Indian Readership Survey (2006) and National Readership Survey (2005) have both hinted at the growth that theatre as a medium is seeing in India. What cannot be missed about the sector is that it is getting more organised by the day and established players are going the extra mile to ensure that cinemas are more than just watching a movie. On similar lines, Fame Multiplexes has taken a host of initiatives to battle out the slump in movie releases and offer something more to its patrons.
The rationale behind it, as pointed out by Shunali Shroff, Head-Corporate Communications, Shringar Cinemas Ltd, was that theatres had seen many activities like movie premiers that had traditionally been directed at the industry, but not much had been seen targeting the patron. The problem, as Shringar sees it, is two-fold – building a relation with the consumer and creating a model, wherein the popularity and footfalls in a theatre aren’t dependent on movie releases alone.
Shroff further divulged that Fame Multiplexes had been delving on these issues for some time now and after planning for almost four months, had put together a battery of tailor-made initiatives that aimed to “make the consumer feel special”.
The first of these is an ‘MC Hunt’ across Fame Multiplexes in Kolkata and Mumbai. This is being done in partnership with Pepsi. To participate in the ‘MC Hunt’, a patron has to watch a movie at any of the Fame multiplexes in Mumbai and pick up a form, which will be available on purchase of a Pepsi. Interestingly, this initiative involves a reality element. On April 23 and 30, 2006, the auditions will be held at Fame Adlabs. The finale of the contest will take place on May 1, 2006 and will be judged by the actors Emraan Hashmi and Kangana Ranawat, lead actors of the forthcoming movie ‘Gangster’.
Replying to how she saw reality work in favour of a theatre, Shroff said, “It’s a widely spoken about genre, it has never been done by any multiplex and it is an extremely simple and, we believe, an effective way of engaging our patrons more.”
Shroff and her team have looked at the movie going TG in various ways and took cognizance of the fact that movie lovers are also a community. Banking on this and the feedback that ‘IIFA Wall of Fame’ has been getting, Fame roped in Kodak as a partner to initiate a Film Club.
Another initiative coming from this thought process was to look at the TG individually and again fulfil specific needs. An immediate endeavour on these lines will be seen for the kids TG. In addition to the theatre showing a mix of children’s Hollywood and Bollywood movies, a talent hunt – ‘60 seconds to Fame’ – has also been conceptualised. “This is for families for whom child education is more than just schools, and you see a dominant portion of movie-going audiences coming from such mindsets. The winner will be given a small cameo role in a movie – really just as a fun thing.”
Towards the end of the year, Fame will also be looking at initiatives for senior citizens. Shroff doesn’t comment much on that now, citing competitive reasons. Speaking on the larger picture, she said, “Fame was the first to reintroduce the trend of red-carpet movie premieres with the entire film fraternity turning up to encourage their fellow stars. Now you see every theatre doing it. There are times when on the same night there are three premiers in three theatres on the same road! The way to growth is to introduce a new set of activities and newer ways of leveraging theatre as a medium.”
What are the expectations from these initiatives? “Essentially patron connect in a way that we see more of them! Some initiatives like MC Hunt will give us better footfalls and a Film Club will just create a community – the activities are a mix, but as I said, they are tailor made for our patrons,” Shroff added.