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Case study: The impact of organic film marketing

Case study: The impact of organic film marketing

Case study: The impact of organic film marketing

The strong box office opening of the Hindi version of Kalki 2898 AD can be attributed to organic audience pull even before its trailer was released, this analysis based on Ormax Cinematix reveals
Published on July 01, 2024   •   5 mins read
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By Our Insights Desk

Summary
  • The box office opening of the Hindi version of Kalki 2898 AD is the best of the year so far. Did the two trailers of the film, released on June 10 and June 21 boost its opening prospects?
  • This analysis, based on the film's tracking data from Ormax Cinematix, reveals that the film enjoyed an organic audience pull, backed by a clear urgency to watch, even before the first trailer was out
  • The case study of the Hindi version of Kalki 2898 AD highlights the most effective (and the cheapest) form of film marketing, where the audiences market the film organically, than the makers spending on its campaign

The box office opening of the Hindi version of Kalki 2898 AD is the best of the year so far. Interestingly, the 20+ Cr (nett domestic for the Hindi version) opening of the film has come as a surprise to many analysts, leading to conjecture on whether the two trailers, released on June 10 (Trailer 1) and June 21 (Release Trailer) did the trick for the film.

In this analysis from Dec 2024, we had showcased the impact of a good trailer on a film’s opening, citing the example of Animal’s trailer, which released a week before the film’s release. However, Kalki 2898 AD (hereafter referred to as Kalki) paints a very different case study. Here is a film that was highly anticipated already, even before Trailer 1 was released, and was set to open in the Hindi market at 25 Cr or even more, if the India-England semi-final did not fall on the day of its release. Let’s understand why we say this, using data from Ormax Cinematix.

Ormax Cinematix (OCX) is our campaign tracking and first-day box office (FBO) forecasting tool, available in nine languages, including Hindi. The tool reports three parameters for unreleased films. While OCX typically reports films in the last three weeks of their release, for bigger films like Kalki, this data is captured for many weeks before that too, to enable the producer/studio behind the film to get an early read on the film’s performance.

OCX reports three audience parameters, namely Buzz, Reach and Appeal, captured using primary research, with a weekly sample size of 2000+. Let’s understand how the campaign for Kalki (Hindi) fared, through the lens of these three parameters.

Buzz

Buzz refers to the unaided recall of the film, i.e., % audience who named the film, when asked to name as many upcoming films as they could, in the Hindi language in this case. Buzz is a strong indicator of the talk value of the film, i.e., the degree and effectiveness of conversations around the film among theatre-goers.

The chart below captures the movement of the film’s Buzz from April till the week of its release. April and May scores have been reported as monthly averages, while June scores have been reported week-wise.

KalkiBuzz.png
The film’s release date was announced on April 27. Expectedly, this created a heightened sense of urgency among the audience, and the Buzz jumped from 37% to 47% from April to May, and then to 59% in the first week of June, before Trailer 1 was released.

Some of the biggest films in the post-pandemic era haven’t managed to touch 59% Buzz even in the week of their release, let alone three weeks before release. The week-of-release Buzz of successful franchise films Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (58) and Drishyam 2 (54) illustrates this point. A new franchise film Kalki had higher Buzz than what these films managed to achieve in their week of release. And without the trailer being out yet!

Reach

Reach refers to the awareness of the films, i.e., % audience who have heard the name of the film. Reach captures how wide the film has managed to penetrate among theatre-goers. As can be seen in the chart below, the Hindi version of Kalki had crossed 90% Reach in May itself, much before its first trailer was released.

KalkiReach.png
While this is not entirely unexpected for films in established franchises, Kalki’s Reach being 90%+ well before its trailer launch is again reflective of the organic traction the film has built among the Hindi audience, for almost a year now. This is very similar to RRR, which was in the early 90s on Reach at a similar stage. However, that film had a postponed release because of the pandemic, and had a campaign that had good momentum, till the film was postponed.

Appeal

Appeal is a metric that reports % audience who have a definitive intention to watch the film in a theatre, among those aware of the film. Appeal is a strong indicator of the creative strength of the campaign, i.e., the collective pull of the film’s cast, theme, genre, music and other such aspects, as communicated via the various assets in the campaign.

In the case of Kalki (Hindi), the Appeal was already very high at 72% in May, and then sustained through the course of the campaign.

KalkiAppeal.png
Only four post-pandemic Hindi films have managed to touch the 70% mark on Appeal three weeks before their release - K.G.F: Chapter 2 (Hindi), Jawan, Pathaan, and Brahmāstra. Kalki (Hindi) is now the fifth film in the list. Interestingly, Kalki’s stable week-on-week Appeal is in sharp contrast to how the Appeal for Animal moved, as illustrated in the case study mentioned above.

Conclusion

While a good trailer helps, some films succeed in capturing the interest of a sizeable audience base even before the trailer is out. They manage to do so by creating an organic audience pull (“hype” or “craze” are words we often hear in this regard, though we prefer to use the more considered word “urgency”). In such cases, the trailer is only expected to maintain the urgency that the film has already created. A terrible trailer could cause damage, but even an average trailer will be sufficient to open the film at levels that the organic pull had ensured, before the trailer launch. And you won't need to spend too much on marketing the film thereafter either.

In times of ever-increasing media clutter, a film that can generate an organic audience pull, backed by a clear urgency to watch it on the first day or weekend, is a dream-come-true for any maker. And Hindi cinema in 2024 can do with some more of these. Even if they come from the film industries in the South of India.

Ormax Cinematix Indian Cinema Box Office Ormax Products Marketing
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