Given the fact that Indian consumer consumes much more local cinema than the Hollywood content, the lack of merchandise based on local content has been puzzling the Indian licensing industry since neanderthal times. However, in a bid to monetize on the ‘connect’ of Bollywood content, Shemaroo has come up with its merchandise arm Yedaz, an initiative every Bollywood movie buff can swear by. In a candid interaction with License India, Jai Maroo, Director of Shemaroo - also an ardent admirer of iconic Bollywood dialogues - spoke about the enormous potential that Indian cinema beholds for merchandise. What is Yedaz all about?
This is a new initiative of Shemaroo Entertainment which has been around for close to 50 years. We are associated with Bollywood and animation content in multiple ways. We are constantly looking at new ways in which people can engage with the content, brand and movies. We have marked our presence on any and every screen be it TV, mobile or internet. Merchandise was one new area where now more and more youth is being connected and they are looking for ways to engage with the content that they like including movies. They form a relation at another level with the characters that they like. We want to tap that audience as we want to take this relationship ahead.
What all retail platforms are you present at?
Right now we have done a soft-launch through Comic Con Delhi and Mumbai. Post this we will go on to the online platforms and target all the top eCommerce portals to reach to the public and gradually to the retail network. We also have books and comics where we have huge presence through networking and trade.
How are you taking your brand to market?
We took a small start with some top movies, wherein we decided to come with merchandise encapsulating iconic dialogues of iconic characters from Bollywood movies in an interesting manner. Sometimes the dialogue is more than enough, while at other places; we have added a funky touch to the dialogue. For instance, excuse me please the dialogue by Anthon from the movie Amar Akbar Anthony. The cushions, badges and T-shirts with this dialogue are selling quickly.
What potential do you see in Bollywood licensing, especially when licensing industry is dominated by global content?
Bollywood licensing is comparatively new when compared to Hollywood licensing. However, if you look at it from the consumer’s point of view, the fact of the matter is that our public is crazy for Bollywood. Though there are those iconic Hollywood characters, particularly at larger center, but if you look at overall pattern of consumption in India, you will find local content dominating the scenario whether it be Bollywood, Tollywood or Kollywood. Today, Rajanikant or Shahrukh Khan starrer generates more than even an avengers movie. While Avengers is a huge franchise globally, it can’t beat the craze among audience during Rajanikant’s entry onscreen. People can quickly relate to the dialogues of Bollywood movies for instance ‘I can talk English, I can walk English...’ which is where Hollywood is lagging behind. Merchandise is comparatively new thing to do in Indian cinema, and many brands and retailers have emerged in past two years. This is when we thought of using this as a tool to engage with new consumers.
There is a huge gap between liking and buying, especially with Bollywood content. How are you planning to bridge this gap?
There has always been a difference between buying and liking but of late the gap has reduced. We have seen the pattern that people, particularly the youth, are actually willing to spend on character if they like it and it is done in a way that helps them. It’s not just the question of liking a character, but also about expressing themselves (consumers). We have tried not just to have a classic dialogue but also to add a funky touch to it, so that youth can easily relate with.
How would you define your target audience?
We aren’t aiming at a very urban and elite market, but are looking for young, college going crowd. And we have kept the pricing while being in sync with that kind of market. Our idea is how to create touch so that the consumers not only like the product, but also like to wear it and express it. Second is affordability and next is availability.
What all categories have you included in your portfolio?
We have got cushions, T-shirts, coasters, mugs, badges, fridge magnets, beer mugs and more are on the way. Also we are working on mobile and laptop covers, but we have planned it for the time when we will do online launch. This category works better online, because of variety and customization. At the moment we have barely 10 movies and around 25 dialogues, but there is a lot more that is going to be added.