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Bad marketing surefire recipe for disaster

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MUMBAI: The session 'Marketing & Distribution: The global field' began just a little after the scheduled hour but went past its closing dot.

Virtually every speaker ate a little more into his appointed minutes. All eschewed similar sentiments, underlying the importance of marketing and distribution of an entertainment product.

 
Uday Singh, MD Columbia Tristar Films (I) Ltd. who presided as the moderator set the ball rolling, saying, "There is a growing reality that the overseas market calls for different and innovative content and marketing. Gone are the days when a film could depend on only the publicity generated on the sets. Those were the days when films were released territory by territory, in phases. Things started changing slowly since 1971. Today in 2003, films are far bigger. In this context, the positioning of the film is very important. You need to identify the target audience. The publicity begins from the script stage. The trailer of the film needs to be made on selling points. A certain amount of hype is needed for the landing (release) to make a noise (impact). If adequate care in this regard is taken, low-budget films can recover the cost in three days, or say, a week's time. Of course, a lot of research is needed. This is where the marketing professionals come in. If a film does not create an impact in its first three days, more often than not, it bites the dust. It then becomes a train hurling down from a mountain at breakneck speed. Furthermore, filmmakers need to know that the language is not a barrier if the film is good. 'Crouching Tiger...' is a classic case in point."

Scott Rosenberg, MD, Asian Movie Works, who had patiently waited for his turn, then began his thrust. His main content was, "We are big names in Hollywood. We identify what the audience wants. One thing is for sure. If you guys want to sub-panel your project, all you need is a good script and a fairly correct amount of English. There is so much you'll have here, why don't you'll make it travel?," he quipped.

Robert Jones, Film Council, stated, "You people need to interact more. You'll have a rich heritage; period films have a great international market. I have been to several international festivals, and I rarely see any Indian out there. Why? Come up with informative and eye-catching press-kits. Rope in your stars to travel and promote the movies. You have big names in Bollywood who have immense charisma. And hey! They speak good English! That helps a great deal. Acquaint yourself with the process, on who is selling what and how. Explore and you stand to only gain."

P.Parmeshwaran, NFDC, Finance, concentrated on the DVD and television market. He said, "You have a market for DVD and satellite television. If your film is popular, there is a good demand for your movie if you go for sub-titles. You will encompass a larger audience.".

Manivel Malone, FTV, emphasised that the success of FTV was solely due to their excellent market strategy. "We have a sure success formula- lovely girls and feet-tapping music. Who doesn't want that? Today, we are a world brand, a reference ofor beauty. Fashion is a universal phenomena. So, Fashion deserved its channel. Importantly, please note that we avoid superfluous comments and cater to both genders actually. We have shown Fashion Weeks from the hottest Milan, Paris, London, New York to the most exotic Mumbai, shangai, Sydney, Cape Town, Sao Polo."

Muthuram, Shringar TV Films, stressed, "Firstly, trailers need to be marketed very judiciously. Unfortunately, no importance is laid on this in India. sometime ago when I was working with Columbia, we had released 'Godzilla' with a trailer which was made even before the production had started. That trailer had caught the public fancy so much that though that scene did not exist in the final copy, it had managed to create enough hype. Going to 'Lagaan'. One reason why it scored was that the marketing strategy was not to reveal anything about the fact that it was a cricket film. A lot of good products get in, cannot sustain, and get washed away. A lot of mediocre products, get in, and reap profits. It's all marketing that does the trick. If you say that my film is for youngsters, do you take care to see that you release it in areas where there are sufficient colleges. As a company, we are now releasing a 3-D film called 'Chota Jadugar'. We started working on it six months ago. We are running school programmes to create awaremess about the film. And we have tied up with some kid brands. Lastly, remember that if you are making a Hinglish film like 'Leela', 'Let's Talk',etc, we need more time on this. These type of films need more hype than those wherein you have big names in the cast."

J.C.Sharma, Secretary, PCD Ministry of external affairs, winded up by a few words on the strength and significance of Indian Diaspora, saying that it was 20 million strong, the second largest in fact, and possessing extraordinary diversity.

The audience got little time to throw up their questions, for the session had gone 30 minutes too far. All the answers to the queries eschewed similar sentiments, yet again. Candidly speaking, the session was a direct address to the Indian film producers. Wish there were many around!

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