The fact that the Indian film entertainment industry is growing at 10% year-on-year in terms of the number of films released is testimony to how important entertainment is in Indian lives. This is as per ESP Properties’ debut report on Indian entertainment marketing, Showbiz — The Indian Superpower, which covers growth in film marketing, the celebrity aspect and content licensing that spells numerous marketing opportunities for brands. “We started working on the subject in 2003-04 and since then we have seen how brands have slowly but steadily learnt how to leverage the medium,” says Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties, adding that today the total co-branded marketing media spends for Hindi films has grown to Rs 100 crore, setting the tone to scale up to Rs 500 crore in the next five years or so. What is noteworthy is that only 20% of films released include brand associations, where brands also share a part of the marketing budget.
In this, Bollywood enjoys a share of 20%, Hollywood at 25%, South movies at 15% and Marathi cinema at 16%, the report says. This signifies the fact that regional cinema is catching up and brands now use it to target their audience in a more focused manner. When asked which brands are using regional films today, Karnik says, “It is the national brands which are opting for this because they want to expand their presence. Earlier Tamil and Telugu films were on top on their lists but now other languages too are giving this opportunity.” The categories that are most active in in-film integration and co-branding associations are FMCG, apparel and e-commerce, highlights the report.
Today, the audience is much smarter and has moved from linear, one-dimensional advertising to a multi-channel, interactive dialogue with the film and brand communities, with a growth in film consumption. The report goes on to say that in India, marketing budgets for films have grown from 5-6% of the production budget to 10-15%, which is closer to the global average.
From 2014 to 2016, the industry saw a steep increase in associations in sync with the rise in number of films. However, when it comes to licensing, though India contributes almost 5-7% (Rs 87,560 crore) to the global market, the country still lag behind in creating its own characters. “We have stars and we have heroes, but we do not have characters. The industry has immense opportunity today to leverage home-grown licensing products,” points out Karnik. Industry sources estimate India’s licensing growth at 7.4%, which is higher than the growth in the US, Canada and the UK, combined.
The big difference between film promotion in the last decade and now is the new medium, digital. Another need gap area is marketing, especially digital marketing, where a lot of marketers/production houses duplicate the same formula. “The manner in which Tiger Zinda Hai will or should be marketed is not how Tumhari Sulu should be,” Karnik explains with an example. The report goes on to say that studios need to invest in a focused campaign to maximise revenue early in the release cycle.
Nonetheless, the industry is well-versed when it comes to using an endorser today who is becoming an influencer, thanks to the reach of social media. In the last 10 years, 25% of brand advertising on television has featured a famous face. This is also changing the way contracts are written today. “From just a TVC, print ad or an appearance at an event, brands are asking celebs to use social media to their benefit as well, making it a year-round thing,” says Karnik.