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Subm itted by adm in on Mon, 02/18/2013 - 12:28

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R Balki, Chairman and Chief Creative


Partner of Lowe Lintas + Partners, India

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Adv ertising at m ov ie theatres m ay be the fifth or sixth preference for a m edia planner, and the m arket size
still a fraction of the total adv ertising pie. But the m arket is growing at 3 5-4 0%. Shobhana Nair decodes
the num bers behind in-cinem a adv ertising, and what it m eans for adv ertisers and cinem a owners

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Picture this: Sunday ev ening, y oure at a m ultiplex to catch that Bolly wood m ulti-starrer y ouv e long
waited for. Phones m uted, pop-corn is in place, the lights dim . Suddenly , y ou alm ost jum p out of y our seat
as there appears a Censor Board certificate with the title of Lagaan or Rangeela which released ov er a
decade ago. The next instant, y ou see the words Shock laga ky a? followed by the Hav ells logo.
Any m ultiplex regular worth his pop-corn would agree that these film s-prior-to-the-actual-film s hav e both
im prov ed and increased in the past decade. And though not all of them would m anage to induce chuckles
am ong the stands as the abov e cam paign (2 01 0, during the releases of De Dana Dan and Peepli Liv e) did,
truth is that this industry (y es, it deserv es to be called one) is growing with ey ebrow-raising pace. That
said, in-theatre adv ertising (not to be confused with infilm ) is as old as the Bachchans and Dilip Kum ars
them selv es. From projector slides of Lux soap to the perennially running Vicco Turm eric, nahin cosm etic

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jingle (as rare as single screen theatres now), the trend becam e a norm and is now a m edium by itself.

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Raking up t he numbers
Lets get down to stats straightaway . Cinem a adv ertising is just 0.5% of the total adv ertising pie, but this
still m eant a rev enue close to Rs 2 1 0 crore in 2 01 2 (according to Magna Global). It is the reach and im pact
of this m edium thats m aking us sit up and chart its growth.
S Venkatesh, Sr EVP Director, Intelligence Practice of Magna Global explains, Cinem a adv ertising has
grown at a CAGR of 1 1 % in the last fiv e y ears. It has seen its share of low points though. In 2 009 , while the
stalem ate between theatre-owners and producers was one of the reasons, IPL and the swine flu scare kept
the audiences away . In 2 01 2 , while m ost adv ertisers m aintained their budgets, gov ernm ent spending on
cause and consum er awareness went up significantly , curbing the de-growth. Anand Vishal, Sr VP Operations & Sales, Fun Cinem as, states, The total adv ertising pie m ay sound less, but its an im portant
chunk for the m ultiplex owners. On a ticket worth Rs 1 00, cinem a owners dont pocket the entire am ount.
It gets div ided am ong different stakeholders. But when it com es to ad rev enue, we bag the entire am ount
and hence it stands at about 50-6 0% of the total m ultiplex bottom line.
Ent ert ainment -Ent ert ainment -Ent ert ainment
Needless to m ention, were talking about the worlds largest film industry in term s of m ov ies churned out
ev ery week, and footfalls to theatres are assets waiting to be captured by brands. Siddharth Bhardwaj,
CMO & National Sales Head Corporate at UFO Digital Cinem a feels, Entertainm ent is the m ost
aspirational space for any adv ertiser to be in. The brand wants to be where the v iewer is in a positiv e fram e
of m ind. This y ear, we hav e already doubled the num ber of adv ertisers through cinem a adv ertising. To
spell out what he refers to, UFO earned an approxim ate Rs 3 5 crore during the last financial y ear and its
now targeting around Rs 7 5-80 crore in 2 01 2 -2 01 3 . The confidence com es from the fact that from 2 00-odd
clients last y ear, it has fetched close to 3 50 of them this y ear. And how? Well, we see a direct link between
that and UFOs exclusiv e tie-ups with 3 ,000 screens in India. Which m edia planning agency would find it
tough to identify key m arkets this way ? The other leading cinem a adv ertising m edium Qube Cinem a
Network (QCN) by Real Im age Media Technologies Pv t. Ltd. has anetwork of 1 ,7 00 screens across the
country with a strong presence in the South and it claim s to hav e a reach akin to a General Entertainm ent
Channel (GEC). In fact in Tam il Nadu, QCN is second only to Sun TV in term s of effectiv e reach in the state.

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MS Rajagopalan, President of QCN, believ es that cinem a adv ertising in India has the potential to cross the
Rs 1 ,000 crore m ark. People hav e alway s considered cinem a in a tactical way for big occasions such as
Diwali, Eid or the A-list release. With this attitude, the industry will rem ain sm all, at Rs 2 00-2 50 crore.
Our m ission for it - to m ake it larger is strong. Of course, cinem a cannot replace TV, but can definitely
stand alongside it. Research clearly establishes TV plus cinem a works better than TV alone, he say s,
adding, theres a m edia m ultiplier effect that TV and cinem a bring in.

'People don't know that I'm a geek - a


complete gadget freak...'

In order to prov ide m etrics like TV does, QCN took the initiativ e and appointed The Nielsen Com pany to
conduct a surv ey based on the house-to-house IRS pattern. This analy sis in Tam il Nadu shows that, ev en
using a conserv ativ e im pact ratio of 1 :3 for one exposure on cinem a ov er one on TV, QCN can generate
effectiv e reach that could rank it am ongst leading TV channels.
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A far cry from TV ads?


Other large play ers in the scene rely on occupancy and ticket sales data to understand audience preference.
Cinem a lacks audience m easurem ent unlike TV or Print, which hav e TAM and IRS respectiv ely to their
rescue. In cinem a, audience m easurem ent would m ean m ore brands turning up with faith. Ashok
Ganapathy , CEO, Reliance MediaWorks, adm its, The footfalls are there but its about getting the industry
organized through audience m easurem ent. Till then, its v ery difficult for big adv ertisers to be interested.
You need a sy stem to m onitor if required.
So while nobody s questioning the effectiv ity of this m edium or its reach, the debate which alway s sparks
when m edia planners chalk out plans for their clients is cost per contact in com parison to TV. For instance,
if a brand shells out less than a rupee on a single person in TV, the cost rises to Rs 2 3 per person in cinem a.
This is a m ajor deterrent and it forces m any brands to m ake m idget budgets. Now we know why cinem a
adv ertising is nev er m ore than 4 to 5% of entire m edia plans of m ajor brands.
Nandini Dias, COO Lodestar UM, questions, How do y ou expect cinem a to hav e the cost efficiency of TV?
It will nev er hav e. And then the adv ertisers will alway s talk to select well-to-do fam ilies, not being able to
go to the m asses. If y ou com pare cost per contact on TV & cinem a, the latter is terribly expensiv e! Hence,

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brands com e on board only during big-ticket m ov ie releases and occupancy is guaranteed.
Digit al is t he key
That said, audience m easurem ent and cost effectiv eness arent the
only reasons holding brands back from deep-div ing in cinem a
adv ertising. Out of the ov er 1 1 ,000 screens (single and m ultiplexes)
in India, an approxim ate of 6 ,500 are digital. This m eans that for
the rest, i.e., analogue cinem as, theres no accountability

of

whether the ad was play ed at all! Ajay Mehta, MD, Interactiv e


Telev ision, of which Group M holds 6 0% stake shares, Threefourths of cinem a adv ertising is happening in m ultiplexes. Will that
alway s be the scenario? No, because single screens too are getting
higher footfalls due to new film releases through digital technology .
Single screens will start getting a lot of adv ertisem ents in the
com ing fiv e y ears.
Rakesh Endlaw, Media Head - Dabur adds, Cinem a is a v ery
effectiv e m edium , but in sm aller towns, it is not structured. We
dont know whether the ad ran or not. In cities, things are m ore
structured and m onitoring is possible. But with cinem a going
digital,

especially

in

the

South,

this

picture

is

looking

m ore optim istic than before. Earlier, associating with cinem a was a
tedious and expensiv e process due to analogue prints.
The good news is that digitization is picking up rapidly . MS
Rajagopalan of QCN, who has a network of 1 ,4 2 4 digitized theatres
in South India say s, In the North, life begins and ends with
m ultiplexes not only for the audience but also for brands and m edia
planners. In TN, out of 6 00 theatres, only 50 are m ultiplexes. Each
of the rest hav e a seating capacity of 6 00 and with top m ov ies being
play ed, a m inim um audience is guaranteed.
But its not like nobody was in the sphere since the analogue day s
began. The m ost recalled in-theatre brand is Vicco, and it has been
using cinem a to effectiv e results since y ears. Twenty -fiv e y ears
ago, cinem a had a huge dem and and TV wasnt that strong. We
started m eeting ev ery theatre owner all ov er India and established
a direct contact. We started to adv ertise in theatres because a
m ajority of theatres were in interiors, where we wanted to reach.
The im pact is definitely better than TV! Viccos GM PY Palv ankar
is expectedly the m ost optim istic sounding person on this subject.
And talking of regular adv ertisers, it m ust be said that SAB TV has
latched on to the digital phenom enon for plugging its fam ily oriented shows. Anooj Kapoor, Business Head at SAB giv es us the
reason: Our channels m essage is that real fun lies in watching TV
with the whole fam ily and theatres are the ideal places for us to say
so. Sanjay Tripathy , Executiv e VP Head Marketing, Products
and Direct Channels at HDFC Life strongly believ es that there has
been a positiv e co-relation between cinem a adv ertising and HDFC
Lifes brand awareness and consideration, am ong audiences who
hav e v isited the cinem a chains.
Talking Regional Hindi m ov ies m ay be play ing a key role in cinem a
adv ertising but as per the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media & Entertainm ent Industry Report 2 01 2 , only 1 7 % of
Hindi m ov ies were certified while the rest were from regional cinem a in 2 01 1 . And as per industry
estim ates, around 2 9 m ov ies release ev ery week in 3 0 languages. This presents huge opportunities for
brands to tap unexplored m arkets. oreov er, this access will be m ore as and when digitization speeds up in
regional m arkets.
Tushar Dhingra, who has been responsible for taking BIG Cinem a from a 2 3 -screen regional operator to one
of the leading brands of India, adds, With the help of cinem a adv ertising, targeting can be v ery sharp by
selecting the language of the film . You can choose y our locality and genre of a m ov ie for an effectiv e
com m unication with y our target audience.
Talking of innov ation The biggest and m ost unique way where cinem a adv ertising scores ov er other form s
is the captiv e audience factor. Seeking undiv ided attention in a relaxed atm osphere, it strikes the nail on
the head. And with the absence of a rem ote control, activ e m ind space is guaranteed.
Nirm al Jain, Chairm an, IIFL (India Infoline Group) agrees to this, adding, Cinem a adv ertising has not
only increased our brand awareness but has also got us a significant num ber of sales leads. IIFL got into this
genre in 2 009 , with approxim ately 5-1 0% of the ov erall budget. This spend has only increased y ear after
y ear since.
That said, effectiv e com m unication is possible today in way s bey ond on-screen ads too. There hav e been
m any

successful

case

studies

of

off-screen

activ ations

hav ing

worked

wonders

for

brands.

Shekhar Banerjee, Senior VP - Madison feels, In cinem a adv ertising has m ov ed bey ond the screen. At the

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end of the day , the audience goes for entertainm ent, so dont be an intrusion. If y our approach can add to
the entertainm ent, thats m ore like it!
Banerjee shared an exam ple about Cadbury Bournv ille, which m ade a strategic alliance with the
blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. As part of the integrated cam paign, Bournv ille conducted a
special screening for guests and winners of the digital m edia cam paign.
During the special screening in Mum bai and Delhi, the audience was engaged through a unique Bournv ille
experience and an augm ented reality gam e using the m otion-sensing technology , which required activ e
participation from the audience. It was designed in a way that m ade the v iewers literally throw up their
arm s with excitem ent to collect the Ghanaian Cocoa, to earn their Bournv ille.
Cinem a adv ertising can be im pactful with innov ativ e ideas, but brands still hesitate to associate with
digitized cinem a halls on a long-term basis. Firstly , nobody can guarantee the fate of a m ov ie at the box
office; brand m anagers putting m oney blindly on m ov ies with A-list stars can backfire too. For them ,
sm all-budget m ov ies do not exist and a m ov ie prov ing to be a dark horse is rare.
Nandini Dias giv es her v iew: Nowaday s, we prefer ty ing up with m ov ies than with theatres. You pick
up 2 0-2 5 m ov ies which y ou think will do well. For those, around 2 -3 % is what goes in the entire m arketing
spend - thats enough to use the m edium sufficiently well.
But this kind of planning creates room for cost inefficiency , Nadeem Manekiy a tells us. Co-founder of Nest
Media which prov ides 3 6 0 degree cinem a solutions, he judges cinem a adv ertising to hav e a retail and
wholesale sy stem . You will be charged heav ily during a big m ov ie release because sm all m ov ies didnt
generate any ad rev enue for us. Brands dont com e on board during sm all m ov ies ev en after 9 0% discount
on the rate card.
For cinem a, a m inim um one m onth of buy ing is needed for the brand recall. So if y ou buy for a m onth, the
calculation will be m uch cheaper, he say s. And in order to m ake brands realize this cost-effectiv eness,
alm ost all cinem a chains now hav e experienced sales team s dealing directly with adv ertisers, m edia
planning agencies and concessioners who dedicatedly plan for cinem a.
For adv ertisers, theatres with a strong bouquet of screens work better. PVRs recent acquisition of Cinem ax
m eans a strong network of cinem a chains across India for adv ertisers who would want to m ake the m ost of
this consolidation. For PVR, cinem a adv ertising contributes 1 3 .5% of the total rev enue, m aking it critical
for the m arket leader. It believ es that in two y ears, they hav e the ability to reach Rs 1 00 crore in this
bracket.
Gautam Dutta, COO PVR say s, Ov er the last sev en y ears, we hav e had double digit growth because
ev ery one is looking at this m edium carefully . We get the m ost discerning audience, willing to pay extra.
For our clients, we do regular researches to know about this custom er. How m any tim es do they watch
cinem a, what kind of cinem a do they watch, what pricing works m ore? All this and m ore is researched and
shared with the clients for them to plan better.
And talking of innov ation, just as the Hav ells cam paign we spoke of earlier, y ou m ight recall Frootis Digen
Verm a cam paign, which saw slides reading Ms Madhuri Dixit, Digen Verm a is waiting for y ou at the
cafeteria, creating a superb buzz. Sim ple ideas hav e worked too, and being in the cinem a but out of the box
is difficult but not im possible.
Looking Ahead
Magna Global forecasts cinem a adv ertising to grow at a CAGR of 2 2 % in the next fiv e y ears. S Venkatesh
say s, Theatrical rev enues will continue to dom inate the ov erall pie. Growing urbanization, aggressiv e
m ultiplex expansion plans (m ultiplex screens are expected to double in the next fiv e y ears), increasing
digitization of screens are som e of the growth driv ers for the category .
Ketan Lakhani, Director of Orienta Cine Adv ertising Pv t Ltd, backs this: With an increasing num ber of
film s crossing the Rs 1 00 crore m ark, this industry is poised to see a consistent growth in the near future.
Orienta registered an annual turnov er of Rs 7 5 crore in 2 01 1 -2 01 2 and is aim ing to cross Rs 1 00 crore this
y ear.
But it is Harshav ardhan Gangurde, VP Marketing of INOX, who offers som ething that could pav e the
way for the future. We can giv e an assurance that we will charge only for the num ber of people who hav e
com e in, i.e., cost per contact. The occupancy figures will tell y ou how m any people turned up for a show.
This technique will be a gam e-changer. We are in talks with sev eral brands and they re all excited. We
can see why .
Cinem a adv ertising has a long way to go from being a m ere Rs 2 1 0 crore industry . Clearly , digitization and
audience m easurem ent are m ajor roadblocks which cinem a owners will hav e to ov ercom e. And for brands,
just running a 3 0-second spot will not get them any where, a shock laga treatm ent using the 7 0-m m
screen we as a nation are so obsessed with watching, will take the industry forward.
AKASH CHAWLA, Head of Marketing, National Channels, Zee
We launched Dance India Dance 3 during the festiv e season along with one of the m ajor blockbusters of
that y ear, Don 2 . Keeping in m ind the high footfalls in theatres and m arkets during this tim e, we thought

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we should present som ething to surprise people and at the sam e tim e m ake them recall their fav ourite
dance show.
KAPIL SHARMA, VP Marketing, 9 X Media
9 XM play s the latest hit Bolly wood m usic, so the audience at cinem a halls is a good fit for us to reach out
to Bolly wood m ov ie lov ers. Rather than using traditional on-screen ads, wev e chosen to opt for
the m andatory slides at Cinem ax & Plaza Theatre.
CINEMA IS THE CHOICE!
Ruosh, a footwear brand for m en based out of Bangalore, used cinem a as an effectiv e m edium to target
its audience. The brand m ade com m ercials only for cinem a v iewers with lines like Sadly , we m ake shoes
only for m en, who probably cant wait for the m ov ie to start. Mohini Binepal, Business Head Retail, Ruosh
say s, In the last three m onths, we hav e adv ertised during 1 0 English m ov ies, 1 1 Hindi m ov ies and
four regional language m ov ies. We adv ertise in genres ranging from com edy to pot-boilers to action to
dram a. In fact, we are thinking of ty ing up with m ov ie theatres at least for six m onths, if not annually , to
get efficiency and better costs. A m ajor percentage of our consum ers indicate that they cam e to know about
us through theatre, which giv es us the confidence.
BRANDS THAT SHELL OUT MORE
AT INOX: Vodafone, HDFC Life, ITC Foods, Vicco, ITC Personal Care, Lux Cozi, Samsung Mobiles, Joyallukas,
Dabur, Zuari Cement
AT FUN CINEMAS: HDFC Life, SAB TV, ICICI Prudential, Quicker.com, Set Max, Parle Agro, Parle G., Aircel,
Vodafone, Chocon
AT PVR: Lufthansa, HT, TOI, Honda, Lays Pepsi, Airtel, Loreal, Longines, Citi
Cant just run behind Khan movies!
In the star-obsessed cinem a adv ertising industry , Nadeem Manekiy a seem s to be only one with a plan. The
cofounder of Nest Media plans to form the non-profit C ASIA (Cinem a Adv ertising Screen Indian
Association) to gov ern, innov ate and benefit all. Here are excerpts from a conv ersation with Shobhana
Nair
Q] What made y ou feel t he requirement of an associat ion such as C-ASIA?
Just the opportunity of helping single screen theatres and single m ultiplex owners surv iv e through
additional adv ertising rev enue. The body aim s to seek rev enue from 3 6 0-degree v erticals of theatre
inv entories. It will m onitor their cam paign execution; we also plan to rank brands on the basis of their
pay m ent release. C-Asia will be not-forprofit, equiv alent to AAAI and IBF.
Q] But current ly cinema is t he last opt ion when it comes t o advert ising. Media planners
dont sound excit ed eit her. Why ?
Only choosing y our plan wisely will get y ou m axim um reach. As of now, not a single m edia planning
agency is into cinem a buy ing. And they dont hav e a cinem a team in place as they dont understand
cinem a. UFO is the m arket leader because they know how to use the m edium well.
Q] The reason why media planners shy away from cinema advert ising is t hat t hey t hink
it s not cost -effect ive.
On the contrary , cinem a can be v ery cheap if planned well. We try to fit exactly in the budget of the client.
In cinem a adv ertising, we hav e 1 ,000 m edium s. We are actually cinem a planners. Media planners should
giv e the brief and budget to us, but they still try to do it and then goof up, say ing, We cant understand it,
its not worth it. A fashion designer can nev er work like a tailor.
Q] So how can y ou make cinema a cost -effect ive medium?
Cinem a has to be giv en to som eone who plans and understands it for a longer term . Its crucial as cinem a is
a y ear-round affair. In a y ear, there are eight to 1 0 big releases and there are around 1 00 m ov ies if we
classify them into A/B/C classes. Why adv ertise only during a Salm an m ov ie? You can get four m ov ies for
the rates y ou pay for a Salm an m ov ie if y ou plan in adv ance. You cant just run behind Khans, that kills
the charm of cinem a! A brand has to be present for at least six to eight m ov ies a y ear to hav e an im pact.
Dont plan at the last m inute. Cinem a is affordable, but last m inute planning m akes it costly .
Feedback: shobhana.nair@exchange4 m edia.com
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