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Cinema is a viable advt medium: Survey

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Radio, internet and cinema (RIC) are emerging as viable contenders for the consumer’s divided attention, reveals a new survey by Adlabs Cinemas and research firm IMRB. Adlabs, a Reliance-ADAG company, operates India’s largest cinema chain and recently acquired 251 screens in the US and 51 screens in Malaysia.

The survey — which used radio identification (RFID) tags to track the habits of cinema-goers (probably for the first time in the world) across five multiplexes in India for a whole month — was conducted in a bid to measure and convince major advertisers that cinema is a viable advertising medium.

Currently, cinema advertising mainly comprises 30-second in-theatre advertising slots (accounting for nearly 95 per cent). The remaining 5 per cent comprises activities in the lobby area such as new car or bike displays, etc. Hence, the survey was commissioned to respond to concerns like: “Cinema doesn’t help me track recall and purchase of my brands like other mediums do; people keep walking in and out during intervals not sure if my ads are being noticed; and, not sure if cinema advertising is recalled.”

The concerns are warranted. Of the overall advertising spend, currently only around 0.4 per cent (around Rs 80 crore) is spent on cinema. The spend on internet is around 1.8 per cent while it’s around 3 per cent on the internet. The remaining spend is devoured by print and TV.

However, reasons Tushar Dhingra, COO, Adlabs Cinemas: “The Indian film industry is the largest in the world in terms of ticket sales and number of films produced annually. Further, the advent of multiplex chains, digital screening of movies and revamp of single-screen cinemas has brought back the novelty of movie viewing in theatres.”

Things are changing, though, reveals the survey. Around 16 million people watch movies on a regular basis while six million visit multiplexes regularly. These are the rich and affluent, notes the survey, adding: “He (the cinema goer) is quick to adopt new products and is a high value customer… purchases bigger sizes, more often, higher quantities…”

The survey also reveals that these cinema-goers are heavy users of voice and value-added services like caller tunes, internet and info services (most used for sports updates, tracking stock markets and banking). Hence, marketers have an opportunity to promote the usage of profitable products like VAS, GPRS and info services since disposition already exists, it suggests.

Among off-screen options, the cafeteria was the most effective in Delhi and Madurai and least effective in Mumbai where LCD/ standees had the highest recall. The hangout was equally effective in all three cities.

Cinemas are attractive destinations to reach out to a captive audience making them attractive advertising avenues, adds the survey. Dingra concludes that besides attracting the undivided attention of its customers, cinemas can also deliver a broad range of demographics.

First Published: Wed, March 04 2009. 00:51 IST