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Why Bollywood is Turning Out to be a Super Failure

by Rajesh Gotan

In 2022, Bollywood spent a humongous amount of Rs.500 Crores on marketing alone. However, it is to no avail. The bookings never kicked off at the box office.

Even the movies with Big Stars are failing to achieve the first week-end collection of Rs.40 Crore which used to be Rs.110 Crore prior to COVID.

Look at the example of Brahmastra, it did not do the expected wonder.

The movie had a Big Star cast, world class special effects and a splendid marketing – the makers left no stone unturned, they spent hundreds of crores on marketing – actors singing, performing hook steps, flood of memes, travelling world over and talking about the movie and collaboration with media houses and influencers.  

So why this is happening?

The answer is that out of 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Placement and Positioning), two key pillars are not right.

Product – “The Content”

Pricing – “The Cost of Movie Going”

The pricing can still be tolerated by the audience if the content is good however, it’s clearly evident that no amount of marketing can cover up the “poor content”

COVID can no longer be cited as a reason – the Hollywood movies and regional movies are performing very well at the box office. RRR and KGF made close to Rs.1000 Crores from theatre release only. It is the content and “Content is the king”

Let’s take a little deeper look at the reasons

    • The Language and Geographical Barrier Reduced Drastically During COVID Period

During COVID, the movie makers had to monetize the content and the main stream of box office was closed, it forced them to release the dubbed movies in different languages. The good content was welcomed by the viewers and the content had the larger than even audience base.

Another example is Squid Games, despite it being a Korean Drama Series, it stuck cord with the audience internationally.

Dubbing has made the content widely consumable.

 It also widened the perspective of audience and they had to choose good contentIn the nutshell, the audience became aware and content savvy due to the wider choice available   

    • Word of Mouth and Social Media

Social media did not have any biases and it promoted good as good and bad as bad, which helped people to pick up the good. And word of mouth plays a much larger role than any amount of marketing whose effect is short-lived for a week or two.  We saw Brahmastra doing Rs.160 Crores in first two weeks and then the numbers dropped down drastically.

After initial marketing blitz, the word of mouth and reviews and ratings at various platforms drive the audiences to take a decision.

    • Inflation and Cost of Movie Going

Most movies being released on box office today were conceived prior to COVID. The consumer behaviour has changed drastically and the content needs to evolve accordingly to pull them back to theatres. Given the inflation, audiences have started filtering the content and they want to only shell out the money at box office for good content – the content quality filtration by patrons has increased drastically.

    • South Films

South film industry is focusing on Content (Product) and Pricing (Cost of watching a movie) and that’s the reason for the success they south movies and web series are doing so well as compared to Bollywood.

South films have perfected the art of knowing what audience needs and at what price. Their movies strike chord with the audience of all geographies. 

In the nutshell, it’s the misplaced implementation of 4 P’s of marketing that is leading to big failure of the Bollywood movies at the box office. Also, the best of Bollywood box office movies are not dubbed in local languages thereby reducing the addressable viewer base. 

In desperation, Bollywood has started early release of movies on OTT platforms. Audiences do not mind waiting for few weeks or months to watch the movie over OTT at a much reduced cost. It has made audience very choosy as to what they want

What Can Make Bollywood Come back

Bollywood has to treat movies like a product which sells on its merit and not on marketing and big Start Cast alone.

Good content is the only solution.  For watching Kashmir Files, people flew to India from abroad – such is the power of good content. Bhool Bhulaiya 2 also performed well.

Bollywood needs to strive on good content that touches the pulse of the viewers with the right pricing. Some innovative marketing is also required – Netflix has learnt this art. The promotions and Trailers done by them on social media spotlight the key scenes which intrigue the viewers and they look forward to watching the content.

Also, when playing the right cards of Content and Pricing, Bollywood needs to let go the desperation to launch the content early on OTT.

However, ups and downs are a part of any industry. Bollywood must have drawn learnings from the failures.

This is such an old and renowned industry of the world and it has power to bounce back.

And we all look forward to it!

Howsoever good is the packaging and marketing, a poor content is short lived and can’t cut the ice.

“…end me sab theek ho jaata hai …Happys Endings. aur agar… aur agar theek na ho to woh the end nahi hai dosto,…..Picture abhi baaki hai.”
Dialogue, Om Shanti Om

Start- up culture is ever than before all over the world and they are real booster of the economy.

But the question is, how many start up are successful? So the answer is that it is a very meagre percentage!

It is a highly risky proposition for the investor and for the start up as well – both are at risk. One with the money, other with the time and the effort. In this article, let us try and understand that what an investor looks for in your start up. The start- up may also view them as Frequently Asked Questions by the investors and the answer to those become “Tips” for you to get funded.

So let’s try and cover these points in simple language avoiding any type of technicalities or Jargons.

1. The Big Picture

Develop a very short introduction that instantly strikes chord with the investor. In the nutshell, it should communicate why you and your business is worthy of a closer look. Remember that, investors hate fluffy and global talks.

If you are able to get the investor interested at this juncture, it means you have crossed one key milestone.

2. The Problem Being Addressed

Clearly articulate why you are in the business you are in, and how uniquely it benefits your customers. Be specific and refrain from hopping here and there with huge amount of statistics or data.   

3. The Solution

You not only present the solution over here but also state how you will do it better than others. For example, if you are in business of yoga, the yoga as a solution to health problem is already known, therefore you need to articulate how you are different than others like “we not provide yoga classes to the foreign visitors but we also organise cultural shows and circuit tours for them to get idea about our rich heritage”.

“It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it alwyas takes longer. So Plan for that.”
Richard Harroch

4. The Market

First clearly define your market, like in above case it’s the foreigners coming to India. And then clearly define the size of opportunity which is in currency or any other directly relatable number. You may also refer to any credible source here – a report or research. Ideally, you must have your own research conducted as well on a good sample size. This is of the importance for the investor to assess the depth of the market and the long term prospects.    

5. The Business Model

Here you need to talk about “how will you conduct your business”. For example, you may want to open up franchisees for your yoga business with just one centre of excellence owned by the company. Talk about the various revenue streams here.  In this case, it can be revenue share with the franchisee, enrolment fee and one time Franchise Fee. At this state, the business model will be evaluated for its viability.

6. The “Unfair Advantage”

Here you need to mention about any distinguished edge that is there in your business. Like a patent, a proprietary technology, any exclusive rights, formulas. Something that is hard to match or an unusually strong and defensible market proposition.

7. The Competition

Never say that there is no competition. That may send a signal to investors that you do not understand your external environment very well. Like to Airplanes, the competition is bullet trains. Explain your competition in a fair manner and then state how are you going to be different (better) than them. Here you must draw the battle cards very well.  

8. Sales and Marketing Plan

Be very specific here. It’s not good enough to say that you are going to reply on word of mouth or your website. Such statements may imply that you do not have any marketing plan. You need to clearly define as to “how will you get your customers” – a very clear sales/distribution plan. Here you need to wear the sales and marketing hat. Without customers, no business can survive. For example, if you are in specialised garments, you need to enlist the on-line market places where you will list them and the over-all digital marketing plan translating to quantifiable numbers.

9. The Team

It’s rightly said, most of the investments are made on people. Present you team very well with the different roles and responsibilities each member will take up. Communicate the demonstrated abilities of the team in the past- A track record of building 2 successful companies. A good plan with a poor team hardly has any chance of success whereas a good team can make a mediocre plan work.

10. Money and Milestones

Tell the investors

  • How much money you need
  • How would you spend it
  • What financing you obtained previously and how you spent it
  • Develop three scenario’s – For large, medium and small investment
  • Divide your funds into three buckets:
    1. Funds required for day to day operations with basic infrastructure
    2. Funds needed to get customers for your product or service
    3. The Funds needed to expand your program or business

If you prepare well with the above “Tips”, investors will find very hard to turn down you proposal. So get prepared and get funded!

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