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Bollywood gets savvier with trailer debuts

By Urvi Malvania
December 07, 2018 14:42 IST
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Trailers are key to the way an audience perceives a movie and hence a big part of the lifecycle of a movie.
Urvi Malvania reports.

The promo for Zero, Shah Rukh Khan's new film

IMAGE: The promo for Zero, Shah Rukh Khan's new film.

Run down the recent string of hits by Bollywood, Badhaai Ho, Andhadhun, Raazi and many such, and the common factor is that the first look of these movies was released on YouTube.

In 2018, all the trailer releases so far, barring just a couple, have been on YouTube, with producers stepping away from television and movie exhibition theatres as the first point of engagement with audiences.

And as more, small budget films have taken to digital trailer releases with greater gusto, it has helped expand Bollywood's Rs 1 billion club.


Digital trailer releases are used by many to set down a set of expectations for the film's run at the box office.

Priti Shahani, president, Junglee Pictures, that has made Raazi and Badhaai Ho, says while there is no definitive way to find the relation between the success of a trailer and the footfalls for a film, she and her team do watch out for the like to dislike ratio on YouTube.

"If the dislike ratio is between 8 to 10 per cent, we know the sentiment is positive. If the ratio goes beyond that, we gauge that the sentiment towards the film is mixed or may be even negative," says Shahani.

Movie makers and actors track trailer views with great interest, even tweaking their final expectations of collections at the box office and marketing methods accordingly.

For example, the first glimpse of the upcoming Shah Rukh Khan starrer Zero that is being produced by his company Red Chillies Entertainment, was unveiled on YouTube.

It has had just under a hundred million views in the three weeks since its launch, close to 2 million likes, against 150,000 thousand dislikes on the platform.

This will be leveraged to increase interest in the film over the coming weeks.

Simi Deol, founder of Instant Bollywood, an agency that handles social media marketing of films says, "Eventually by having a strong YouTube marketing strategy you can get millions of views by spending zero amount on (distributing) the trailer."

The only cost involved is in cutting the trailer.

Studios and small production houses are paying close attention to the making of a trailer.

Some have also raised their budgets for producing trailers, ensuring that everything from the storyline to the songs and catchphrases are used to build up the launch of the first look.

Industry sources say the cost of producing a trailer with all its attendant trappings can vary between Rs 1 million and Rs 10 million today.

The trailer of a film needs to be cut right.

"It is the only window the audience has to the film and decides whether the customer comes to the theatre or not," Shahani, says.

While the quality of the trailer is important, distribution is also crucial, which is where social media platforms help, especially in case of the smaller budget films.

Trailers are key to the way an audience perceives a movie and hence a big part of the lifecycle of a movie.

By shrinking the screens they are distributed in, their clout does not reduce say the production houses that participated in the story.

And for some big budget movies, studios are still taking the traditional routes for release, they add.

A YouTube release helps in two ways.

One is that it helps the movie's trailer go out to a huge audience in a very short span of time.

"Moviegoers today consume more video content via Web. And YouTube is inarguably the number one platform for video," says Deol.

She says the popularity of the platform with Indian audiences is evident in the big following that Indian channels such as T-Series, Zee, YRF have.

"In fact, with a base 70 million subscribers, T-Series is world's most followed YouTube Channel, Zee is fourth and YRF fifth in the top 10 list," she adds.

The second advantage is that it helps weave the trailer release in with the overall marketing of the movie that has also become a largely digital affair today.

Studios can leverage this subscriber base along with the social media popularity of the film's star cast by cross promoting the trailers/promo on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

So while the Zero trailer launched on YouTube and was available on Facebook, and TV eventually, the film's star cast, Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, have been putting out posters and snippets from the trailer, or song clips from the movie as part of the social media promotion of the film.

It has become easier for audiences to find the trailers and producers to know what their audiences want.

"Compare this to the old way of launching a trailer on TV, where no one knew where it will come out first and on which day and what time. There are always exceptions, for example, the trailer of Sanju was launched on TV and YouTube concurrently during IPL. But that was a rare case," Deol says.

Marketers keep a keen eye on the feedback coming from the audiences too.

At times, it also helps the distribution team map the interest and territories for the film's release.

For example, the mixed reaction to this year's Diwali release Thugs of Hindostan's trailer gave the finance and distribution team enough notice to recalibrate the RoI (return on investment) expectation from the film.

"The back end analytics help a marketer gauge the exact response and like ability of the content as there is direct consumer interaction, in the form of engagement time and comments," says Amit Chandra, chairman and managing director, Trigger Happy Entertainment Network, an agency that focuses on promotion of Bollywood films.

"We have personally experienced tremendous feedback on Fukrey 2 commercials, Pari screamers, promos for Stree and many more on the platform," he adds.

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Urvi Malvania
Source: source