Will Deepika’s TikTok debut further boost the platform's draw for Bollywood releases?

Deepika Padukone’s debut on TikTok days before the release of her latest film 'Chhapaak' underlines the platform's growing popularity for movie promotion

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Jan 8, 2020 8:59 AM

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Deepika TikTok

Two newsmakers, actor Deepika Padukone and social media giant TikTok always grab headlines no matter what they do. Therefore, Deepika officially joining TikTok was bound to break the internet and it did. The TikTok community welcomed her wholeheartedly which is evident in the 3.7 million followers she garnered within days of her debut. It is also the timing of Deepika joining TikTok that is of interest, after all, the platform has been in India for almost two years and with 45.5mn followers, on Instagram, the actress is no stranger to the world of social media. The answer lies in ‘Chhapaak’, Deepika’s latest movie that is due to hit screens later this week. The growing popularity of TikTok, its target audience and reach in Tier 2-Tier3 cities is clearly impossible for Bollywood to ignore. It is no wonder then that the Chhapaak actor, in typical TikTok style, shared the frame with Laxmi Agarwal on whose life the film is based.

Interestingly though, not many Bollywood A-listers have opened personal TikTok accounts, which is why Deepika’s debut may also prove to be a game-changer for TikTok.

Says Prachi Karan, Sr. Media Director, Isobar, “TikTok has seen skyrocketing scale in India, however, compared to the giants in its league like Facebook, they are still far behind. There are a lot of unique things TikTok promises and one of them is the incremental and unduplicated reach in audiences compared to other popular platforms.” She explains how Deepika’s presence would mean further scale and new users, “If her content is consistent and dynamic, as it should be, this can open up a lot of engagements and new avenues for brands to partner with. As they say, never underestimate the power of a Bollywood Celebrity in India," adds Prachi.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Srikant Subramanian, Director-Business Development, Mirum India says, “The platform will get a widespread reach considering how popular that she is. They will at least temporarily get a boost in downloads and some amount of those people will stay back, with the platform gaining overall in terms of downloads and engagements.”

However, Deepika is not the first celebrity to use the platform for movie promotions, TikTok’s tryst with Bollywood began way back in 2018 when Red Chillies Entertainment partnered with the platform for the Shahrukh Khan-starrer ‘Zero’. The promotions on the platform were a huge success and the rest, as they say, is history, Bollywood turned its attention to TikTok and there has been no looking back. Films such as The Sky is Pink, Housefull 4, Gully Boy, Bharat, Bala, Marjaavaan, Made in China, and many more have since used the platform to leverage its 200 mn user community.

TikTok success has been buoyed in India from its heartland, for Bollywood that is an extremely crucial market. Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and Co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea, explains why “The platform’s content renders naturally to an entertainment lover. From dialogue to scene recreation, the platform is full of extremely creative performers. It’s also a platform that is a delight for creators and consumers alike. Their speed of growth is a testament to that. Moreover, it has allowed producers to reach to a very different set of audience, the elusive non-metro millennials. Recent data sources have also established that the average time spent on Tik Tok is 34.1 minutes compared to its elite counterpart Instagram which is at 23.8 minutes. This allows more immersion for the content produced. Interestingly, the study also suggests that over 52% of Indian Tik Tok users earn less than 25K per month. This corresponds to your single-screen goers who have shown to contribute 45% of the lifetime box-office collection of most films. Some mass-action oriented films get even close to 70% of their revenues from non-multiplexes. While the producer’s obsession with the multiplex continues, the single screens are far away from being written off and hence Tik Tok or any other neo-social app targeting the non-metro audience will tend to benefit.”

Whether it’s for brands or films, content creators or influencers on social media eagerly take up challenges that are thrown open during promotions. Through their song-dance routine, enacting scenes or dialogues from the movie, user-generated content creates enough and more noise around the release to evoke interest. One of the most successful associations with the platform has been for the movie Bala. The #DontBeShyAgain hashtag for Bala garnered over 200 million views within the first few days of the launch. TikTok designed a quirky ‘bald’ filter especially for its users to create and share videos with film’s star cast. #Marjaavaan clocked over 130 million views on TikTok with creators posting their videos for its title track song. Odhani, the first single from the movie ‘Made in China’ was released on TikTok. The #Odhani challenge garnered over 150 million views with creators posting their own versions on the platform.

Given the scope digital media can offer, Prachi Karan explains that the movies today can actually customise the entire experience for the user depending on who they are and what they are looking for, “ Especially with their hashtag challenge offerings, it seamlessly brings the magic of movies right to the consumers' fingertips. More so, by leveraging some of the best TikTok resources, big-ticket movies today are able to truly demonstrate their storytelling capabilities and boost influence amongst their audience.”

Apaksh Gupta, Founder, One Impression, agrees “The platform is increasingly important as it has a very strong reach, engagement and influence over the youth of the country, which makes for a large part of movie audiences. Tiktok also has a large audience that is otherwise not easily reachable on other social platforms, and hence makes it even more important for production houses.”

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