Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherji made their debut as news readers on NDTV today.
No, they have not changed their profession. They were actually promoting their latest film ‘Bunty aur Babli’ which will be released tomorrow.
In the film, they play the roles of tricksters. However,the duo reading the prime time news on NDTV was no trick. This is not the first time that a channel has given 30 minutes of airtime to a Hindi film. As the number of TV channels are increasing by the day, partnering with Hindi films is seen as one of the surest ways to grab eyeballs.
Says Raj Nayak, chief executive officer, NDTV Media: “We are leveraging the popularity of the stars to present news to our viewers. We hope even non-news viewers to watch our channel because of the celebrity value.”
NDTV is not the only one. Channels such as Zoom, Aaj Tak, Zee, Channel V and MTV are increasingly partnering with Hindi films. MTV states that 75 per cent of the box office hits last year had tied up with the channel for promotions.
Says Ashish Patil, director programming and talent and artiste relations, MTV Networks: “When you have banks, insurance companies and every imaginable product and servicing tapping Bollywood to help push their products, for a channel it’s the obvious thing to do.”
Aparna Pandey, head of programming at Zoom TV, too feels that associations with films are a way of bringing Bollywood to people and ensuring audience as well.
All such associations are cash-less deals. Points out Alpana Mishra, business head, Leo Entertainment: “Film producers spend more than 75 per cent of their marketing budget on TV. They are always looking for partners to share a part of their expenses. An exclusive channel association gives them the liberty to have their film on air without any payments.”
Such associations usually take the form of exclusive interviews, behind-the-film-making shows or product placements of the channels in the films. Industry observers say these are win-win deals for both the films as well as the channels.
Movie watchers are also heavy consumers of TV and so the conversion of a person watching the trailer of a film on a channel to watching it in theatre is high.
MTV had conducted a quantitative research for one of its movie associations — Hum Tum — where it found that 65 per cent of its audience watched the movie after seeing the promos on the channel.