PMMAO 2010 Cinema Review: Wrecked!

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The year 2009 for Indian Cinema concludes with the troubled Bollywood taking cues from the latest blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’ and humming “All is well” as advertising on the medium dipped to a dismal low.

“The year 2009 was not a good one for the Bollywood as the industry produced mostly low-quality films which struggled to recover even their production cost,” says renowned film critic Rajeev Masand.

Though a couple of hits in the form of ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Paa’ towards the fag end of the year did bring a sigh of relief to the industry, the audience, throughout the year, kept rejecting the big starrer and  heavy budget movies one by one, hence making the advertising market on the medium too fare badly. The same reflects in the Pitch-Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2010 as well.

The ad-spend on the medium registered a negative growth of 20.15 per cent and dipped to a level lower than that of the year 2007 when it garnered a handsome Rs 104.5 crore. Even as the economy was on the recovery path, advertisers exhibited low confidence in cinema advertising.

The medium continued to hold its ad pie share of 0.6 per cent vis-à-vis year 2008, but the total ad revenue on cinema shrunk by Rs 26 crore, as it could garner only Rs 103 crore against a projected Rs 116 crore
in the mid-term review of our Pitch-Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2009.

“This was a bad year for the industry. The production cost increased but the low in the market continued for the first three quarters of the year,” says Ramesh Taurani, film producer and owner of production house, Tips.

Though FMCG remained one of the top advertising categories on the different mediums overall, its spend on cinema remained low. Also, hard negotiations during slowdown drove down rates and hence revenues.

“The economic slowdown made advertisers focus on the more visible mediums like print and TV,” says Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative Officer, Mudra Group.

“In-film advertising was also hit as overall budgets for cinema advertising came down. Advertisers did not find the medium too useful,” he adds.
Also, the two month-long conflict between film producers and multiplex owners in mid-2009, only added to the worries of the tinsel town, which was grappling to find a way to come out of the shadow
of slowdown.

A lackluster year
While movies like Kaminey, Love Aaj Kal, New York, Wanted, Wake up Sid, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Luck By Chance, Dev D and Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year, did manage to do average business, most of the films with big stars and from renowned banners failed to attract the audiences to the theatres.

The industry players cite lack of appealing themes as one of the major reason for the overall bad performance.

Devang Sampat, Senior Vice-President, Cinemax, says, “The audiences have become more quality conscious. So, the content part is becoming more important and the production houses and the producers can no longer afford to play with the audience with a repeat story.”

Film producer-director, K C Bokadia has a similar observation, “There were very few sensible films. Good music, which is the very basic to lure the Indian audience to the theatres, was rare during the year.”

However, Gautam Dutta, Chief Executive Officer, Cinemedia, PVR Cinemas, disagrees. He feels it was lack of proper marketing strategy on the part of film makers that made majority of films bite the dust. “We have had variety of films in the year gone by. Some of the films could not do well, as the film makers failed to adopt a proper marketing strategy.”

Evolving ad trends
Though the low market sentiment hit ad revenue growth of almost all the mediums, new trends in advertising, promotion and marketing evolved in the year 2009. The distributors spent heavily on the innovative ways of marketing.

“The content is always an important thing. But it does not always script success for a film. Though, the content part has evolved a lot over the years, the trends in marketing and promotions and the advertisement have witnessed a sea-change over the couple of years. The entire process of post production has been revolutionised.” says Dutta.

The trend is emerging to customise the marketing and advertising strategies, treating each film as a separate brand. “Advertisers are very particular about the kind of perception that needs to be created in the minds of the audience and who exactly, is the target audience. They are accordingly using the mediums to touch the consumers’ sentiment in the most cosy hours and hence generating their interest in the product in a subtle way,” adds Dutta.

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Anuj Jain

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