Treat movies as brands: Screwvala

MUMBAI: Movies should evolve as brands to provide multiple revenue opportunities. That is the message that came from UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala while speaking on "Marketing Movie Magic" at Promax & BDA 2005.

Stressing on the point that sole dependence on theatres for revenues would never work in the current scenario, Screwvala said: "Few years back, theatres used to bring in 95 per cent of the revenue and now it is 80 per cent. Three years down the line, it is going to be just 50 per cent. So it is very important to treat movies as brands."


The movie scenario is going through an evolution, he pointed out. His session gave a 360 degree picture of the whole business, analysing every aspect of the media. Screwvala also gave a crispy picture of the future marketing trends that India would witness.

Screwvala started off by giving a detailed picture on how movie marketing got itself evolved over the years. While in the 70's and in the 80's print, outdoors and in-cinemas played a part, television made an entry in the 90's. The latest innovations include the strategy of joint promotions plus the entry of radio and mobile phones as powerful marketing tools.



According to Screwvala, there is a significant difference in the way movie marketing is being looked at in the USA and in India. "Movie marketing comes in the top five marketing spends in the US while in India, it is often considered by the producer-distributor community as an extra cost, not as an investment," he said.

But Screwvala said things like the evolution of studio model in India is slowly bringing in some changes in the whole scenario. He also attributed factors such as complete control of the full value chain, pan India and worldwide distribution and investments made in the movie marketing by exhibitors (such as multiplex players) to the evolution happening.

Then Screwvala went own to describe the new marketing methods being adopted to tap various media vehicles. While paid editorials, advertorials, detailed ads and the related PR activities drive promotions through Print, outdoors these days have more and more innovative ground activities.



Television has tools including music based promos by music companies, short length 10 seconds promos, the making of the movie concept, star profiles and interviews adding to the old strategy of playing songs and running vanilla promotions. In radio, the new things we have now are things such as special contests and star appearances.

According to Screwvala, the PR and Online wings are playing crucial roles these days in shaping up the public opinion. Cross media promotions, advertorials and online communities drive the marketing initiatives here. Speaking on the in-film product placement, he said the treatment should be reasonably subtle. To explain the media tie-up and joint promotion concent, Screwvala used the example of Yashraj Films's associations with Times of India and NDTV for promoting their movies Hum Tum and Bunty aur Bubbly respectively.

Speaking on the future trends in movie marketing, Screwvala said research was one big thing waiting to be evolved in India. He spoke about the importance of shaping up the movie as a brand with the help of effective research even in the scripting stage. "In India, it will take time. Here, lot depends on the evolution of the studio model. So in India, it is in the testing phase," he said.

Speaking on the post-release plans, Screwvala said merchandising was one new thing evolving. "It is a source of revenue as well as a marketing tool," he said.

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