Ajay Mehta, Founder and Managing Director of Gurgaon based Interactive Television Pvt. Ltd. comes from a family of movie distribution business. Talking about how it all started, Ajay says, “I started thinking of how additional advertising could help our movies open better. However, we didn’t have the budget to do that. I thought it would be great if brands could partner with us and co-promote the movies by getting branding opportunities wherever the movie is advertised.” That continued for a couple of movies, post which Ajay fine tuned the business model to cover all aspects of movie marketing. Over the years, in-cinema advertising emerged as their primary vertical.
Watching a movie in a theatre isn’t something new. Yet, cinema advertising has seen a considerable growth in recent years. One wonders what is driving the marketers to invest there. “Historically, cinema advertising was big in India but took a beating after the advent of colour television and then, satellite television. In the last few years, cinema has started growing again due to a number of factors. The multiplexes have ensured that the premium audiences frequent the movies, digitisation of single screens has meant that new movies can reach the smaller towns on the same day as metros — this has meant that piracy has been somewhat contained and new audiences have started visiting cinemas,” he explains and continues, “Consolidation in the industry, especially with multiplexes, has meant fewer and stronger players who are serious about advertising revenues and have the scale to innovate and execute when it comes to advertising revenues. Companies such as Interactive have deep domain expertise and have invested in reaching out to advertisers and creating tools for monitoring and measurement.”
With the boom in multiplexes — a phenomenon termed as ‘multiplexisation’ — the Indian audience has gone back to the theatres. “The multiplexes have a huge contribution. One must keep in mind that watching a film is a group activity in India — whether it is with family or friends. Multiplexes have taken this movie watching behaviour a step further, giving audiences a complete experience with not just the movie, but food and beverages, retail and entertainment. This has also emerged as a great catchment area for advertisers,” opines Ajay.
Who goes to the cinemas?
Estimation from top 8 metros
“The multiplexes have a huge contribution. One must keep in mind that watching a film is a group activity in India — whether it is with family or friends. Multiplexes have taken this movie watching behavior a step further, giving audiences a complete experience with not just the movie, but food and beverages, retail and entertainment. This has also emerged as a great catchment area for advertisers,” opines Ajay.
While Indian brands still majorly relies on print and television advertising, some brands are heavily leaning towards cinema advertising. A recent study called ‘At A Theatre Near You’ by Interactive suggests that cinema advertising majorly targets the youth and premium audiences. It tries to understand the theatre going audience in urban India and how that can help marketers to advertise in cinema. Along with the inherent advantages of the medium such as captive audiences and being hyperlocal in nature, it is a perfect medium for a number of categories. “You can create a focused campaign today in cinemas and advertise in particular catchments, targeting specific weeks and movies to suit your campaign dates. There is limited leakage and cinema delivers higher recall as compared to other mediums. The audiences (15 – 55 year old from NCCS A/B households as mentioned in the study) find the advertising interesting in cinemas as compared to other mediums. The brands get high Return of Investment,” he says.
There are brands like Vicco Vajradanti, LIC or Choc On — big names in cinema advertising, along with luxury automobile brands like Jaguar, Mercedes or Audi – that are taking to multiplexes. What’s driving them?
There are brands like Vicco Vajradanti, LIC or Choc On — big names in cinema advertising, along with luxury automobile brands like Jaguar, Mercedes or Audi – that are taking to multiplexes. What’s driving them? “Our study shows that cinema delivers premium audiences and 61% of NCCS A are moviegoers. Further, you can shortlist cinemas based on their catchments, ticket prices and titles, to ensure that you reach out to an even more focused set of premium audiences. There are also theatres like a Gold Class etc, which caters exclusively to the premium audiences. Hence, it becomes a perfect medium for luxury brands to advertise,” says Ajay.
While it all sounds perfect in theory, one wonders how the ‘At A Theatre Near You’ report is going to help marketers in their Ad Ex allocation decisions in reality. Explains Ajay, “Despite the popularity of a movie-going audience, the share of cinema advertising is only around 1% of the total Ad Ex. One of the prime reasons being the lack of data and measures to decide on what their investments in this medium should be, and what are the returns on their investments.”
Over the last couple of years, Interactive has launched several initiatives in this direction, garnering support and recognition from all stakeholders of cinema advertising. “We launched CAM (Cinema Audit and Monitoring) as the first definitive third party monitoring system for advertising in cinemas. CAM ensures that advertisers have access to monitoring reports as well as competitive advertising data across all key cinemas in India. Recently, we also launched Buzz Index, a tool that identifies, captures and quantifies the buzz around films across all social media platforms and arrives at a ‘buzz score’. Buzz Index ensures that advertisers can recognise all movies which are capturing the imagination of the consumer whether they are big or even small, niche ones,” he says.
The recent research, done across the top eight metros in India, Ajay insists, aims to understand and decipher the movie going audience. “We have tried to figure out who is the audience, what motivates them to go to the movies and what are their other consumption habits. This is arguably the first of its kind study and makes for a fascinating read. It will help to answer any questions that advertisers may have, but have not been able to get answers to; regarding the audience profile, their behaviour and their consumption habits. We think advertisers will find this useful in planning their campaigns,” he signs off.