Indian Movie Marketing

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Media, messages and styles used by Indian marketing communicators of Films 1
1. Overview of Indian Film Industry and Market 3
2. 4Ps concept applied on the movie industry as a whole 6
3. Overview of the film making business 8
4. Classification of movies from a producer’s or distributor’s point of view 10
5. Classification of movies as products 11
6. Publicity of movies 15
7. How different media is used for publicity of movies? 16
8. Alterative marketing methods 20
9. Music as a promotion tool 24
10. Hollywood marketing strategies in India 26
11. Messages and styles used for promotion of films 28
12. Maslow pyramid and movies 31
13. Bibliography 33

1. Overview of Indian Film Industry and Market

India is the world's largest producer of films by volume - producing almost a thousand films annually. However, revenue-wise, it accounts for only 1 percent of global film industry revenues.

Components of the Indian film industry

The Indian film industry comprises of a cluster of regional film industries, like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, etc. This makes it one of the most complex and fragmented national film industries in the world. These regional language films compete with each other in certain market segments and enjoy a virtual monopoly in certain others. The most popular among them is the Hindi film industry located in Mumbai, popularly referred to as “Bollywood”.


Out of the 200 Hindi films made in India each year, around 150 are made in Bollywood. These Bollywood films are released throughout India on both big and small screen formats, with several of them being screened overseas as well. Though there have been sporadic instances of regional films, enjoying a national release or even an overseas release, virtually all films having a national audience, are made in Bollywood. It accounts for over 40 percent of the total revenues of the overall Indian film industry, which is currently estimated at INR 59 billion. It is estimated that only INR 50 billion finds its way to the industry coffers, with the balance INR 9 billion being cornered by pirates.

Regional Films

The major regional film industries are Tamil and Telugu, which together earn around INR 15 billion, followed by Malayalam, Bengali and Punjabi. With increased viewer exposure to a plethora of entertainment options on satellite television, the number of regional films produced annually has fallen from around 800, three years ago, to around 650 currently.

English Films

Big budget Hollywood films are beginning to make a mark, with their dubbed versions making inroads into the semi-urban and rural markets. On a cumulative basis, box office collections of foreign films grew in both revenues and number of releases, from INR 1 .5 billion from 60 films in 2003 to INR 1 .8 billion for 72 films in 2004.

With around 12,900 active screens (down from 13,000 in 1990), out of which over 95 percent are standalone, single screens, India's screen density is very low. In contrast, China, which produces far less films than India, has 65,000 screens, while US has 36,000.

2. 4Ps concept applied on the movie industry as a whole


For a movie to selected by the audience on the basis of the content, it needs to be clearly identifiable in its marketing — genre, stars, story, special effects, style all need to be presented aptly. A movie product is the intellectual property that can be ported to a variety of deliverables: theatrical exhibit, non-theatrical exhibit, video tapes, DVDs, CDs of the soundtrack, collectible editions, television and cable broadcast, Internet-served etc. Then there is merchandising such as clothing, toys, games, posters. Another product dimension is that of franchise rights, endorsements, product placements and a host of offshoots that are bought and sold, leased and rented. The movie business is one of the most complexes in the communications industry because of its creativity, its diversity and its continual explosions of technological delivery options.


At first glance, pricing in the movie industry seems very standardized. At any multiplex is cinema hall, a movie ticket costs the same for all movies, doesn’t it? But if we look into the broader definition of the movie product just defined, then the prices fluctuate widely.

A distribution contract can be structured in many ways that result in very different returns for the producer, the key creative talent, and even the distributor. Elements that are negotiated include:

? Theatrical release schedules
? Territories and market segments
? Revenue splits, percentages and order of payment
? Promotion budgets (P&A)
Apart from these pre consumer stage pricing differences, we see a wide range of pricing structures such as theatrical tickets, group 4-wall rentals, title rentals, title sales, special releases, subscription services, festivals, downloads, delayed broadcasts, pay-per-view, licenses, bundled deals, cable channels and now we have movies and games on cell phones, on iPods -- on electronic billboards.

Scriptwriters sell to producers. Producers sell to investors and distributors. Distributors sell to exhibitors and chain stores and Internet dealers. Retail stores sell to communities (groups) and individuals and families. Families "sell" to friends and more family. Even word of mouth has a price.

Pricing has become a global issue. The release of a DVD has always been timed to protect the theatrical revenue model. But with piracy at record levels globally, a variety of pricing -- and timing -- strategies are being tested, like pricing the DVDs very cheaply.


With the ever-inventive entrepreneurial energy in the entertainment world, people find venues for entertainment sales not only through traditional theatres and broadcast, but on street corners, in homes, over the Internet, over phones (caller tunes), through clubs etc. Options for delivery of the movie product are exploding: movies, games, music, news, and educational content. Distribution takes place through theatres, rental stores, sell-through stores, catalogues, non-theatrical groups, the Internet, even cell phones and the latest new media gadget.


Promotion is a powerful marketing tool, not only during the premier of a new product, but throughout its lifecycle. Producers create the end-product for the consumer, but they seldom market that product directly to the consumer. They market their story to investors and distributors. Distributors market to exhibitors, retailers and sub-distributors. The theatre exhibitors, retailers, store clerks, and Internet strategists market to the end consumers. And then, to top off this complex stew, some consumers even market to other consumers – their family, friends and co-workers.

3. Overview of the film making business

This overview is required to understand the exact motivation behind the promotion and publicity of a movie.

In general the movie making business can be summarized as follows:

The scriptwriter or director or a producer comes up with a concept. The producer tells the scriptwriter to create a script based on this concept. The producer then officially hires his core team of director, scriptwriter, music director, lyricist, editor, cinematographer and choreographers. The cast for the film is decided based on the requirement of the script. This process is called casting. Location hunting is done for shooting the film. The director gives an estimated budget and schedule to the producer for the film shooting. The producer arranges finances from financers based on this budget. The film is shot. The completed film is processed in studios and the film is finally ready for release.

At this stage the publicity and promotion phase of the movie begins for the producer. The main aim of the producer is to sell his movie at a high price to a distributor. India is a vast country and the market has conventionally been divided in 9 territories by the distributors. A distributor from each territory buys the rights to distribute the film to the theatre owners in his territories. To get a high price from the distributors, the producers publicize the film in order to pull crowds to the theatres. The distributors buy the movie at a price suitable for their territory. The distributors estimate how the film could work in their territory based on the pre-release promotion of the film and the past record of the people associated with the film (For example, the banner, the director and actors). If the music of the film has done well in the market, the producer definitely gets a higher price from the distributors.

Before the release, the producers share some information of the movie to the distributors through trade guides. The trade guides give the distributors an idea about what the theme of the movie is, how the movie is being promoted, does the theme suit their territory, what theatres in their territory would be ready to screen this movie etc. The distributors compare different trade guides and decide which movie they want to buy. The distributors then release the movie prints to theatres. The distributors and theatre owners get money through the ticket sales. Producers also get a percentage share from the ticket sales.

4. Classification of movies from a producer’s or distributor’s point of view

The movies in India have been broadly classified into following categories for publicity purposes. A: Gentry movies. B: Mass movies Gentry movies are the ones which are made for the audience with special tastes. Movies for kids, college students, young couples etc fall in this category. These movies have done well recently due to the advent of multiplexes. Mass movies are made for audience who are interested in pure entertainment value of the movie. These movies appeal to a broad set of audience in the middle class and lower class of the society like the daily wage workers, rickshaw pullers etc.

5. Classification of movies as products

Here movies have been classified into different genres and there attributes which could be used for promoting movies have been identified.

I. Entertainment movies.
II. Art movies

I. Entertainment movies:

These are also called Mainstream Cinema or Commercial Cinema. These can be further divided into following categories:

1. Action / Romantic movies.

Also called Masala films, potboilers. Include Action movies and love stories. E.g.: DUS, Om Shanti Om etc

? Item numbers
? Catchy Music
? Big openings
? Action sequences
? Stardom of the lead actors plays the most important role in deciding the fate of the movie.

2. Patriotic / war movies

E.g. Border, Sarfarosh, Rang de Basanti, Lakshya, LOC, Hero, Indian, Haqeeqat, Deewar.

? Patriotic songs
? War setting
? Terrorism
? National flag
? Army setting
3. Socially relevant movies

E.g. Taare Zameen Par, Rudaali, Page3, Corporate


? Meaningful songs
? Generally star cast is not heavy.
? Generally critic’s award winning.
? Commercial success notwithstanding, social message gets a high importance.
? Mostly based on real life stories.

4. Family movies

E.g.: Hum aapke hain kaun, Hum saath saath hai, Baagbaan, Viruddh, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Waqt


? Generally, a story of a family and what happens to them in a crisis.
? Indian families and the relationships between them are highlighted
? Celebrating Indian culture using modern production values.
? Generally, a great Indian lavish wedding is also shown. Sometimes, it becomes the central theme of the movie.

5. Biographical Films

E.g. Guru, Bose the Forgotten Hero, Sardar, Gandhi, The Legend Of Bhagat Singh


? Controversies help a lot.
? Mostly facts which are unknown to general public are shown.
? Story is the main strength, followed by directors and actors involved.
? Music is generally on a back foot.
6. Comedy
E.g hungama, kunwara, Style, bheja fry, Garam Masala, hera pheri, golmaal, Chupke Chupke, Khosla ka Ghosla


? Director’s reputation as a comedy film maker.
? Funny sequences in trailers.
? Actors involved.
? Funny trailers.

7. Children’s Films

E.g. Makadi, Bhoothnath, Koi mil gaya, Hanuman

Attributes :

? Supernatural thrill.
? Child actors.
? Animated films. Cute faces of the animated characters.
? Pranks played by the characters in the movie.

8. Horror/Thriller Films

E.g. Raaz, 100 days, Danger, Bhoot, Kaun , gumnaam, mahal, woh kaun thi.


? Music which creates a suspenseful environment.
? Fast paced story line.
? Eerie sequences and songs.
? Generally challenges the audience to dare to watch them.
? Screaming trailers.
? Generally trailers shown with dark coloured background.

II. Art Cinema
E.g Fire, Ardh Satya, Astitva, Raincoat, Mandi, Dor, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer


? Taboo subjects are raised.
? Release timing of the films are mostly consistent with one or more incidents in news which are related in one way or other to the subject of the film.
? Actors are generally not from main stream cinema and are considered to be better actors then their commercial cinema counterparts.
? Controversial nature of the theme of the movie helps generate people’s interest in the film.

6. Publicity of movies

The publicity of a movie takes place at two levels:

? At producer level.
? At distributor level.

At producer level the publicity of movies is done at a large scale with a national or international scenario in consideration. The budgets at this level are very big and the media used are teaser on TV channels and cinema halls, radio, national magazines etc. The star cast of the movie is also associated with publicity at this level. This publicity is aimed at all the target audience in the country for creating a “buzz” about the movie.

At distributor level the publicity is mainly for making the target audience aware about the theatres where the movie is playing and the timings of the movies. Also, this publicity tries to reach the audience who may not have access to cable TV or radio. But the scope of this is publicity is limited to the distributor’s territory. The budgets allocated for such publicity are comprehensive but smaller than the budgets at producer level. The media used at this level are posters, hoardings, local newspapers etc.

7. How different media is used for publicity of movies?

Gone are those days when plastering a few posters on the walls and hand-painted Billboard signs were the only means available for a film’s publicity; Actors barely promoted their films, film-makers never ventured in-front of the camera and our main stream media couldn’t care less.

Today’s Bollywood presents a very different scenario. With over 1000 films releasing in a given year, all of them fighting for a common goal i.e. the box-office success, the multiplex domination – it has become a necessity for those involved, to do whatever it takes to enforce that “must-watch” feeling among the masses in order to win this very competitive rat-race. And yes, the Indian media plays a vital role in this process.

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan is a fine example of the above. His perfectly knitted marketing tactics, be it non-stop television promotions, tying up with news-channels and popular online sites, birthday celebrations with the Indian media, the 6-pack (over-toned) tag line, cricket matches and last but certainly not the least, the OSO clothes line – in short, King Khan took the job of film-marketing to a whole new level. And as a result, despite a weak storyline and very mediocre performances; Om Shanti Om ended up being a super duper box-office success.

The mainstream advertising for movies, targeted at the end users is done via TV. Trailers, songs, star appearances on TV shows, interviews, "making of", reviews and movie news, all forms a part of the promotion strategies adopted by film makers.

Movie trailers form the conventional part of advertising movies via television. Over the years trailers have been transformed into teasers, that give little info about the movie while buzz amongst the audience about the movie.

Songs have long been used to generate interest in the movie. The recent years have seen use of a special category of songs called "item songs", songs which are shot and included in the movie especially for the purpose of advertising the movie and pulling in crowds. Nowadays, these item songs are shown on TV in full length just for advertisement purpose. They have no relation whatsoever with the movie's storyline.

Then there is "special appearances" made by the actors, actresses and even the people behind the scenes – producers and directors on various TV shows, like talk shows, reality shows etc. This provides for a free publicity channel for the film makers.

The "making of" a saga which is couple of hours long shown on the TV gives an insight into what went into the production of the movie. It helps generate interest in the movie by giving away parts of the story and some scenes, making the viewers salivate to know about more.

Other Major Channels of Marketing (apart from TV)

According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India., there were approximately 132 lakh listeners of FM radio in the major metropolitan cities across India. Tie-ups with radio channels for marketing films are becoming increasingly common. Common promotional activities include on-air contests, interviews with film stars and music composers, shelling out complementary movie tickets, an option to meet the stars in person, music and movie premiere coverage, etc.

Taking the case of the tie-up between Big 92.7 FM with Yashraj Films as its exclusive on air partner for the film Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom.

The station featured interviews of Preity Zinta, Lara Dutta, Bobby Deol, and music directors Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy during the music premiere. Listeners could win a chance to be part of an exclusive music video 'Jhoom Baby Jhoom' featuring common people dancing to the title track, in addition to getting an opportunity to interact with the stars of the film.

Prior to the launch of the movie, Big 92.7 FM provided special content around dancing, featuring dance experts from Bollywood, including the film's ace choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant giving dancing tips to listeners. Also, listeners got the chance to hear each of the stars of the film all day from 9 am - 7 pm. Listeners will also got the opportunity to win prizes like free music CD’s and movie tickets of the film by participating in the 'couples contest' wherein each partner is asked questions about the other to gauge on how well they 'Jhoom together'.

Mobile phones

India is the fastest growing market in the mobile world. The dramatic evolution of communications technology, from download speeds and battery life to compact form factors, screen sizes and resolution, as well as memory enhancements, means mobile devices are now capable of delivering a compelling, high quality and uniquely personal viewing experience. Not surprisingly, ringtones, wallpapers and caller tunes are very popular nowadays. However, for mobile movie marketing there is life beyond these services. Consumers want SMS short reviews as well as schedule of theatres on the mobile. There is also scope for television channels to send out SMS alerts half an hour before a movie is going to be aired. A substantial segment of the population is favourable to games related to films. More importantly, a large population prefers to read a film’s review before seeing it. So television movie channels and film distributors need to place reviews in WAP portals that are frequently accessed. Contests and dynamic updates available on cellular networks generate repeat look ups. This way, a buzz about the theme of the movie marketed is ensured. The tactics used in promoting movies like Veer Zaara and Swades through R World consisted of automated calls from Veer Zaara stars Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta to consumers' mobile phones, followed by SMS contests, which were a huge success.


The internet is increasingly emerging as a profitable medium to create hype and promote new film. There are approximately 30-40 million internet users in India today. Internet as a medium to promote a film is a viable option as it offers a wide platform of activities like reviews, trailers, bulletin boards, email, and blog for marketing movies which in turn creates a buzz about the film. Industry experts believe that the cost effectiveness of the online medium is one of the reasons for its popularity. An online campaign on the other hand costs only one-tenth of the amount a producer will spend advertising the film in the print medium. A recent survey conducted by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) says that close to 90% internet users surf the net for movie related information and 42% of the surfers use the net for this purpose more than once a week. The survey also found that 54% of the net users watched at least one movie per month. Among the first studios to have started off promoting films on the Net was Yashraj Films. Their Mujhse Dosti Karoge went on to win the prestigious ABBY Gold award for its Internet marketing initiative in 2004. To promote Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna, the entire song Where’s the party tonight was featured on MSN’s desktop TV. MSN also designed a theme pack on Messenger based on the film’s characters. RDB’s characters wrote interactive blogs; Anthony Kaun Hai ran an online contest with winners meeting the stars. Lage Raho Munnabhai’s promotion on MSN India consisted of video clips from the film aired on desktop TV airs, and a web link to the official movie website with storyline, information on cast, crew, music, photos and screensavers, trailers, contests and interactive features. Online promotions also enable filmmakers to tap the overseas market. NRIs are also passionate about movies and like to download wallpapers, ring tones and take part in celebrity chats.

8. Alterative marketing methods


In the world of entertainment branding and promotion, where promos and trailers create viewer perceptions, teasers play a very vital role when it comes to films and their marketing.

A teaser is all about illusion and aura. It is about creating that ‘glimpse of mystery’ about the film just before its theatrical release that will eventually attract more audiences to the theatre with a motive to demystify the perception created.

A teaser for a film is essentially created to drive in the maximum number of viewers to the theatre in the first week of the film’s release. This is because post week one, the fate of the film at the box office completely depends upon its content. Thus, by using effective teasers, producers seek to drive in maximum viewers for the film during the first week and generate maximum revenue.

Creating a teaser for any film involves huge financial risk. Hence, creating it effectively becomes a must. An effective teaser needs to create a lot of anticipation. It needs to mock, annoy and arouse. Ideas need to be spinned off differently and effectively. A well knitted teaser should not steal any scene from the movie; however it has to get the core idea right. The teaser of the low-budget American horror film “The Blair Witch Project”, released in 1999 showed an “absolute black” screen powered by a strong voice over. The voice over was filled with “intense fear that generated post the completion of a summer project.

The teaser does not speak anything about the film. It only throws a punch of fear at the audience, thus encapsulating the core idea of the film - fear. This is what an effective teaser is all about. It creates a mystery about the film thereby calling the viewers to watch the film and demystify the mystical.

As aptly summed up by Frame by Frame creative director Anita Olan ,“Teasers are always the best way to engage the curious viewer; and to tempt, engage, and create anticipation amongst the viewers, one need to build effective teasers. Also remember, it’s always ok to mislead. In fact deceive the viewer first, only to leave him with a surprise at the end.”

Co-branding and Merchandising

Co-branding is an arrangement that associates a single product or service with more than one brand name, or otherwise associates a product with someone other than the principal producer. The typical co-branding agreement involves two or more companies acting in cooperation to associate any of various logos, colour schemes, or brand identifiers to a specific product that is contractually designated for this purpose. The object for this is to combine the strength of two brands, in order to increase the premium consumers are willing to pay, make the product or service more resistant to copying by private label manufacturers, or to combine the different perceived properties associated with these brands with a single product.

Points to make note of while co branding with respect to movies

Matching the target

Co-branding movies and products succeeds when the movie and the brand target the same audience. In case of movies like Krrish, children form the major audience. This means that brands targeted at children should be used to reap maximum benefit.

Also, it is mutually beneficial. Pidilite Industries’ Acron brand of “Rangeela” colours has brought out special packs based on the film. Commercials on cartoon channels are inspiring juvenile viewers to “celebrate the magic of Krrish with ‘Rangeela’ colours”. The co-branded colours are also being made available at the multiplexes where the film is being screened.

Intelligent co-branding

Using brands to promote movies can be more effective when the branding is in tune with the film. In the case of Krrish, no doubt the aura of the Superhero can be expected to rub off on the brand. However, the co-branding will work better when it is designed intelligently so that it seems natural for the brand to be associated with the film. An important variable in co-branding is “the fit between the movie and the brand”.

For example, HLL chose to associate its Lifebuoy soap brand with Krrish HLL chose Lifebuoy over the other brands since the brand is all about protection, and Krrish’s character is all about protecting the world from enemies.


Now the story does not end with the leading man and lady living happily ever after. It goes to add T-shirts, mugs and other paraphernalia.

Be it the super hero Krrish, the common men turned heroes in Rang de Basanti, the romantic pair in Fanaah or the animated god Hanuman; they can be spotted on T-shirts, on your kids toys, around youngsters’ necks, even in your refrigerators and many more such places not marked for them earlier.

Riding on the popularity of these films, makers in India are going the George Lucas (Star War maker) way whose merchandise till date has reportedly touched $20 billion in estimated revenue. The figures in India haven’t skyrocketed to such heights but with the way things are shaping up, merchandising is fast making headway.

The reasons are more than the fact that merchandise is an established revenue stream; it not just serves as link between fans and brands but also provides a great publicity base and a recall factor for the movies.

The makers of Krrish tied up with Pantaloon Retail India Limited for manufacturing and marketing of Krrish merchandise. For Rang de Basanti the makers joined hands with Coke for exclusive limited edition coke bottles, which had the images of the stars on it. They also came up with a limited collection of Spirit of RDB T-shirts with Provogue. For Fanaah Yash Raj Films had three different products, including a pendant sported by Aamir Khan in the film. While Adlab films struck a deal with Mattel toys for the Superman toys apart from T-shirts, key chains and bags for Superman Returns.

Whatever may be the benefits attached, merchandising is a proven winner with a huge potential to be explored and filmmakers are all set to take a plunge in it.

9. Music as a promotion tool

One of the most popular Indian music forms is the Filmi music. Hindi film industry, popularly known as Bollywood, along with Indian regional film industries, produces thousands of films a year, most of which are musicals and feature elaborate song and dance numbers.

It is because of the huge popularity of the Indian film music that a large number of talented music directors, singers, composers and lyricists are attracted to the Indian Film industry. India is a land of great musical heritage. It is mainly because of the same reason that almost all our means of entertainment are inspired by music. The Indian film music has given a number of great music talents over the years. Some of the notable are Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, K L Sehgal, Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar, R D Burman, S D Burman, A R Rehman, Khaiyyam and many others.

Indian Film Music is said to have begun with the release of Alam Ara in 1931. In the early years of Indian cinema, the music was mainly classical and folk in inspiration, with some Western elements. The most fascinating part of Indian film music is its evolution with time. The Indian film music experts have always experimented with new things to cater to the changing tastes of music lovers. Another trend in Indian film music is that of integration of some popular regional languages such as Punjabi, Oudhi etc. Though in the process of evolution, music experts have flirted with western influences too yet the Indian flavor has always remained there.

Earlier music was a part of the films and was mostly used only when the song gelled with the flow of the movies; but these days music is used as a vital tool for promotion of movies. Movie soundtracks are released as tapes and CDs much before the movie is released. Earlier, radio was the main media of Film music but with the coming of satellite TV and FM radio the scenario has completely changed. An elaborate music release function is held for even low budget movies as it is an important way of garnering attention. Any music release function is usually covered by the press and a few television channels (specially dedicated to covering news about the film industry).There are a lot of movies which have been box office successes despite a bad story line; music being their saviour. Movies like Aashiq Banaya Aapne,Gangster,Woh Lamhe, Jhoom barabar Jhoom, China gate, Bas Ek Pal Anwar,Dum,Aks are classic examples of such movies. Variations in this include multi star caste songs , item numbers etc. with a peppy or racy beats which also attract viewers. There is also a new trend where old hit songs are being re-mixed and used in movies to attract audience.Thus, music is used as an important promotional strategy for films these days.

10. Hollywood marketing strategies in India

With increasing literacy levels, the demand for international fare among the English-educated Indians is growing. Post-globalization, the well-heeled urban Indians, especially growing mid- and high-income segments, is rediscovering the magic of cinema in the plush multiplexes. And for them, Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg and Julia Roberts are as good as Shahrukh Khan, Karan Johar, and Rani Mukherjee. Indian audiences watch Hollywood films for what they cannot get in Bollywood films. Indian films center on family and romantic themes and seldom do they offer big-ticket action or jaw-dropping visuals. Hollywood offers the latter, which is why films offering that style of entertainment do well.

As recently as 2005, foreign films accounted for only about 5 percent of about $1 billion in theatre tickets sold annually here. But Hollywood profits in India are growing at 35 percent a year, and the US film industry is becoming more aggressive.

Hollywood's Major Initiatives in India:
? Simultaneous release of blockbuster films and India release within 3-4 weeks for other major films, vis a vis the time difference between US and India release, which was as long as 6 months to a year, about 4 years back.
? Dubbed versions supported by localised consumer-centric campaigns take playability of Hollywood films beyond metros, thereby adding to ticket sales. These dubbed versions contribute almost 50 per cent of the company's revenue. Spider-Man 3 was dubbed into Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Bhojpuri. The massive global release meant that poor villagers in central India were able to queue up the same day as audiences in Los Angeles to see the film, dubbed into a local dialect.
? Increase of almost 100 percent in the marketing and publicity budgets for all Hollywood films by the major studios. Hollywood is promoting its big-ticket films like any other big Bollywood release. Premieres are being held here. There are tie-ups with corporates and there is even merchandising at a small level. Promotions of Hollywood films are being adapted to suit the local taste and flavor. There were paintings of the action figure on Mumbai trains to promote Spiderman 2. Media penetration and internet usage has created greater awareness for Hollywood films in India, right from the time they are promoted in the U.S., which increases once the film opens there. U.S. Reviews and Box office figures are flashed across Indian media and the buzz continues with the Indian media giving space to these films till their release in India. Because of the multiplexes, Hollywood studios could release a good number of their films in the country.

Here we take the example of promotion of Spiderman2 which created a benchmark for Hollywood movies’ success in India.
To promote Spiderman 2, Sony Pictures went all out. Sony BMG especially created a single for the movie sung by the famous Pakistani band "Strings". Sony's Indian television arm, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), was tied in to promote the film through their high visibility programs such as Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi /Yeh Meri Life Hai. Another Sony TV outfit, SET MAX, specially created a program called "Spotlight," hosted by Mandira Bedi, their brand ambassador and a celebrity in India. On both SET and SET MAX, the Spiderman was shown swinging in and out as and when the channels IDs appeared. AXN also had a Spiderman bug (the image of Spiderman) on their logo on a 24x7 basis. Sony Ericsson launched their first branded phones in India (Spiderman 2 mobile phones). These phones were promoted through a tie-in with the film. Sony Electronics also played a part. Their first major film promotion in India was through their hi-end retail stores "Sony World". Sony Pictures Home Entertainment promoted the film through their DVD and VCD sales for Spiderman (the first part).
The era of Bollywood v/s Hollywood has ended. It's now an era of coexistence, courtesy multiplexes which have added capacities.

11. Messages and styles used for promotion of films

The publicity of the movie is about highlighting appealing aspects of the movie to the audience. The messages a publicity campaign try to convey to the audience vary based on the type of film and the target audience. The style in which these messages are delivered also varies. However the style has to be attention grabbing and interesting enough for the target audience to think about the message or remember the message. Generally the messages are about the strengths of the movie. For example the lead actors, director, banner or the subject of the movie, music can be considered as strengths of a movie.

However, sometimes messages that arouse sentiments in the audience are also used. Lagaan and Gadar are good examples of successfully using the audience sentiments to their advantage.


The theme of the movie was a tightly guarded secret. Posters and teasers gave no hint of what the movie was about. The movie music was promoted. The music was very successful. This generated an enormous amount of curiosity for the movie among the audience. The movie was released all over the country at the same time. This generated a big initial week collection. However since the length of the movie was 4hrs, only 3 shows per day could be screened. This resulted in some losses. After the first weekend the marketing strategy was changed and the cricket match in the film came into focus. India is a cricket crazy country. How can Indians ignore an India vs. England match set in the British raj era?


This is a good example of how the public sentiment can affect the fortunes of a movie. The advertisements aroused public sentiments by highlighting Sunny Deol’s rhetoric on Pakistan and showcasing partition riots in graphic detail. This movie of the masses used the lay man’s sentiments of patriotism to its advantage. The Music of the movie was an added advantage.
Both Lagaan and Gadar enjoyed great success after the first week because of the good quality of the movies. Mouth to mouth publicity played a major part in the success of these movies. It is said that people in villages travelled in trucks and tractors to the cities to watch Lagaan and especially Gadar. We can safely conclude from these examples that if a movie successfully appeals to public emotion, then it is sure to generate a good mouth to mouth publicity.

To analyze various messages and styles used by film promoters, attributes and factors relevant for promotion of 3 different films of different genres were analysed from promotion and publicity point of view.


? Period film and a love story
? Sole release of that week.
? Star cast of Hritik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.
? Hrithik - aishwarya chemistry after success of Dhoom 2
? Ashutosh Gowarikar is the director with a great track record.
? Good music and meaningful lyrics.
? Larger than life portrayal with grand jewellery and costumes.
? Tie up with Tanishq for Jewellery.
? Extremely lengthy narration of the story. (4hrs)
? Controversy surrounding historical facts created buzz


? Animated movie with an Indian mythological character as the lead.
? Kids movie. The cute face Bal Hanuman and his pranks appeal to child audience.
? Brand Hanuman used for merchandising.
? Hanuman fighting with devils in new Hollywood styles (Matrix)
? Movie making a statement on current state of affairs.
? Hanuman is already known to the Indian audience. (No need to make people aware about hanuman and his super powers.)


? Shahrukh Khan
? Catchy music.
? Recreation of the 70s setting.
? Expectation and curiosity generated for the debutante Deepika Padukone
? Promotion on TV shows – all music reality shows like Koffee with Karan
? Promotion in cricket matches coinciding with the release.
? Director Farah Khan - Reputed for good Choreography
? Sharukh’s Six pack Abs hype
? Multi star song sequence - “all hot girls” created a hype
? Released during Diwali – audience looking to kill some free time
? Controversy related to Manoj Kumar created hype.

12. Maslow pyramid and movies

When people are asked “Why do you watch a movie?” The most common answer is “For Fun.” Where does the need for having fun fit in the Maslow Pyramid? If the Maslow hierarchy is used in a rigid way, this question may not be answered. To understand this we need to find out what does having fun mean to different people when they say they are watching movies for fun. It could mean deriving pleasure, enjoyment, and entertainment. However these are end results of some need being satisfied.

In order to relate a particular 'doing it for fun' behaviour to the hierarchy of needs we need to consider what makes it 'fun' (i.e. rewarding) for the person. If a behaviour is 'for fun', then let’s consider what makes it 'fun' for the person - is the 'fun' rooted in 'belongingness', or is it from 'recognition', i.e., 'esteem'. Or is the fun at a deeper level, from the sense of self-fulfilment, i.e. 'self-actualization'.

Needs given by Maslow pyramid applied to needs exploited by movie promoters:

1. Biological and Physiological needs

Sex appeal of stars, item songs, sex scenes are targeted at exploiting the Biological and physiological need of sex. All these are used while promoting such type of films to attract audience.

2. Safety needs

A thriller, horror or an action movie gives a chance to virtually experience fear and thrill. Thus a person may experience fun by imagining danger. (Forgoing safety for experiencing thrill). The promoters highlight this thrill factor in there promotional campaign.

3. Belongingness and Love needs

Watching a movie with a group of friends or family satisfies the need of belongingness. Also a lot of movies are made with love as the central theme keeping young couples and there need to express love in mind. Watching cult movies like science fiction or watching movies as a fan of a particular actor or director give movie goers the feeling of belonging to the cult or fan club. Film promoters have used this need for promoting movies like Harry potter, star wars, Rajnikanth movies etc

4. Esteem needs

Movies influence people. The choices made by people for fashionable clothes seen in a particular movie or the jewellery design displayed in a movie leaves a mark in the minds of the audience. If these things catch on with the audience, the audience tries to own the same type of dresses or jewellery as shown in a movie. This gives people a chance to “show-off”. For example many women bought Tanishq Jewellery worn by Aishwarya Rai in the movie Jodhaa-Akbar. These women indirectly promoted the movie through the jewellery. Thus the promoters of Jodhaa-Akbar used the esteem needs of these women to publicize the movie.

5. Self-Actualization needs

Inspirational movies like Swades, niche class movies like Namesake, art movies, are movies with mature topics. These movies deal with conflicting human values and promotion of such movies is targeted towards a thinking mature audience.

13. Bibliography

Marketing Management : Kotler,Keller,Koshy,Jha.

Interview with Mr A K Pankaj: Film Distributor and owner of a weekly Film Newspaper.

Websites: March 2005 - CII-KPMG Entt Report.pdf,content=18

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Author: Member Level: BronzeRevenue Score: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5
The author has made a sincere attempt to touch all the dimensions of movie making in India. i appreciate the efforts of the author. Still several aspects like cultural and international environmental effects may be discussed. The examples given to explain the film promotion are really interesting. In this connection i would like to add one more example of Telugu movie. A recently released Telugu movie 'varudu' created some curiosity among the audience because of it's unique promotional strategy. The heroin name and photograph are kept secret till the release of the movie. Further some other names are aired in the media to create some noise.

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