bollywood on social mediaIndians share a love-hate relationship with three things – Bollywood, Cricket and Politics. For me, Bollywood has grown from the first movie that I had watched as a kid, where Mithun Chakraborty rocks the dance floor in Disco Dancer, and has now evolved to me being enabled to interact with the movie character on YouTube.

Later on, the Television or the idiot box slowly replaced the radio in every house and from the world of audio we were glued to the world of coloured visuals, while sitting on our cozy sofa sets. Every house started owning it and with the population multiplying fast in India, the reach of TV also increased. This growth didn’t miss the eyes of marketers.

Soon Bollywood started dating Television. The relationship got stronger when some early movie houses started sending lead actors to appear during prime time shows. This was also the time when Indian television was going through a reality show madness phase. So every week just before a movie release, mostly you would see the leading stars join the show. They would talk about the movie while being a part of the television show.

The early days of social media

The entry of social media in our lives changed the synergy between Bollywood and Television. Probably ‘Delhi 6′ was the first movie to jump onto social media and this was early 2009. Initially, a lot of movie makers thought that social media is just one more channel for marketing in the digital medium, that will do wonders if they paste the same TV content. In the last two years, most of the Bollywood movies have adopted the same formula since the mindset was to get more “Likes.” However, with time Bollywood realized that neither pasting the same vanilla content nor having a million fans would help in creating buzz.

Similarly, TV jumped on social media and started feeding the fans with the same old content. Initially like all other brands every one wanted growing number of likes. The TV channels got their desired likes by known means and in a way filled Mark Zuckerberg’s pockets. However, the channels soon realized that same vanilla content on Facebook or uploading the same TV episodes were helping in the shorter run but in the longer run, fans seemed to have got bored.

Social-Media-TVThe present day condition

Gradually, the industry understood the medium with 2012 witnessing some amazing work both by Bollywood and Television on social media. We saw movies like Don2, Ra One being promoted heavily on social networks since they had the heavy budgets, but at the same time we saw some innovative promotions by movies like GOW I and II, followed by Barfi’s innovative YouTube campaign.

Recently, ‘Race 2′ has got along with Audi India and for the fist time in India a Bollywood star is being hunted via Facebook. Similar intentions had been shown for the lead pair hunt for the movie Ashiqui2. Regional movies like Kevi Rite Jaish did a commendable job on social media. But then the stereotypes like trending movies on Twitter, sharing meaningless content and running the same age old contests before release date existed, which I am sure would continue in 2013 also.

On the other hand, Television got innovative on most of the social networks. Different channels not only created full fledged social presence but their characters have also become house hold names. The networks have been used to create maximum buzz about the shows and provide sneak peeks. Big Boss season 6 has been one of the shows that Colours has been running successfully on social media too and channels like History TV18 did the scouting for ‘The greatest Indian after Gandhi’ entirely via social media.

Recently NDTV launched its first social media show on TV for which the content would be sourced from social media. At the same time Zoom TV has launched a show that would take song requests from Facebook. So for TV, a two way interaction with social media has already started.

Apart from Facebook, YouTube has been another network that has been used consistently. T-Series has been one of the highest viewed channel on YouTube, and one of the reasons has been that the channel has provided exclusive content, built in playlists, behind the scenes footage, etc. This was also evident in the latest review that we had done for TV channels on YouTube.

What holds in the future?

Individually, all mediums will become much more innovative and grow. The madness of gaining fans has started evaporating and every medium is now looking to see how it can build communities and keep them engaged, eventually driving them to cinema halls.

1. Integrate Bollywood, TV and social media: Recently we saw Ek Tha Tiger being promoted on social media before the world-wide release in theaters and later on when it was released on TV there were spends on social media for the world TV premier too. So this trend could grow and if planned ahead of time, this could very well form a triangle that can benefit the movie producers, channel houses and the fans too.

2. Production houses should invest on social media: The shelf life of a movie on social media is very short and no one cares what happens to the community after the movie is released. So it makes more sense if production houses start showing interest towards social media. The communities that would be built now would be more for production houses and not for individual movies. To support them stars who are already on the social media can reshare the content, giving a bigger reach. For example, during Dabangg2 Salman Khan was using his own personal account to create the buzz about the movie on Facebook and Twitter. However on YouTube it was being promoted by the T-Series YouTube channel majorly. This would help in long term growth. NFDC India has been walking this path for a year now.

3. Effective usage of YouTube: At present, movie houses are creating banner size ads on YouTube that on click are taking you to Facebook. Bollywood or TV can use YouTube in a very creative manner rather than only using for a network where you can display banner size ads. Along with providing movie trailers or serial episodes, highlighting behind the scenes footage, interaction of artists with fans, free download options, etc. will really help the medium grow. T-Series, Sony Music India channels have a huge fan following on YouTube since with vanilla stuff they give fans original content along with curated content too. Tomorrow if this is sold as premium content too, then I am sure Indian fans would go for it since something unique and worth purchasing is being provided.

I see a great bonding being formed among Bollywood, TV and social media going further in 2013. How do you see this trend shaping in 2013.

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