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PMMAO 2011 CINEMA REVIEW : Multi-screens: many takers

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Main Zandu Balm Hui, Darling Tere Liye’ – did the magic for both Dabangg and Zandu. Dabangg was the year’s biggest hit and the sales of Zandu balm zoomed over 40 per cent post-release the Salman Khan-starrer movie.

Be it in-film branding or off-screen marketing, the year 2010, undoubtedly, proved to be a good year for the medium. Ad-spend on the medium grew by 15 per cent during last year and the medium re-gained its momentum that it lost during the slowdown and the following year.

According to the annual Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2011, advertising revenue on the medium grew by Rs 15 crore to corner Rs 118 crore out of the total ad spends of Rs 23,646 crore in the year 2010.  The share of the medium in the overall ad pie, however, shrank by  0.1 per cent.

“Cinema advertising in last 12 months has not just confined to on-screen or off-screen advertising, but it became an integrated solutions provider catering to clients’ needs and objectives,” Says Arun Tyagi, Group Head – Media & Business Head – Big Cinemas.

 

More hits

As marketers increasingly look to explore new ways to engage with consumers through cinema, the film industry put together a good show in the year 2010 with a number of hits.

Film trade analyst, Komal Nahata, says the year 2010 was a good year for the industry. “More hit films and subsequently footfalls in 2010 as compared to previous year, also brought marketers close to cinema theatres,” he says.

Box-office kept rolling with mass-appealing movies like Dabangg, Band Baaja Baraat, Pipli Live, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, My Name is Khan, Rajneeti and Golmaal-3. Along these Bollywood hits, audience also liked and appreciated the Rajnikanth-starrer, Robot.  The box-office records also suggest that a low-budget movie yet with strong content can sustain the Friday-frenzy of new releases. Case in point  is Udaan which also scored high in the prestigious Star Screen Awards and Zee Cine Awards for 2010.

The growing number of multiplex screens, which are expanding rapidly in major metropolitan cities as well as Tier-II and Tier-III cities, also gave marketers reasons to look more seriously into the medium, which is getting organised by every year.  With leading players like Big Cinema, Fun Cinema, Fame cinema,  Inox, PVR  and Cinemax,  there are about 900 multiplex screens in India. According to industry estimates, the number is expected to touch 1,400 screens by the year 2013.

“The growth last year has been very good for us and I think for all the major players the year has been good in terms of advertisement on cinema. In comparison to year 2009, which was marred by  strikes by film producers and distributors, 2010 has produced good results and we registered a growth of 12-15 per cent in our advertising revenue,” says Vishal Anand, Senior Vice President, Sales, Fun Cinema, a chain of 28 multiplex with a total of 93 screens.

Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax India, agrees, as he says, “Cinema advertising has seen a good growth in the last one year with advertisers endorsing the medium firmly. The introduction of digital projectors has helped the medium both in terms of material and control. Off-screen business has seen a lot of innovation on interactivity and overall off-take.”

A ride on ads

The strong state of economy and post-recession positive sentiment in the market also helped the medium to get back to its growth path.

Getting precise with Big Cinema’s growth figures, Tyagi of Big Cinemas, says, “The YOY ad revenue growth has been quite encouraging for us. In the current fiscal year i.e. till Dec 2010, we have managed a 47 per cent growth as compared to the period, last year. The growth for the same period in the previous year was just 27 per cent.” Big Cinema, a division of Reliance MediaWorks, has over 250 screens spread over 78 cities in India.

Advertising revenue for Cinemax India, which has a pan India presence with 99 screens with 31 multiplexes, also grew by over 20 per cent. And much of this is coming from non-metros as well.

The ad-revenue for multiplexes and organised players, however, counts for just 10-15 per cent of the total revenue. The rest comes from ticket sales.  Vishal Anand of Fun Cinema points out, “The ad revenue, combining the on-screen ads and off-screen ads in and around multiplexes, counts for 11-12 per cent of the total revenue.”

The ratio of advertising revenue generated from on-screen to off-screen is 45:55, he adds.

New avenues

The new off-screen and on-screen marketing opportunities are also bringing varied options to marketers to associate with the medium. Tyagi says that the medium has evolved into a unique one. “This is the only medium which offers possibilities of engaging with audience, exchanging ideas with them and let them experience the marketing exercise.”

For example, Fun Cinema is associated with different brands in different ways. It took a marketing initiative, wherein the chain offered the Priority Banking Customers of Axis Bank one ticket free with the purchase of one ticket for its Friday shows. For other days of the week, the chain offered them a 30 per cent discount. “We also allowed Axis Bank to create a small office section in some of our multiplexes,” says Vishal Anand of Fun Cinema. Another tie-up was with Tata Salt, where all the popcorn packs across the chain were branded with ‘Desh Ka Namak’ slogan.

In an on-screen branding activity with HDFC Life, the multiplexes of the chain played the punch-line “Sar Utha Ke Jiyo” of HDFC campaign every time the national anthem was played in the beginning of each show.

As Ford launched Figo, the automaker associated with the chain to display and showcase the car inside Fun Cinema multiplexes.

PVR chain also brought some innovative solutions for marketers. For example, Maruti Suzuki used the 5.1 surround sound technology of PVR Cinemas to promote the launch of the New Zen. The innovation featured an astonishing combination of SFX and VFX. An ignition sound was played from one side of the auditorium speakers, making the audiences believes as if someone has just started a car. The SFX was then played around the auditorium, travelling from one speaker to another, giving an impression as if the car was driven around the theatre itself. Right after that, a visual was played on the screen showing the New Zen running from one end of the screen to the other end, making the viewers believe as if the car just took a round of the auditorium and drew away. This was all done to give the message that the New Zen was coming soon.

Multiplexes are also helping the medium to serve more marketing purposes and create new advertisement avenues around the big screen. Says, Arun Tyagi of Big Cinemas, “Apart from film-screenings and experiential initiatives, alternative options are being adopted by cinema chains. By alternative options, I would mean even conferences, team building exercises, awards functions, workshops and similar activities.”

Though the much-hyped IPL fever on big screen could not find favour with the audience, players are still optimistic that all is not over for the medium with T20. “Though IPL could not bring as much audience as expected, the idea is still to mature and there is still an opportunity to pull the audience for the Mega T20 events over weekends,” hopes Anand.

 

New categories

According to Tyagi, the medium has attracted new categories in the last few years like banking and finance, telecom and entertainment.

Anand of Fun Cinema, hopes that FMCG and retail players would realise the importance of this medium and start advertising in a bigger way, soon.

Meanwhile, brand associations with films is another opportunity that marketers are finding lucrative. However, the Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook does not count that. For the record, some movies that held limelight for brand associations are My Name is Khan, Dabanng and Yamla Pagla Deewana.

Sharda Ratnam, Vice President – Branded Content, Blue Bang Media & Entertainment, says, “Co-branded campaigns help immensely in generating recall for the brands and also give them a good opportunity to co-create additional platforms like merchandise and special products.” Further, with the advent of technology, multiple avenues exist for both producers and brands to connect to their target consumer, she adds.

A positive outlook

Cinema has got back its momentum during the last one year. The Pitch Madison Advertising Outlook finds the silver screen shining more in the next 12 months. Read the Outlook section of Cinema to unfold what lies ahead for the medium in the year 2011.

About the author / 

Anuj Jain

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