There’s a movie releasing this Friday. Chances are that you would have heard about it first from the actors of the film themselves, who shared live updates on Facebook or Instagram. Later, your social media timeline would have been flooded with posts of trailers, Facebook Live posts and in some cases, Facebook messenger chat bots. Movie marketing is changing. Unless you live outside the digital realm, you hear about a movie release months ahead online, not in newspapers or theatres. Social media networking site Facebook is establishing itself as a premier medium for movie marketing in India. A study by Ormax Media has found that Facebook and YouTube together contribute to nearly 40% of the first day collections, while television and in-theatre contribute to only 13% and 9% of the total first day box office collections, respectively.
Historically, movie marketing in India has been led by trailer and song launches on television and interviews and gossip columns about the film stars in newspapers. Over time, however, YouTube has grabbed a piece of the movie marketing pie, becoming any fan’s go-to medium to watch everything movie-related and listen to the latest tracks on loop. Armed with an array of products to amplify the reach, engagement and conversions, Facebook and Instagram have also now become key parts of the movie marketing journey.
According to the Ormax Media study, Facebook and Instagram lead the pack of marketing media platforms in terms of buzz power or the conversation value around a film. The study also shows that the combination of Facebook and Instagram contributes most to first day box office collections at 21%. YouTube comes in second at 18%.
Speaking about Facebook’s impact on the Indian movie business, Saurabh Doshi, Head - Entertainment Partnerships, APAC, Facebook, said, “Facebook is a great place for fans to directly connect with their favourite stars and movies and drive reach and engagement. We aim to become the go-to destination for celebrities and movie marketers to promote and connect with their followers in an authentic way and experience the power of organic content and first-hand interactions.”
Leveraging the various marketing tools that Facebook and Instagram have to offer has elongated the typical film marketing exercise that used to last just three weeks.
“The marketing window is 45-60 days currently. In some cases, films create milestones much in advance. Movie makers have realised that if they build a community in advance, when the time comes, they can launch it in the community,” said a Facebook spokesperson.
Interestingly, most moviegoers make the decision to watch a movie based on the music album of the film which they watch or listen to on YouTube. Given its limitations, Facebook is yet to make a significant dent in the music promotion aspect of film marketing.
MUSIC MARKETING AND FACEBOOK Taking note of the need gap, Facebook is focusing on building music-related products and tools. “Music is increasingly becoming important on Facebook. We are looking at music from both, the user side through Facebook Live for audio launches or groups, and the owners’ side through Rights Managers to protect the copyright of content creators,” commented a Facebook spokesperson about the platform’s growing focus on music content. “Since the appeal power gap between Facebook and YouTube is not very high, as we build the music ecosystem, we expect this distribution to change very rapidly,” he added.
Movie producers and actors use Facebook and Instagram to engage with fans and viewers, offering them snackable content and also hosting Facebook Live interactions for promotional activities. Facebook also debuted a camera filter for the movie Sanju, using which fans could try on Sanjay Dutt’s jail look.
As part of their research for the report, Ormax Media studied over 25,000 moviegoers across several cities, demographics and strata in a period of six months, assessing performance of live media basis the impact created in driving movie ticket sales. It covered various tiers of movies – from large box office openers to niche releases with emerging stars.
One of the features which has the most potential is Facebook’s messenger chat bot, used by Fox Star Studios for the promotion of Baaghi 2 and Sanju. The bot, which allows movie makers to incentivise users for engagement, works as a native ticketing platform. Shikha Kapur, Chief Marketing Officer - Fox Star Studios told exchange4media in an interview ahead of the launch of Baaghi 2 that the bot gives “a more intimate/high touch way to engage with the film’s audience pool. They are then potentially our evangelists who will propagate our stories to their friends and family,” she said.
Akshay Kumar recently launched the trailer for his upcoming movie ‘Gold’ on IGTV, in addition to launching it live via Facebook. While IGTV is a fairly new product, Facebook expects it to soon have a bigger role in promoting movies.