The big splashhttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/screen/the-big-splash-2/

The big splash

With television premieres of big ticket films gaining ground, Screen takes a look at the innovative strategies adopted by channels to lure the tele-viewers

Representational pic
Representational pic

Television channels are going all out to promote premiere of a film on the small screen by roping in the stars, launching online apps to staging stunts and planning interesting on-ground activities. Bollywood premieres on Hindi movie channels have been steadily growing with television premieres moving even closer to their theatrical release. Riding high on the success of movie premieres such as Singham (Sony Entertainment Television), Chennai Express (Zee TV) and Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani (SET), a slew of new Bollywood movies are being aired on Hindi movie channels with recent premieres including Holiday (Zee TV), Gunday (Zee TV), Main Tera Hero (SET), Queen (Sony Max) and Dhoom 3 (SET).
Channels are working out new strategies to coax the audience to watch these blockbusters for a second time in the comforts of their home. It wasn’t surprising to see Kangana Ranaut popping up on the television screens, enticing the audience to watch her film Queen two weeks ago. A marketing campaign was launched by the channel across social media, channels and print. The channel roped in a few celebrities including Divya Dutt, VJ Ramona, Deepti Bhatnagar, singer Shweta Pandit to speak about their struggle in life, touting it as a Queen moment in their lives. They also launched a social media campaign across Twitter where the the audience could use the hashtag #TheQueenIKnow and tweet at the channel, who in turn would air the tweets during the premiere. Using the power of social media, Sony MAX, had earlier created a benchmark by integrating and showcasing live tweets from their viewers during the premier of the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Among their other activities, Sony MAX creatively designed washrooms at malls across Mumbai to promote the television premiere of the film Darr @ The Mall in July. The mirrors of the washroom had blood soaked handprints to add to the effect. To promote Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani, the channel used the phrase, ‘Yahan Badtameezi nahi chalegi, badtameezi chalegi toh sirf MAX par’, borrowed from a song in the movie, to garner attention. The quirky campaign included the lead actor Ranbir Kapoor advising movie-goers in a nonchalant manner to switch off their mobile phones during a movie across cinema halls. Numerous autorickshaws across Mumbai and Delhi had poster from behind asking people not to do badtameezi around.
Marketing innovations for small screen premieres is increasingly becoming aggressive. Despite these films being a box-office hit, they are promoted all over again. During the premier of Chennai Express on Zee last year (October 20), the channel planned aggressive strategies to promote the movie on social media. They created a hashtag #BokwaasDictionary on Twitter and Facebook, as made popular by Deepika Padukone’s character Meenamma in the film. For on-ground activities, Zee promoted the steps of the Lungi Dance in various cities through flash mobs. Not only did they have special promos for the television premiere, an interactive app for smartphones was also launched. Subscribers to the app needed to sing along and participate in the Karaoke Championship and the highest scorer would get the opportunity to meet Shah Rukh Khan. During the premiere of Dhoom 3 on June 28, 2014, SET launched a campaign where kids aged 6 to 14 years would get an opportunity to watch the film with actor Aamir Khan at a film studio. During the commercial breaks, children between the ages of 4-14 years could participate in an interactive session with the actor over the telephone. For the television premiere of Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty on August 15 this year, Zee Cinema undertook a campaign with the message, ‘Atankwaad se Aazadi’ across various platforms in Mumbai and Mumbai Airport. The channel stoked the feeling of patriotism and chose the creative route of spreading awareness before the film was aired.
While marketing and promotions of a film gains momentum during its theatrical release, the makers continue to woo the audience for the TV premiere too. Interestingly, most these films are shown during a festive weekend, like Queen was aired on August 31, on the onset of Ganesh Chathurti. “We specifically choose the festive slot because, it guarantees viewership since most families are at home during a vacation.Big movies are typically premiered during such occasions as the weekday schedule is fixed for daily soaps. Typically, premieres are scheduled for evening or prime time slots, due to high audience availability” says Vaishali Sharma, Head, Marketing & Communications of Sony MAX.
With television emerging as the new battle ground for blockbuster films, channels are ensuring that they leave no stone unturned in creating ample buzz surrounding the premieres. As Shailesh Kapoor, CEO, Ormax Media highlights, “There’s a lot of clutter in the television medium and thus it is important to create the right noise about the acquired properties.”