Bollywood is often described as the ‘lifeline’ of the country and its popularity across various consumers segments is also well documented. And, despite the production of more than a 1, 000 movies each year, licensing still accounts for only a miniscule portion of a production house’s revenue, in contrast to the global trend.
Industry analysts highlight that’s largely because developing a “successful” licensing programme is often more complex and involves planning of upto a year, as well as ensuring a suitable retail distribution strategy. In contrast, promotions related to a movie release are viewed as a quicker, “cheaper” and easier way to reach the target audience.
However, this anomaly is expected to change with Yash Raj Films and Rakesh Rakesh-led Krrish 3 movie franchise which have developed licensing strategies right from the initial stage of their movie’s production. Starting early Film Kraft, the production house of Krrish 3, hired Dreamtheatre, a licensing agency, and it established partnerships with several brands including Havmor, an ice cream maker, as well as Yes Bank and SIS securities, amongst others.
In addition, Krish 3 tied up with several companies and offered more than 250 types of licensed merchandise across the country including leading retailers, mom-and-pop stores and online. This merchandise was priced in the range of Rs 50 – 3,500 and the response from consumers has been overwhelming.
Jiggy George, Founder and CEO, Dream Theatre, said, “We started ‘ideation’ on Krrish 3 a year ago, as licensed merchandising is an excellent strategy to create interest in a film before it’s release.” They are not alone, with Dhoom: 3 from the Yash Raj Film stable which has developed an array of licensed merchandise including character-based dolls and mobile games before its forthcoming release, and they were recently unveiled by actors Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif.
In addition, this film has partnered with several brands like Ceat Tyres and Gulf Oil, amongst others. Ingredients for success A successful licensing programme requires a creative that is easily understood by its target and the accompanying merchandise should also be appropriately priced, highlight senior members from the licensing industry. In addition, experts highlight that movies that have a successful ‘run’ at the box office for several weeks, along with sequels and kid-based themes have a higher probability of a commercially viable licensing programme.
Striking a similar view, Rohit Sobti, VP - Licensing and Merchandising, Yash Raj Films, said, “A burgeoning middle class has created the right conditions for a licensing program.” Long-term benefits The benefits of licensing are not just limited to a movie ‘running’ at the box office, and in several instances, merchandise sales continue long after that.
For instance, the last of George Lucas’ Star Wars released in ’05, and the licensed merchandise relating to this film is still en vogue. Madhav Prabhala, Vice President - Sourcing and Licensing, Green Gold Animations, which made the popular children’s serial - Chhota Bheem and related movies, highlighted that in their movie Mighty Raju:Rio Calling set for release next summer, audiences would easily recognise the character - Raju from their earlier work.
In addition, the popularity of Chhota Bheem and the related characters would assist this production house in the merchandising strategy for their forthcoming movie. Prabhala, said, “We are developing a licensing programming jointly with Bradford Licensing India for our upcoming action packed film.” Prabhala also pointed out that a successful licensing programme requires a suitable mix of ‘above’, and ‘below the line’ promotional activities. Clearly, licensing is emerging as the next ‘growth’ model for Bollywood. Bird’s – eye view Licensing still accounts for a small portion of Bollywood’s total revenues Krrish 3 and Dhoom: 3 developed a licensing programme at the initial stage of production A successful licensing programme requires a creative to be easily understood by the target audience and merchandise appropriately priced.