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Nearly 50 per cent of a film’s marketing budget goes to television, 15 per cent to print and digital each

A report by Showbiz, The Indian Superpower, ESP Properties says that in India, marketing budgets for films have grown from 5-6 per cent of production budget to 10-15 per cent

A film spends nearly 45-50 per cent of its total marketing budget on television and 10-15 per cent each on print and digital, according to Showbiz, The Indian Superpower, ESP Properties’ report. Activations get about 25-30 per cent.

A typical, full-fledged marketing campaign begins with a teaser. The next five to eight weeks go into positioning its stars and music before the target audience. In India, marketing budgets for films have grown from 5-6 per cent of the production budget to 10-15 per cent, which is closer to the global average.

ESP Properties, the sports and entertainment programming specialist arm of GroupM, released the first edition of the entertainment marketing report Showbiz, The Indian Superpower. Segmented into three parts – film marketing, the celebrity aspect and content licensing – the first edition of the Showbiz report includes viewpoints of those who work to maximise brand value through film promotions.

The film entertainment industry is growing at 10 per cent year on year in terms of the number of films released. This opens numerous marketing opportunities for brands through alliances and content licensing. 20 per cent of films released include brand associations, where brands also share a part of the marketing budget. There is nearly 56 hours of entertainment promotion films playing cumulatively through the day across channels. Today producers are working closely with agency partners that help them achieve their marketing objectives efficiently and drive footfalls into the theatres.

Vinit Karnik, Business Head, ESP Properties, said, “The film entertainment industry is an integral part of India’s marketing landscape and drives revenue for film production and exhibition. Traditional film studios and production houses now increasingly rely on advertising and digital media interaction, coupled with research, data analytics and innovation to market movies. At ESP Properties, we bring our client brands and movie marketing together to engage an audience that is spoilt for choice with 1,000 movies released every year. Targeted marketing to the consumer has, therefore, become critical, and this report will give brands and film producers some insights into movie marketing in a media landscape that is so disruptive.”

India, as a nation, attracts a large film audience, given the popularity of the medium. As the film market grows, the audience too has moved from linear, one dimensional advertising to a multi-channel and interactive dialogue with the film and brand communities. To create deeper engagement with the audience, brands and producers are exploring content licensing as an avenue to bring film characters and storylines into true life experiences. In India, content licensing is growing at 7.4 per cent year on year, which a higher than developed markets like the USA, UK and Canada (source: The top 150 Global Licensors report, License Global 2017).

Another data point that the ESP entertainment report brings out is on celebrity endorsers. In the last 10 years, 25 per cent of brand advertising on television features a famous face. While we have seen peaks in ad creatives with celebrities during the summer and festive seasons, this trend is fast moving with the influx of digital avenues. And we see celebrities playing the role of active influencer to the brands rather than just endorsing them.

As cinema remains the No.1 choice of entertainment in the country, the ESP properties, the entertainment marketing report is brief glimpse of the trends, ideas and insights into what will drive the industry.

Few highlights of the report:

Brand Alliances:

● Total co-marketing media spends for Hindi films have reached approximately Rs 100 crore around a year, with more co-branding than in-film

● Keeping aside lack of digital boundaries and the reality of a global village, a regional film artiste still has the ability to converse directly with a specific demographic in a local language. That is why 25 per cent of Hollywood films, 15 per cent of south India films, 16 per cent of Marathi films have brand associations

• FMCG, apparel and E-commerce, are categories that are most active in in-film integrations and co-branded associations

Film Marketing:

● Placement in terms of healthy media-mix accounts for 10-15 per cent of the film’s marketing budget

● It is vital to identify and amplify the positioning of a film. Once it is identified exactly what kind of audience the film is made for, a marketer can then amplify “positioning elements” that highlight and reflect in all promotions for the film

● Partnering with emotion rather than pragmatism is what drives the business of entertainment

● A typical, full-fledged marketing campaign begins with a teaser and takes the next five to eight weeks to position its stars, music, etc.. to the target audience

Media Effectiveness:

● Making accurate predictions about the scale of a film depends not just on its cost of production but also on how the film utilises mainstream and ‘new media’ in an effective manner

● On TV and digital, the song and dialogue promotion dispersion is seen at 70:30. Assets related to music still form an integral part of film promotion, with 24x7 music channels assuming importance as vehicles of publicity

● The film’s promotion budget is higher on television (45-50 per cent) and lower on print (10-15 per cent). Digital is getting added (10-15 per cent) and activation is steady (25-30 per cent)

● The shelf life of a film in theatres is limited to two-three weeks after release (that too, only for big films). The release weekend gets heavy focus. The first weekend is also when production houses expect over 70 per cent of the total collection of the film


● Brand chooses endorsers and influencers for multiple reasons – launch, sustenance and revival

● In a celebrity endorsement, the celebrity is the face of a brand message. In influencer marketing, the influencer is perceived to be ‘creator’ of the entire message

● Woman power made it to the ‘top three’ of brand endorser list for the first time in 2017

● Shah Rukh Khan and MS Dhoni have consistently been among the top endorsers in the past decade

● An influencer’s social media presence is a huge pull for a brand or a film’s promotional plan. It also enables brands to amplify and measure the effectiveness of a campaign licensing the content

● Industry sources predict India’s licensing growth at 7.4 per cent, which is higher than the growth in USA, Canada and UK combined

● Significant players in the market that represent international and Indian IPs Green Gold who is the market leader among the others who are Disney, Dream Theatre, Viacom, Bradford Licensing, AI Licensing and Sony

● Hollywood properties dominate the licensing market. Superhero franchises and character-led entertainment takes up bulk of licensing deals. Films such as Captain America and Batman series are windfall for F&B and apparel brands

● The top 150 global licensors (which include non-film brands too) reported total retail sales of Rs 1,751,200 crore worldwide in 2017. India’s share in the global licensing pie is 5-7 per cent

● Start-up licensing agencies now eyeing the big millions with popularity of TV series such as Game of Thrones, Indian characters such as Chhota Bheem and Japanese anime such as Doraemon

Digital Marketing and Strategy

• The total number of YouTube channels in India at the end of 2016 was 13,99,000+, the views clocking in a neat 22375 crore, subscribers standing at 4118.5 lakh and uploads at a staggering 97.5 lakh. Not surprisingly, the top YouTube channel in India across categories is the one that thrives on launching some of Hindi films’ biggest assets – T-Series, followed by SET India and the children’s animation channel Chu Chu TV

• In the decade of 2007-2017, digital media strategy played a lead role in the industry, making a departure from a ‘single-event’ launch or press interaction to an entire campaign spanning weeks or months

● Hindi films’ most successful digital teams use analytic tools such as ‘Vidooly’ (for video intelligence), Lexalytics (for sentiment scores) and Buzz Engine for film promotions

● The capabilities of command centres and content analytics will increase exponentially and thus, content (shows, films, events, etc.) will be able to meet larger audiences

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