For a nation that loves its films, the ability to sample them conveniently before they launch is surely desirable. Global mobile and video media company Vuclip found, in its Global Video Insights survey, that film trailers have a major share of online video viewing and sharing by India's
consumers aged 18-35 years.
Of these, 65% share mobile videos, over 50% of smartphone users watch movie trailers on their handsets, and 36% share superhero film trailers.
With easy access to film trailers online, and the fact that the film industry is doing well - even "offbeat" films are succeeding - the connection between the two, as far as consumers are concerned, would surely strengthen. A long stride ahead of seeing trailers only at movie halls during breaks, as happened earlier.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which has crossed the Rs. 100 crore earnings mark, would have been "offbeat" a decade ago. Atul Hegde, CEO, Ignitee Digital Services, believes its online pre-launch efforts helped it succeed.
"Its trailer was released during a live chat session on Google+ Hangout featuring winners of an online contest along with the hero Farhan Akhtar and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. We also created the 'First Look Club' to share exclusive content with subscribers 12 hours before others saw it."
"The trailer is a film's central nerve, its nucleus," said Shikha Kapur, executive director marketing, studios, Disney UTV. "A film's online communication is at your quick disposal to see, engage with, chase and share."
Mumbai-based film buff Shobhit Dandia, 30, agreed: "Now, I definitely check the trailer out online before seeing a film. I have gone for films whose trailers I liked, in spite of poor reviews - Kya Kool Hain Hum got pathetic critic ratings, but was thoroughly enjoyable. A good trailer can definitely influence choice."
Kapur pointed to how Disney UTV positioned the successful Barfi online. "Its first look was about surprise, fun and happiness, which created consumer stickiness and sharing."
Nitin Bawankule, director ecommerce, Google India, said, "Movie trailers are a big category on YouTube. Search queries see three visible peaks: trailer launch, music release and movie release. With more movies releasing now, trailer views give a good initial indication of consumer interest. The Krrish 3 trailer got four million views in three days." Google owns YouTube.
He added that good response to Ra.One and Cocktail on YouTube before launch and their theatre success indicates a correlation. "Cocktail's trailer was launched exclusively online. The music and trailer were instant hits. The film was a huge success."
Siddhartha Roy, COO consumer business, Hungama, said, "Trailers and music videos being viewed as they suit consumers is fuelling the film industry itself. It opens up a new value system - consumers proactively consume content while producers work hard on impactful content. Don 2's augmented reality app that, when pointed at the poster, ran a special trailer, created huge consumer pull."
Tanuj Garg, CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures, pointed to the consumers' ability to preview more adult fare, such as for Ragini MMS (1 and 2), Kya Super Kool Hain Hum and Dirty Picture online. "The target audience gets to watch the real stuff. Such content would have to be diluted for TV."
With three quarters of India's population below 35 years, the online trailer-film success connection can only strengthen as filmmakers step up their pre-release innovations, everyone agreed. Disney UTV's efforts with Ship of Theseus, promoted solely online, is an example. The film geo-targeted consumers via a Facebook mechanism for a 'Vote for your city' campaign. "Starting with five cities, we've now screened it - by its third week - in 31 cities, based on consumer votes," Kapur said.
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