Films' promotional budget adding stress on market

The promotional budgets of films seem to be getting bigger and bigger, adding extra stress on the market

Gone are the days when promotions and publicity of the film used to take up a small portion of the budget of the film. Thanks to the advent of social media perhaps, now P&A budgets are making for a bigger and bigger share in the budget pie. In a milieu of films releasing, the film makers' biggest concern remains how to get the attention of the cine goers. To get that attention and retain it, the makers are spending greater and greater amounts for publicity, thus making the stakes higher and higher for the film in the market. While we had one music launch not so long back, now every song is launched in separate glittering events before the actual launch. This, apart from the various promotional activities thought up by the production and PR team, thus pumping in more funds. While these promotions might or might not help a film, it definitely places a bigger risks for films, since it requires bigger returns for it to get even.

Aggressive promotions did not translate into Shaandaar’s success

A liability
Says a source, “On an average, filmmakers spend anywhere between R5 crore to R20 crore to market films. Presently, an amount like Rs 5-6 crore is bare minimum for any flick to be noticed by the audience. Even if a project costs R2 crore, the producers will have to shell out an additional R5 crore, at least, to be able to spread the word about their film. Over time, marketing and promotions have become very aggressive and it goes without saying that if a filmmaker doesn’t put in money for extensive promotions, chances are that the film wouldn’t work at the box office.”

However, 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha' faired well at the BO despite not being promoted extensively
However, 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha' faired well at the BO despite not being promoted extensively

“It is also believed that a well-marketed film will result in building excitement around it and the audiences wouldn’t mind shelling out money to buy tickets,” adds the source.

Filmmakers Onir opines that nowadays, P&A have become a liability for producers. “Today, P&A has become a liability for both big-budget and small-budget films. Having to spend on media coverage to reach the audience is sad. But, it’s also true that content no longer guarantees media coverage.”

Content is king
Sandeep Singh, who has co-produced films such as Mary Kom and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela, says that ultimately content of the film is the king. “Every aspect of filmmaking is important, but today, the industry folk believe in numbers and not in the art of filmmaking. For me, content is the king and a content driven film will do well despite moderate promotions as opposed to a film with weak content and aggressive promotions. Films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Shaandaar are biggest examples. The former went on to do well despite not being promoted a lot whereas Shaandaar’s feisty promotions did not translate into a good run at the box office,” he says.

“Also today there are numerous avenues to market a film and the team which handles promotions comes up with innovative ideas to do so. We as producers get attracted and invest the money. If the film ends up bombing at the box-office it is us who has to bear the brunt,” adds Singh.

Hansal Mehta seconds Singh’s opinion and believes that good content is all that matters,” P &A can never sell a poor product. Aggressive marketing might give you a great opening on Friday but the quality of the content decides box office success. This ridiculous spending is ruining the industry and if this doesn’t change, we are heading towards a financial disaster.”

Sachiin Joshi, who has co-produced Jazbaa, says that investing well in P&A can make or break a film. “People nowadays are busy in the lives. Therefore extensive promotions are the only way through which you can get them theatres,” he explains.

P&A budget of a few films
>> Dilwale - Rs 20-25cr
>> Bajirao Mastani - Rs 20-25cr
>> PRDP - Rs 28-32cr
>> Shaandaar - Rs 12-15cr
>> ABCD 2 - Rs 8-12cr
>> Drishyam - Rs 10-12
>> PKP 2 - Rs 8-10 cr
>> Katti Batti - Rs 10-12cr
>> Hero - Rs a10-12cr

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