The Box Office has been the traditional barometer of a film’s success. However, with the advent of digital media, film distribution and marketing have newer mediums for expanding the audience base. The session on ‘Rethinking Film Marketing & Distribution: Beyond the Box Office’ saw speakers discuss the various opportunities presented by the digital medium.
Moderating the session, Harish Dayani, CEO, Entertainment Business, Moser Baer, spoke about the alternate modes and also wondered whether DVDs were a competition to theatre or an alternate medium to the consumers? Observing that delaying the consumption of a movie would create more revenues for privacy, Dayani said, “Producers and distributors have to speed up the delivery mechanism of their films to curb privacy.” He also noted that there were several avenues beyond theatre, including Internet and mobile.
Talking about the success of online distribution for their home production, ‘Vivaah’, Rajjat A Barjatya, Director, Rajshri Productions, was gung-ho about the possibilities thrown open by the medium. Stressing that theatre distribution would be strategically significant, Barjatya felt that it might not be financially significant in years to come. Enlisting the reasons for thinking beyond the big screen, he explained, “There are very few screens for the audiences, which many a time do not even get the product, while the marketing reaches them. This gap in demand and supply leads to piracy across mediums like home video discs and online. We, as distributors, can plug this gap by simultaneously releasing the films through digital distribution models, including Internet and Video on Demand platforms, thus enabling to get back the money into the industry.”
While Sony Pictures’ Uday Singh agreed on the need to look beyond the Box Office, he cautioned against getting into a phase where filmmakers completely stopped thinking about it. “At the end of the day, Box Office success matters for the other distribution mediums too,” he pointed out. Addressing the need for an online platform to help distribute films, which would find difficulty in getting a theatre release, Gaurav Dhillon, CEO, Jaman.com, observed how his company was trying to help world cinema get on to the online distribution space.
Stressing on the need to create buzz for the film as well as the much needed bucks from alternate mediums, Darshana Bhalla, CEO, MATES, presented a case study on the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Om Shanti Om’. She further highlighted some of the brand associations and product placements executed by the company and the revenues generated through them.
Cameron Bailey, Co-Director, Toronto International Film Festival, Canada, made a presentation on how the Toronto International Film Festival was a good platform for Indian films to be marketed internationally, while Saurabh Varma, CMO, Filmed Entertainment, Reliance Big Entertainment, shared his experiences in the space.