, clip rights, sync rights within other content like other movies or ads or TV shows, remake rights, merchandising rights and many more,” says Amrita Pandey, VP & Head (Marketing & Distribution), Studios, Disney India.
A classic case this year is Viacom 18 Motion Pictures’ Mary Kom, that had over 20 major brand associations that generated about Rs. 20 crore which was more than the budget of the film! The brands include Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, Mother Dairy, Iodex, Havmor Ice Cream, Usha International and Tata Salt among others and 14 other brands too came on board as media partners.
Then there was Ajay Devgn’s Singham Returns made on an estimated budget of Rs.115 crore. The satellite rights of the film were reportedly sold for Rs. 40 crore to Star India, besides film placements and merchandising.
“In-film placements is being followed extensively in recent times. In Singham Returns, brands such as Police watches, TATA motors and Sirtex vests were placed along with many others. Merchandising rights is another very prevalent means of adding to the collection. Often trendsetting fashion and apparels are adapted to create an exclusive range inspired by the movie. Also, product merchandising is another avenue of generating funds and increasing the popularity of the brand. Taking the example of the Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha starrer, Holiday : A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, we tied up with Vishal Fashions for an exclusive range of ethnic women wear inspired by the movie. For Singham Returns, we created a wide range of movie merchandise such as mugs, sling bags, posters, etc. that was retailed across key stores and online.” said Sameer Chopra, Marketing Head, Reliance Entertainment.
When associating with brands, one is in-film branding where the brand is showcased in the film, and could generate revenue fromRs. 25 lakh to one crore per brand, depending on the brand and the exposure in the film. The other is out-film where the brand is associated with the marketing initiative and could bring in higher revenue—up to three to four crore, all depending on the creatives and the brands.
Brand appearances are when during the course of promoting the movie, there are strategic brand endorsements and appearances at events that are planned to push the co-brand campaigns. Sometimes, such appearances are monetised depending on the role of the talent at such events.
This trend of multiple revenue streams that started in a big way about four years ago is a breather for producers and studios, as earlier the revenue from a film depended completely on the box-office performance of a film, and producers ran into huge losses if their films failed at the box-office.
Rudrarup Datta, Head, Marketing and Promotions,Viacom18 says that there are many sources outside the conventional theatrical release, satellite rights and music rights that can generate revenue, but in India, it is at a very nascent stage. “One hardly uses those methods. Whether it is launching a merchandise or game along with a film, these methods are usually used as marketing mechanism rather than revenue generating methods,” says Datta, agreeing that if proper planning is put into place, one can easily mint money with these models.
He mentions the recent trend of launching books around films, like the Making of Gangs of Wasseypur and Special 26. “It is again a very good method to generate revenue outside of the conventional routes, but the unfortunate part is that these models are not promoted well,” he says. According to him, to generate money out of these non-traditional methods, people associated with the film will have to keep promoting these things even after the release of the movie which rarely happens.
As for newer revenue streams, digital exploitation is the next big thing according to Chopra.
— With inputs from Karan Shah