After a year of slump because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bollywood is geared to make a comeback through digital marketing and promotional campaigns in a bid to lure audiences back to cinemas. The primary goal is to ensure the viewers safety in cinemas.
Studio executives and marketing professionals estimate that digital spends would be at least 50 per cent higher than pre-COVID and social media engagement, contests and influencer marketing will take the lead.
Gaurav Verma, chief operating officer Red Chillies Entertainment, told Mint that some impact of the pandemic has been positive in the sense that consumption patterns of audiences have changed and they are more device-friendly now. “People react to social media much more, even news breaks on digital platforms nowadays, so it makes sense that the media mix will change to afford greater spends on digital.”
Siddharth Anand Kumar, vice-president films and television – Saregama India, said digital promotional techniques will be in favour not just because most audiences are still at home, but because segments are easier to target this way. “The cost of influencer marketing alone may have gone up by 100 per cent, which is far more effective in spreading word-of-mouth in a controllable way.” He said digital could make up 60 to 70 per cent of movie marketing budgets now.
Though most major movies have been shuffled to summer of 2021 or beyond, there are still some high-profile movies on deck for the first few months of the new year. However, industry experts admits it’s unrealistic to assume the coronavirus crisis will drastically improve, even with vaccines being rolled out and masses being inoculated.
The spread of new variants of COVID-19 means people will not be returning to the movies anytime soon. As a result, executives responsible for releasing movies have the unenviable job of making massive decisions, most of which are rooted in financials, that may have lingering reverberations.
How each studio is adapting remains unique to individual companies, but it’s all pointing toward a future with unpredictable moves looming.