It is surprising to note that in a country where movies are the biggest craze, advertising on the big screen platform stands at a mere one per cent of the total ad spend. Even so, the movie marketing business is estimated to be close to Rs100 crore.
According to Basabdatta Chowdhuri, General Manager, Madison Media, Delhi, cinema related advertising is at a very nascent stage. However, she thinks that with the increasing number of multiplexes, there is a very viable market for it. "Money spent on it is probably just one per cent or lower of the total ad spends but this segment has great potential. While outdoor advertising is for higher brand recall, cinema advertising is about brand association," she said.
Interactive Television is one company that is active in this field providing services like film tie-ups, ticketed film promotions, theatre tie-ups, film festivals, in-film advertising and in-theatre advertising. It has over 20 per cent share in this growing industry.
Said Ajay Mehta, Director, Interactive Television, "People have now started keeping separate budgets for cinema and theatre advertising. With the advent of so many multiplexes, supply is creating demand. New clients are coming in and existing ones are increasing their budgets rapidly."
Abbas Muni, General Manager, South & West, Carat, agrees with Basabdatta Chowdhuri, that with the increasing number of multiplexes, this segment will witness substantial growth. But he raises a concern: how to convince advertisers of the effectiveness of this medium, as there is no TRP or any other concrete tool to measure its utility. "IRS figures indicate a very marginal growth. The numbers indicate that effectiveness and reach of cinema advertising is much lower than print or television advertising," he said.
But Mehta claims that Interactive Television has the tool for this. Said he, "Advertising is number driven and we are the only ones in the country measuring the efficacy of cinema and theatre advertising. We track how many people come in to theatres. Then there is a fortnightly random check in key cinema halls to check what all ads are playing there on screen and what brands are present off screen. We also measure aided and unaided recall of that advertising. This gives an idea of the return on investment. Cinema is a great complimentary medium especially for durables, electronics, financial services, etc."
The capitalised billings of Interactive Television, a six-year-old company, stood at Rs 32 crore in 2004-05. Mehta informed that the agency has added in the last one year new clients like Spice Jet, Castrol, Hyundai Electronics, Tata AIG and ABN Amro. Its client list already had names like Samsung, HLL, Maruti, ITC Foods, UB, Reckitt Benckiser and Aviva among others. Samsung is its biggest client spending in excess of Rs 2.5 crore.
"We offer complete solutions from script to screening, i.e., right from in-films to the time when the film gets released. Depending on client requirement, we customise solutions. The pitch is more a conceptual one where we are selling them a medium first," explained Mehta.
There is no gainsaying that audiences are once again going back to the theatres to watch films, a change brought about by the mushrooming of mega malls with swanky multiplexes. This advertising segment is set to boom.