Sanjeev Kotnala: Cinemas need self-regulation of ads

14 Nov,2018

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

Self-regulations across media channels have helped streamline consumer experiences. Its absence leads to government reframing expectations.

Self-regulation is a proactive behaviour and a responsibility of the industry associations. They must ensure appropriate self-regulation guidelines exist based on changing consumer expectations and media engagement patterns.

To a large extent, television, radio and print are self-regulated. Digital too is trying with new matrices, technology, transparency, and consumer freedom. The ‘Gold Standard’ is one such effort. ASCI has done a decent job of ensuring truthfulness in messaging.

NO SELF-REGULATION IN CINEMA ADVERTISING.

I am an avid movie watcher. I have seen and experienced positive change in the total movie experience. Unfortunately, it has more to do lounge, ambience, seating, sound and projection system.  On the other side, the filmmakers are experimenting with cast and subject. Movies like Badhai Ho, Vicky Donor, Mary Kom, Padman, Piku are finding audience and success.

My traumatic consumer experience with the 11 pm Show of ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ at a PVR screen makes me raise this question. Not only the film was terrible for which PVR cannot be held responsible, but they contributed to prolonging the agony.

THE AUDIENCE CAN’T COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERYTHING.

Multiplexes don’t control the complete movie experience. They have evolved with the changing demands. The consumers anyway have the option not to avail of the new offerings. The late night and early morning shows reflect the changing lifestyle. You get the option of multiple titles and a show that matches your timing. The weekday and weekend represent Uber surge pricing. The eatables come only in large sizes.  Theoretically, viewers are allowed to carry food.

CINEMA ADVERTISING NEEDS SELF-REGULATION.

The movie I last saw, started at 11 pm. It had some 10 minutes of advertisement followed by National Anthem. It again has a few more advertisements, movie trailer followed by another round of commercials and trailers. The audience was restless waiting for the movie to start. It is before the bad reviews hit media.

01:00 a.m. it was interval time. The audience were comforted with five minutes of blank screen. Time for buying the exorbitant priced eatables and bio-break.

No one was ready for the near barbaric traumatising onslaught of advertisements that were let loose on the captive audience. Advertisements kept rolling in, immune to the audience receptivity. The messages stopped making sense.  15-20 minutes of advertising at 01:10 a.m.! That too after the audience has suffered uninspiring first half of ‘Thugs of Hindostan’.

The audience starts hooting. The voices rose in protest. The audience overtly demonstrated their frustration. Good sense prevailed, and the movie was back on screen.

EVERYONE IS A LOSER WITHOUT SELF-REGULATION.

The proposition of Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan sharing the screen time was intoxicating. It was hyped release of the year coming on the extended Diwali weekend. No brand with cinema in their media plan could afford to miss the opportunity.

Net result. The audience was served an infinite set of ad-films in a movie that was long with least engagement.

  • Are the brands getting their return from such advertising?
  • Do the brands know how many advertisements are being screened in every show?
  • Who is making these advertising buying decisions?
  • Do the brand custodians and media planners watch movies?

And why is no one worried about it?

IT’S TIME FOR CINEMA ADVERTISING SELF-REGULATION.

It’s time for a proactive self-regulatory framework. Maybe like television 10+2, we need a 7+5 approach. 7 minutes of advertising before tailors and start of the movie. 5 minutes of advertising during the interval or any guideline that the association decides.

  • How many advertisements are allowed?
  • Should the maximum number and duration of advertisements be a function of the length of the movie and the show timing?
  • What is the max duration of advertisements before the start of the movie and during the interval?
  • How to treat stitched trailers?
  • Should the ad not allowed on TV before 11 AM be permitted with a ‘U’ certificate movie during the daytime?

NOW THAT WE ARE AT IT LET ME MAKE UNREASONABLE DEMANDS.  

  • What should be the MRP of water and other eatables in multiplexes?
  • What must be the serving size options in Food and beverages?
  • What percentage of space in a lobby should be made available for the activation?
  • How many activation representatives should be in a lobby per 100 seats?
  • How many activations be allowed to run simultaneously at a multiplex?

TIME FOR CINEMA SELF-REGULATION OR DON’T COMPLAIN LATER.

It’s great that the audience has returned to theatres. They are enjoying the experience. Their option for entertainment is expanding exponentially. Theatre life of a movie is decreasing. The window between theatre release and TV premiere is shortening. Soon we will see simultaneous digital and theatre release. The movie experience at multiplex must be a superlative experience for it to keep pulling the audience. A great experience will help the industry grow. Otherwise, we all can debate the possibilities.

 

 

Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Videos