Content remains king in movies & sports; mktg only assists, say experts

Beyond marketing gimmicks, content is the only sustaining factor that drives the audiences in sports and movies, say industry experts

e4m by Abhinav Trivedi
Updated: Oct 1, 2013 7:45 AM
Content remains king in movies & sports; mktg only assists, say experts

Be it sports or movies, which are treated like religion in India, content remains the king. No amount of marketing effort can pull or sustain the audiences in either of the genres.

Farokh Balsara, Partner & Market Leader – India, Ernst & Young remarked, “Both Bollywood and cricket have realised the huge potential of marketing in reaching out to people. There are infrastructural glitches which act as barriers, but these challenges will be countered by demand-led growth. As the TG evolves, so will the need for more customised, tailor-made marketing. Thus, the demand-market will drive marketing growth for both movies and cricket.”

On a somewhat different note, Venky Mysore, CEO, Kolkata Knight Riders refuted compartmentalisation of the genres. He noted, “Sports is entertainment. One needs to engage fans in a completely different way and drive an emotional connect with them as in the field of entertainment. We have done that in KKR through different fan engaging experiences such as home delivery of tickets, special boxes in stadiums, and so on.”

Disagreeing with Mysore, Shailendra Singh, Joint MD, Percept, who conceptualised the Sunburn Festival, said, “I don’t agree with sports as an entertainment. Sports are undercapitalised in India. As an entity, sports need to change polices, which will drive the future market for sports.” Elaborating on how Sunburn has become a marketing phenomenon, Singh shared, “Sunburn is targeted at youth. Our audience is usually on digital media. To connect to the youth, one does not need to carve excel files in the boardroom, but rather go out in the street and interact with them.”

Excel Entertainment’s Ritesh Sidhwani’s advice was to identify one’s core audiences and reach out to them in a way they appreciate. “Digital is one such platform to reach out to the young audiences,” he said.

Giving her point of view on how content works on television, Ekta Kapoor, Joint MD, Balaji Telefilms said, “TV is not a Friday concept. One has to cross-check audience views and mindset consistently. In case of films, attracting YouTube hits for a big star film is very easy, but the challenge lies in managing the same for a smaller starcast. We did very interesting 10-second teasers for ‘Dirty Picture’, which was a teaser for the teaser. That is how it works.”

The discussion then moved on how to evangelise movies and sports marketing? Differing views emerged amongst the industry experts. While the experts vouched for honesty in marketing campaigns, there were different approaches proposed by them, considering the varied backgrounds they belonged to. While Singh and Balsara were focussed on building trust in sports, Mysore emphasised on the business of sports, where the players kept changing but franchisees hiring them remained intact. “So, it is very important to have a robust marketing plan, apart from the ambassadors,” he added.

While discussing on what is stopping Indian creatives from increasing their standards, Kapoor, citing Balaji’s core content strategy, said, “We do not make content for the global audience and are confined to our core TG. One does not have to put an extra effort in marketing because the product is its best marketing.”

On the other hand, Sidhwani felt that one can make films for the global audience, but before that one should first believe in the idea himself.

The above speakers were sharing their views on the topic ‘Future of Sports and Move Marketing’ at the IAA Global Marketing Summit, in partnership with exchange4media, being held in Mumbai on September 30, 2013. The session was moderated by Kaushik Roy, President - Brand Strategy and Marketing Communication, Reliance Industries.

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