Bollywood premieres on Hindi movie channels have been steadily growing with television premieres moving even closer than a month post their theatrical release. Riding on the success of movie premieres such as Singham, Bodyguard and RA-One which on Star Gold, a slew of new Bollywood movies has been seen increasing on Hindi movie channels in the last 6 months. Some recent premieres include Chennai Express, Holiday, Gunday, Main Tera Hero and Dhoom 3. Do the premieres of the latest Bollywood movies on television boost ratings?
New releases make the right impact
Recently the number of brands associating as sponsors for the premieres of the latest Bollywood movies on TV channels has increased. Chennai Express on &Pictures had Vaseline as presenting sponsor, powered by sponsors WeChat and Lux Cozi and associate sponsors included Old Spice, Pond’s and Murugappa Group. Dhoom 3 on Sony MAX had brands such as Fogg as the title sponsor and associate sponsors included Nirma, Colgate, Aquaguard, Karizma ZMR, Nissan Sunny, Revotron, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Philips Pro Skin and McDowell’s. Gunday on the same channel had Vimal Pan Masala as presenting sponsor, Fogg as powered by sponsor and associate sponsors included Airtel, Yamaha FZ-5, Kurkure, Voltaren, Red Chief Shoes, Intex Led TV and Castrol Active. Recently premiered movie Holiday on Zee Cinema attracted a score of brands such as presenting sponsor Vimal Pan Masala, powered by sponsors L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5, Mahindra, and associate sponsors Tide, Lay’s, Hike messenger, Nivea Men’s deodorant, Himalaya Neem face pack, Asian Paints, Federal Bank and Colgate.
Brands look at these movies primarily as an impact purchase rather than a commodity purchase. An impact purchase is a one-time property investment where you manage to get a wide audience, whereas commodity purchase is small but regular property purchases that give the audience regular exposure on a wider width of channels and programs.
Anisha Motwani, Director, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, Max Life Insurance said, “They (latest Bollywood premieres) do seem to be having some value as far as brands are concerned because if the movie titles are recent and they come on television quickly after their theatre release it does manage to catch a much wider audience compared to what you would get if you were to try and catch the same audience through either cinema or through say for example any other television programming. So from an evaluation perspective and pricing perspective you do seem to evaluate somewhere between doing commodity purchase and impact purchase. So they are seen more like an impact purchase.”
According to Amit Tiwari, Director, Country Head, Media, Philips India, new Bollywood premieres on Hindi movie channels attract higher viewership during special occasions such as long weekends. “It also depends on what particular occasion you can actually leverage for that. So if it is a long weekend and if you have a good tent pull (higher ratings) then definitely brands look for these tent pulls. They actually add strength by adding extra eyeballs to the entire transmission and they are riding on a very latest movie which has been released within a month,” he added. For instance the latest Bollywood movie premiere Holiday on Zee Cinema on Independence Day (August 15) saw the channels ratings double from the previous week. Week 33 (August 3 – 9) saw the ratings of Zee Cinema rise to 281,288 GVTs from 190,842 GVTs in week 32 (August 10 – 16). In terms of GRPs the channel saw a 43 GRP rise from 90 GRPs in week 32 to 133 GRPs in week 33. The movie scored 9418 TVMs and is consequently the top rated movie this year and beat movie premieres such as Dhoom 3 with 8209 TVMs on Sony TV, Jai Ho with 7848 TVMs on Star Plus, Gunday with 5806 TVMs on Sony Max and Yaariyan with 5685 TVMs on Star Gold.
Giving media planner’s perspective Balakrishna P.M., COO, Allied Media said, “Normally these happen during festivals and the festive impact is a very important factor. If they are recently released Bollywood films on TV with a good star cast most brands look at associating with the film and doing their co-branding activities and generally wrapping their communication around it. It is treated as a good impact property because movies have a definite following and viewership that is sort of almost guaranteed. The promotions around the channels are quite extensive and are a huge chance to get GRPs. So brands are pretty happy to use this platform as an impact property. It is a good GRP builder because it is a three-hour film with sufficient spots you tend to get good reach and GRPs,” he opined.
A price worth paying? Cost vs. Benefit
The more recent the film, the higher the price that channels have to pay to buy its rights. Some networks also prefer to purchase pre-release rights of movies than post-release or sign long term deals with production companies for their movies. For instance Star India which has Hindi movie channels Star Gold and Movies OK has long term deals for Salman Khan’s and Ajay Devgan’s movies.
Speaking on this Hemal Zaveri, EVP, Star Gold and Movies OK said, “With Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan we have a long term deals and therefore we have an actual window on what kind of movies that they are doing and Bang Bang is from our own sister concern. But with most of the titles we have a fair degree of window on what the movie is all about. But here on forth it is clearly going towards buying movies after the release as opposed to pre-release.”
Similarly, Ruchir Tiwari, Deputy Business Head, Hindi Movie Movies Cluster (Zee Cinema, &Pictures and Zee Classic), ZEEL said, “We have received good revenues from brands (in terms of association for the movies). New Bollywood movies are always looked at as a good investment for brands to associate with. We do all kinds of combinations for different movies. We used to buy the rights for such movies prior to the theatre release now we mostly by movies post the theatre release.”
The reason for networks to buy the rights post its theatrical release is that it offers the network the chance to drive a hard bargain and bring down the cost if the movie has not fared too well in terms of box office revenues and the production house might be looking to recover their costs. However, it can also work the other way around when a movie indeed does extremely well and they might have to pay a steep price to buy the rights to a film.
Commenting on this Nikhil Madhok, SVP Marketing & Programming Strategy, Star India said, “The ratings seem to suggest that people do watch premieres, but what is generally happening in the industry is currently that there is a feeling that a lot of the satellite rights are very expensive and heavily priced and most broadcasters are wary of trying to pay those kind of prices which don’t justify and you can’t recover the costs. It does help in viewership but they’re not being able to monetize because the price of those movies are so high, it’s not sustainable.”
It all boils down to whether channels can monetize and whether brands are ready to pay a premium in order to capitalize on the wide viewership of new Bollywood premieres. “I think any tent pull that you actually see there is always a hike in terms of rates from a normal price chart. So definitely if you are getting an extra mileage through extra TVTs and TVRs, then why not pay an extra price. Because in any way you are looking for an impact property and a tent pull,” says Tiwari.
Motwani however says they evaluate the price as well as the reach to come to decision and since new Bollywood premieres offer higher reach they are a good investment for brands. “Finally when you are looking at the CPRP (cost per rating point)s, the TVR ratings (of new movies) are higher than otherwise what you would get for a normal program. You have to evaluate the price in context to the number of people it reaches,” she said.
Chandru Kalro, COO, TTK Prestige said, “We look at the cost benefit. If the movie is too expensive in the first air itself then we take the second airing but if it is not too expensive in the first airing we will go for the first itself. Though these movies come at a premium, brands definitely look at it as a good investment for the reach they receive in return.”
Similarly, Balakrishna adds, “Brands look at it as a good investment. Impact properties do command a little bit of a premium so that is calibrated as far as brands are concerned. The degree of premium would obviously vary from the client and the channel and the kind of film genre and so on.”
Networks in the end walk a tight rope of balancing the cost of purchasing the rights for the latest Bollywood movies and getting brands to pay a premium for it.