Bollywood and Social Media – Ra.One

Bollywood’s interest on the internet was so long left to some ads on youtube, trailers and websites for nearly every movie that tried to provide some “interesting” information about movies. Lately we do see some activity on the social web, Facebook Pages and such started by Aamir Khan during Three Idiots, were quite engaging. Aamir himself on his twitter used to post and interact with people for publicity.

What one does, the next Khan seems to take on seriously and try to outdo. Case in Point, Ra.One. In the past few days if you have not seen an Ad for Ra.One on websites that use Google Adsense, then well you might not be a frequent surfer. Because, I have seen the ads everywhere from Gulf news right through to one of the most famous tech and how to blogs from India. Compelled to click on the ad, I did click on it. This is my review of what I found and where I was taken. An insuisitive thought on the social media campaign for Ra.One.

First of all SRK and Google have partnered for the promotion of the movie Ra.One. Although I am not a big fan of SRK, I am of Google and so when they decide to pay attention to a movie in India, it makes things a lot more interesting for tech fans especially Google fans like myself. So well here are what Google is offering SRK and what I think of those.

The Google Ads

Impressive. One word to describe the campaign. They have targeted audience on various age segments and various interest groups. Starting from the teaser ad which spoke about the launch of the YouTube campaign, right through to the various sizes of ads and the sheer number and visibility of the ads, am impressed. They did manage to not only attain my attention, but also got me to click through. I do click ads on blogs that I usually like as a simple token of appreciation of me liking the blog. Although I know nothing like leaving a comment, but if I have nothing to actually comment I do provide a click on the ad. Well the quality of ads is important to click through, and I should say I was impressed.

YouTube Channel 

The ads on Adsense take you to the custom built YouTube page for Ra.One. If you have not been fortunate enough to check it out yet, you should. I was really impressed again with how they have used the personality of SRK to interact with some of the elements that we are used to seeing on the YouTube page. Here is a sneak peek at the YouTube channel with a video available on the channel itself.

Google Plus

Yes we all heard it, SRK will be on Google Plus Hangouts, Hanging out with fans soon as well. He has a new profile on Google Plus after conquering the twitterscape with his twitter profile. You can check out his Google Plus profile here with this link below:

No you cannot add him yet, cos Google and he are working on privacy, but if you do check out the profile you will see very soon that there are spicy bits to the movie progress there.

Website and other profiles

The end of the video on YouTube takes you to the website of Raone, and you will be really surprised to know how much effort they have put in on the online presence for Ra.One. They have actually gone ahead and created a profile on nearly every interesting social network where you can find people on. From the indian ex favorite Orkut, right through Blogger where they are posting some interesting information.

The website first of all was a bit disappointing after all the roads leading it there. It was completely flash driven made for children sort of a website. Could have been better. But there are some interesting new things from other indian movie websites, the shop where you can buy merchandise (again for children) and also a comic as well. I am thinking the movie is more inclined to get the kids into the theaters. There is also an interesting segment which is deconstruct G One and it shows really heavy terminoligy for the gear he is wearing. You should check it out here : . Reminded me of Prashant Nair :)

Coming to the Online profiles, well I am going to list them out here to save you the trip to the website but if you do want to go then the link is :

Youtube :

Google Profiles :

Blogger :

Linked in : (really ??)

Orkut : (Wont open in Dubai, Thanks Etisalat)

My Space :

Flickr :

Twitter :!/IAMSRK (SRK’s Own Profile)

And the Grand Daddy of Social Media Marketing

Facebook :

With this new avatar of Movie Marketing, SRK and RA One have taken another leap into the online world, but how successful the campaign will be can only be measured with the success of movies, well soon you could be seeing more of these.

It is the first time that an Indian movie has so thoroughly embraced online advertising and engagement with fans. Couple that with the increase in online distribution of Bollywood movies on Yahoo! and YouTube and it signals that the industry is making a concerted effort to tap into the online market. The entire campaign also shines some light on the fact that Google seems to have a keen interest in India, and everyone knows to be popular in India you need to be associated with Bollywood and Cricket. With Youtube already showing IPL games live streamed across the country this might be Google’s foray into Bollywood.

YouTube – not just for cute cats anymore

When looking at the Indian Movie Industry adopting technology I mentioned how 3 Idiots will be available as a paid service in India 12 weeks from the release of the movie, it might be more of a PR stunt than adoption of technology. The point to be taken from this is the fact that YouTube is now getting involved more into the main stream media and this mostly in India. All of us have spent time on YouTube looking at cute cats, music videos, of just FAIL videos. This is what they have in mind.

In fact, YouTube is not only looking at the cute cats and crazy stunts of Indian guys, but is looking at the core entertainment medium of the sub continent. Movies and Cricket, yes you read it right, being the 2 most discussed topics in India along with Politics, this is the best route to get into the Indian conversation.

Starting with Cricket

Like a lot of people say, cricket is not a game in India, its a religion. If that is true, the IPL is the Haj of the cricketing world these days especially considering that the T20 format of the game was made famous by IPL. YouTube is now the official match partner for the IPL T20 of 2010. Yes, you read it right. No need to scout the web for an illegal source to watch IPL, you can see it live on YouTube. Check out the IPL Channel here.

Watch Movies Legally

I am not sure how many of you know about the foray of YouTube into movies, it now has a channel dedicated to full length movies and documentaries that can be watched online for free and yes legally. most of them even with english subtitles. What’s more the movies section features a grand “Bollywood” channel, showcasing some good movies like Andaz Apna Apna, Hulchal, Maine Pyar kiya, Hera Pheri, Mumbai Salsa and Amar Akbar Antony amongst others.

You can check out the channel here.

Movie Premiers

Yes you read that right as well, YouTube will be premiering a first in the land of song and dance, the Bollywood movie ‘Striker’ will be premiered on YouTube. At this moment they have mentioned that this will not be visible if you are signing in from India. Users in the US will be charged $4.99 to watch the movie, and everywhere else it will be available for free. Being in Dubai I am sure I will be able to watch the movie online.  I hope bandwidth issues will not hinder us watching this, the YouTube intro for Striker says 4 Days to go. I am sure this is a first of its kind in India.

Check out Striker’s Page here.

I think Google are playing their cards right in India, from landmark based navigation introduced in Google Maps by Google India, Transliteration tools to now YouTube innovations. If things go well, they might be able to bring back people into Orkut, Google’s Social network from Facebook.

Indian movies embracing technology – Part 1

Some of the biggest movie buffs around, my friends and me do go and watch nearly all of the movies that are released from the Mumbai film industry. The Indian Movie industry is now the biggest movie industry in the world. The reach of the Indian Movie Industry these days is not judged by the viewers but only with the technologies that are used for distribution since the Indian Movie Industry is now breaking culture barriers and language barriers world over.

The most successful movies of all time commercially have happened in the recent past, with Ghajini and now 3 Idiots. Inflation adjustment might make these movies just below the legendary Sholay, but having said that these movies had a big advantage that many other movies in the past did not have. Digital Distribution.

It is now a certifiable fact that Ghajini, the Aamir Khan starrer was released in over 1200 theaters the highest ever for a movie. Screening in small villages as well as in metros at the same time, the biggest strength of this movie was the reach into small towns and villages where movies would normally release a few weeks and even few months later. Digital solutions in filmed entertainment are now helping the producers to reach relevant audience & increase the number of prints without any additional cost. The Advantage of Digital Distribution over normal distribution would definately be :

  • Reduction in the cost of sending the movies across, with the Analog tapes which were heavier as well as large in size it is definitely reduces the trips to the movie screens etc.
  • Low Budget ‘different’ movies : Usually good stories that are not lapped up by the big banners had to be funded out of the excess money of someone, since they used to struggle to find the big budgets required for shooting, post processing and distribution. With new technologies more interesting different movies will get a voice without having to shoot a big hole in the producers pocket. And like me a lot of us movie buffs like these different movies.
  • Reach out to a bigger Audience : Like the examples mentioned before, the higher reach means higher gains to the producers as well as and the motivation for the piracy industry is reduced since the movie is more available to the masses. This would also mean that the return on investment of movies would be faster.

However the physical barrier is having too few digital screens. Currently only about 11% of screens in India have the digital screening system. To overcome this barrier, the movie industry is trying really hard to bring the movies closer to us, via the mobile phone. One of the most carried personal gadget in the world might soon become the new center of the movie industry. Personal Movie screening is taking off slowly but surely, when I bought my N95 8GB it came preloaded with a digitally protected copy of Spiderman 3; and my friends in India got the cult movie Sholay preloaded.

The increase in mobile penetration can be seen with other famous Bollywood movies like Om Shanti Om which is now available for download for the ‘Really Small Screen’ i.e. the Mobile Phone through iTunes as well. Furthermore, Mobile Movie cards are now entering the market, through the service HotSpot. Hotspot is offering movie titles along with trivia, wallpapers, special cut scenes etc on a 1GB SD Card that is suitable for the mobile phones.

I can already hear some of you reading say, a movie is not made for the Mobile Phones, computers are OK, but not mobiles. So enter the omnipresent Google. Google has decided that it will get into the pay per download mode of movies, through its flagship service YouTube. YouTube has just signed a deal with the producers of 3 Idiots, to be able to provide the movie for download for a nominal fee after 12 weeks of release of the film. With the small internet penetration in India along with the bandwidth hungry download of the movie would still not stop people from downloading / buying / sharing pirated copies. However I believe it is a step in the right direction especially since the internet penetration is slowly and surely increasing in India.

So taking this into account I do believe that there us a very nice opportunity to mobile providers and local handset manufacturers in the country to get into the mobile Bollywood bandwagon. Let me know what you guys think as well ?