All India Radio (AIR) is starting a new innings—as a publicity partner for films. The public broadcaster has become the official radio partner for a biopic on cricketer MS Dhoni releasing on Friday.
Promotion of The Untold Story, which portrays the life of the current ODI and T20 skipper, will be a first-of-its-kind assignment for 1956-established AIR, whose menu typically has been news and entertainment programmes alongside a bulk of public service messages.
Sources in AIR said the official partnership will bring in more revenue for the broadcaster, which is competing with private FM channels. The tie-up will also help AIR publicise its services, as its logo will be prominently displayed when the film is released for screening across 60 countries.
So, how did the deal happen?
“A company that has the publicity rights of the film approached AIR to partner in the film’s promotion,” a source said. “This is a new concept for AIR, but after examining the revenue model it was decided to give official partnership a try.”
AIR has been airing half-hour programmes on the biopic, on its 14 FM Rainbow channels and 135 local channels. The special promo gives listeners information on the 190-minute film, its cast and production, besides behind-the-scenes interviews. The promos are also live-streamed on the broadcaster’s website and AIR App for global reach.
AIR has of late pushed the pedals on revenue generation by embarking on an aggressive marketing spree. The result so far has been rewarding: the broadcaster earned Rs 457 crore in 2014-15, as against a target of Rs 450 crore.
Other filmmakers, too, have submitted proposal to partner with AIR for publicity.
“AIR’s home service comprises 419 stations across the country,” pointed out a source. “It reaches 92% of the country’s area and 99.19% of the total population. With such an expansive reach, it pips the private FM channels to the post.”