According to a recent report by App Annie, TikTok recorded highest number of downloads in India at 200 million, while Likee ranked third with 140 million.
Short-video platforms such as TikTok and Likee seem to be becoming popular choices for production houses to promote movies and TV shows. For instance, the recently released Bala, starring Ayushmann Khurrana, was promoted on TikTok with the #Don’tBeShyAgain hashtag. The past year saw several other films, such as Housefull 4, Judgementall Hai Kya, Bharat and Dream Girl, embrace TikTok to create buzz. Similarly, Dabangg 3, Chhicchore, Mission Mangal and Panipat were promoted by their respective production houses on Likee.
According to a recent report by App Annie, TikTok was the most downloaded app in India in 2019 with 200 millions downloads, while Likee ranked third with 140 million downloads. Experts say the nature of the platforms — most content created by users is skewed towards entertainment — makes them a great fit for film promotions. Yet, ad spends evade them.
Presently, these apps are enticing users with challenges, competitions and filters created to suit the movie being promoted. For Bala, TikTok designed a ‘bald’ filter and asked users to post videos with it. Likee has launched the #HudHudDabanggChallenge to promote Dabangg 3, asking users to perform a particular dance step from the movie’s title song and post the videos. The app claims these videos garnered more than 300 million views.
Music companies and broadcasters, too, are using these platforms for promotions. Likee’s partnership with T Series to launch a new version of the song Yaad Piya Ki Ane Lagi, has garnered more than 180 million views on the platform so far. Then there’s also Vmate, a short-video sharing app by Alibaba’s subsidiary UC Web, which collaborated with Star Plus to promote its show Nach Baliye 9 on its platform, throughout the show’s TV run.
Language is no barrier either. Regional production houses, too, have shown interest in tying up with such platforms for promotions. “We collaborated with Telugu movies Dear Comrade and 90 ML, and are now working with production houses across India on integrated campaigns,” says a TikTok spokesperson.
No money in sight
Surprisingly, none of these platforms have been able to monetise these partnerships. According to experts, these apps are unable to strike a bargain yet with production houses, because of their limited reach, but these partnerships help them attract new users.
Devendra Deshpande, head, business and growth, Friday Filmworks, says, “For a production house like ours, it is difficult to understand what value they bring to the table. So, there is no reason, in my assessment, why a big movie would pay a small platform.”
The absence of tools to measure the effectiveness of these campaigns is another factor. “These platforms are still evolving, and there is no way to calculate returns from these platforms. Hence, production houses as well as advertisers are unwilling to spend on them,” says a media expert.
According to Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media, these apps lack the wide appeal that Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have. “They are still niche; they don’t have the mainstream appeal that advertisers look for. Also, they need to shake off the negative image they earned initially with the controversies surrounding them,” he adds. Perhaps, he says, a tie-up with movies could help such apps garner mass appeal, forging a positive image in that sense.