Paid Previews – Bollywood’s New Bandwagon

Chennai Express Paid Preview

Chennai Express Paid Preview

Jo dikhta hai wo bikta hai is a deeply rooted mantra that has been in the DNA of every marketing strategist and the top shots of advertising since ages. In an age where marketing has become a viral phenomenon crucial to the success or failure of a product, Bollywood is busy discovering and inventing myriad strategies for promoting its films. Every available medium is exploited by the production houses and their media planners in hyping a movie before it hits the box offices.

Paid Previews are the new rage now being extensively used by film-makers for promoting their flicks. Borrowed from Hollywood, the concept of paid previews is instrumental in pulling the audiences to the theatres and ensuring good opening day and weekend collections as more people get pulled to the movies through word of mouth. It also helps the production houses significantly in adding phenomenal amounts to their kitty in the final tally.  For the audiences it comes as a fresh experience to get a sneak peak (a term used for paid previews) of the movies before reading any critic reviews.

The popularity of paid previews has multiplied by many times because the audiences and especially the die-hard film fans rejoice at the prospect of watching a movie even before it is released. It is almost equivalent to watching something as exclusive as a film premier. Several movies have grossed tremendous sums of money through paid previews. Singh is King had set a record by earning Rs 50 Lakh with 155 paid previews. The economics have only multiplied at an insane rate since then. 3 Idiots collected a whopping 2.75 crore and Chennai Express is the latest sensation which has smashed all records by collecting 6.75 Crores through paid previews. Rock On which released 1000 prints on the first day had to release 1250 prints in the subsequent days because of its successful paid previews.

As a marketing strategy, the success of paid previews depends a great deal on a producer’s confidence upon his creation. Secondly, the genre to which a movie belongs is also crucial in ascertaining their success. For highly anticipated movies like Singh is King, Om Shanti Om or Ek Tha Tiger they are bound to be successful. The case will not be the same for movies like Mumbai Meri Jaan or Mukhbir which are serious movies devoid of the blockbuster quotient. Moreover the tickets are available at friendly prices and even if they are priced at premium rates the price does not exceed the amount paid for watching a movie on weekends. On a weekday, paid previews become great publicity platforms for strengthening the weekend business. Under no circumstances should they be mistaken as a metro city concept for they have equal number of takers in non-metro cities where the presence of multiplexes is on the rise.

Call it a marketing gimmick to ensure easy success at the box office or an added attraction to lure the movie buffs to the theatres a day in advance, paid previews are undoubtedly emerging as the most reliable tools of marketing in the glamour industry now. Any film which carries the blockbuster material gets the maximum hype through this magic wand. They symbolize Indian cinema’s maturity which has completed an illustrious journey of 100 years and is awaited by many more centuries in time to come.

Author: Prithu Gupta, Writer, Vishaka Communications

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