‘Good morrrrrrning, Mumbai’. Who can forget the signature greeting of Jahnavi in ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’? With this, the leading lady not only won Munnabhai’s heart, but also made satellite radio WorldSpace a household name. Radio and movies – the combination has resulted in some interesting case studies. Exchange4media.com takes an indepth look at this trend and also gets industry heads’ take on this.
Industry experts like A P Parigi say that FM radio listenership has seen tremendous growth from 76 million to 110 million in the past 12-14 months. This means, more audience is being added, which in turn benefits the promoters to reach a wider audience.
Radio stations have been associating with movies since many years. ‘Salaam Namaste’, with Priety Zinta promoting the movie as an RJ on the Radio Mirchi, was perhaps the first extensive movie promotion on radio.
Recent movies like ‘Don’, ‘KANK’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, and ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ had associated themselves with Radio Mirchi, while Red FM had collaborated with movies like ‘Jaan-e-mann’. Movies like ‘Omkara’, ‘Golmaal’, ‘Corporate’, ‘Gangster’ and ‘Dor’ had exclusive radio partnerships with Radio City.
Speaking more on these movie collaborations, Rana Barua, Head Marketing, Radio City says, “Movie tie-ups are a natural extension for radio stations as film music accounts for a major chunk of the content for any radio station”. Abraham Thomas, COO, Red FM affirms this and adds, “Movie associations provide radio stations a platform to reach larger number of audiences and leverage the radio stations nationally.”
According to Prashant Pandey, Deputy CEO, Radio Mirchi, “There are almost 16.5 million people who listen to Radio Mirchi all over the country. With such a huge audience, the movies can reach their target audience easily through us.”
The radio industry is also a major beneficiary from these movie associations. WorldSpace satellite radio got a lot of mileage from its association with ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’. This is a clear example of radio networks benefiting from movie associations.
Explaining the benefits of these collaborations for the radio stations, Barua opines, “While the movie gets really hyped up and lots of curiosity generated just before the release of the movie, for the radio station, the association with the movie becomes a branding strategy in itself and is a reflection of its positioning.”
“Contests, movie premiere passes for listeners, special screenings and interviews with star cast are add-ons for the listeners. Radio stations have now become a very important ingredient in any movie promotion strategy and hence it is a relationship of common benefit,” adds Thomas.
The other side
There are detractors to these move collaborations in the industry also. Vishnu Athreya, VP-Programming, Radio One India, asserts that, “A film music’s exclusivity is only beneficial to a radio station, only when it is released on the radio. But, it is not the case. The music is already available on the TV and other mediums; as a result, listeners get their dose of their favourite film from these mediums.”
Athreya also adds that there is no great listenership advantage derived from these movie tie-ups. Citing examples of Radio One’s strategies of giving away action bikes during ‘Dhoom 2’s theatrical release and by celebrating the old ‘Don’ movie, during the new ‘Don’s release Athreya feels, “Radio One has cleverly associated with the films, in spite of not being the exclusive radio partner.”
Albeit having its share of critics, the seemingly positive trend towards movie associations will probably add to the growing radio and movie collaborations. The movies have been clearly getting their extra mileage, through these associations, just before its release. The radio stations have their exclusive music air-play and access to the star cast, but the only point to ponder over is, whether it is mutually beneficial for both the industries?