In-theatre advertising has obtained support from a new category - TV channels. Specially, Sony and ZEE are using it to promote movies being shown on the channels as well as to promote their soaps. Not only that, ZEE News found a presence in the movie 'Deewangi' as well, so what if it was for barely a minute.
Does it mean that channels are using in-theatre advertising as one more medium to increase salience and visibility or are there some specific strengths of in-theatre advertising that are attracting TV channels?
Says Subramanian Iyer, GM- National, Initiative Media, "Cinema is a mass medium - and for long it has been a religion with the Indians. Though it was neglected in between, it is once again emerging as a powerful medium. That TV channels are using it to promote their fare is proof enough that cinema is big and powerful medium and the impact of ads shown in theatres is high."
ZEE is primarily using in-theatre advertising to promote Thursday Blockbusters. Says Harsha Joshi, Senior Director - Media Buying, Madison, "We are looking at audience interested in films, and in cinema halls we can catch them in an environment where they are highly receptive. Today ZEE need to be top of mind and we believe that cinema advertising is really going to deliver."
Considering the fact that according to some studies very few people go to movie theatres these days, is it a value for money preposition? For instance, according to IRS 2002, cinema reach is only 12.3% (25.4 million people), and if we take urban + rural, it is even lesser - only 7.8% (55.3 million people). Says Joshi, "There was a lull some time back, but people are thronging to theatres once again. We have got good deals and I definitely believe that it is value for money preposition and it is working. Moreover, the target audience profile is a perfect fit."
As far as Sony is concerned, according to channel sources, "Currently a campaign is on covering 70 theatres in India spread across 13 markets. The reason is people come to theatres to enjoy and we are an entertainment channel, therefore theatre is a logical medium for us to showcase our key properties. We have periodically used cinema from time to time as it helps to reach out our target audiences".
According to a study conducted by Initiative Media last year, 'Cinema clearly scores high in terms of attention grabbing, likeability & above all identifying the medium with TG themselves. Hence cinema could be envisaged as a medium for the loyalty maintenance phase for mass brands as it is at this stage when the TG likes to identify the brand for themselves & cinema by virtue of the medium. Since it is an impact lead medium, the communication tends to be attention grabbing & likeable too. Generally Cinema is a planned attendance, pay to view & viewers consider advertising an integral part of the cinema experience'.
And TV channels, perhaps, have realised the importance of in-theatre advertising to gain more viewership. And indeed, they are right now, more than ever looking for a loyal viewer base.