How Bollywood is leveraging social media

New-age interaction is all about connectivity. Social media in the internet age has allowed for ease of interaction between any two points or persons in the world. According to the Global Digital report 2019, 3.5 billion people use social media, which is almost half the world’s population.

The advent of social media has also changed the way films are marketed now. Whether it was the use of Orkut and Facebook in the initial years, to the use of more niche platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Likee, etc. now, film makers have readily embraced the creative and personalised approach that social media offers in connecting with the audience.

The marketing of movies is no longer just about running ads on television or billboards. It is about having a strategy that creates a buzz around the film in a way that it strikes the right chord with the audience. To achieve this, social media takes the crown as a medium.

In India specifically, with increased access to and declining cost of the internet and smartphones, Bollywood has been leveraging social media platforms very effectively to reach the masses. More established platforms like Youtube are used not just to release teasers, trailers or songs, but also serve as a platform for advertisement.  Moreover, the same information can be shared in different formats on other platforms such as Facebook, often using interactive methods such as quizzes, games etc. to engage the users.

While the importance of these avenues still hold, more personalised experiences are being carved out through Instagram, Likee, Pinterest and other platforms wherein the connection that is established between the film, filmmaker, music, actors and the audience is more direct. Various actors use their personal profiles to leverage a film. For the upcoming Bollywood film Toofan, starring Farhan Akhtar, the actor released his first look via Instagram on his personal profile. Similarly, actor Ranveer Singh, while marketing the upcoming biopic 83, based on Kapil Dev, shared his first look via Instagram through pictures of both the actor and Kapil Dev himself in gear.

Such initiatives make the movie experience more authentic and relatable for the audience. What is remarkable about social media is that all these campaigns can run parallelly, thrusting information at the viewers in a sizeable manner.

Using competitions and #challenges to create new trends on the short video creation social media platforms inspired by the upcoming films, is also a key movie marketing tool that Bollywood is exploring. Off late, given the remote access that is necessary in the increasingly connected digital India, Bollywood has started using short video creation platforms such as Likee, which are immensely popular in metro cities as well as Tier 2 and 3 cities. The movie Housefull 4 saw significant success in its viewership with the #TheBalaChallenge that garnered over 663 million views on Likee. With options to broadcast, and use custom filters, platforms such as Likee are being increasingly leveraged by Bollywood in a unique manner.

With the number of social media users growing exponentially year after year on short video creation platforms, film makers can no longer afford to ignore this medium to draw more audiences to the theatres. Whether it is a still, a video or a #challenge, it’s about making the most of short video making platforms such as Likee and similar to penetrate the market and get the audience hooked to the movie even before its release.

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