Move over blockbusters… Out-of-the-box marketing strategies are tapping thebusiness potential of a wide range of Hindi films in the overseas market
The foreign markets have becomea potentially juicy source of revenuefor the Hindi film industry. But there’s a change in focusas well, as a variety of films is drawing the attention of buyers and the audiencea like. So, while earlier, merely a handfulof biggies enjoyed an overseas release, more and more filmmakers are recognising the potential of the West.
In fact, KPMG has pegged the overseas theatrical business for Hindi filmsat Rs 7.5 billion, which is expected towitness 10.5 per cent growth (CAGR) by 2016. Ideally, 10 to 15 per cent of afilm’s business comes from the overseas market.
The pivot for success in foreign marketsis smart and innovative marketing.This can make or break a film as movies jostle for attention, from both buyers andthe foreign audience. The challenge is no longer to sell a film to the Indian diaspora but to make an impact on other cultureswhere Indians reside. However, while bigger films have marketing muscle andthe money to invest in promotion, smaller filmmakers take the film festival route tofind international buyers as well as createa buzz around their movies.
The foreign markets that generate the lion’s share of overseas business formost Hindi films are the UK, the US, the Middle East, South Africa, South EastAsia and Australia. Now, newer territories like China, Indonesia, Korea, France and Peru are potential emerging markets for Hindi films.Then there’s the film’s genre to be considered. So, just like there’s a clear divide among the audience depending on a film’s genre, this can be country-specific too. For instance, action films are a hot favourite in the Middle East and thus films like Rowdy Rathore and Agneepath generated a lot of business in these territories. Rom-coms and family dramasare appreciated in the UK and the US and thus Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET) and Tees Maar Khan found many takers there. Youth films like Delhi Belly did very well in Korea and China.
Film studios are, therefore, going all out to think up creative marketing strategies to lure the audience. During therelease of Don 2, Excel Entertainment premiered the film in Germany thanks to Shah Rukh Khan’s huge fan following there. Since the film was shot in Berlin,the actor met fans on the day of the premiereand the entire cast and crew alsomet fans during the shoot.UTV promoted Imran Khan’s EMAET and its action flick Rowdy Rathore featuring Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha via an online travelogue which helped theactors communicate and share their experiences with their fans. The film turnedout to be a big overseas success, to date,and the biggest overseas success for Imran Khan.
For Tees Maar Khan, the company got the lead actors, Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, to sell tickets at the boxoffice at UK’s top cinemas. According to company officials, this ensured a grandopening for the film.But niche films, which don’t have bigmarketing budgets, use film festivals asa promotional platform.
Thus, Anurag Kashyap’s five-hour gangster flick Gangs Of Wasseypur (released in two parts inIndia) was not only invited to the Cannesfilm festival, it was able to procure buyers too. Here’s what the industry experts haveto say…