While it’s still impossible to foretell the fate of a film or its opening weekend numbers (the biggest aspect that makes or breaks a movie these days), one tool helps a filmmaker gauge if he’s on the right path to box-office success — organised tracking.
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WHAT IS TRACKING
A common feature in Hollywood, tracking has now come to Bollywood too. This is basically a statistical and scientific technique which tracks the buzz about a film and predicts if it will translate into footfall.
Twelve-16 weeks before a film is released, the PR machinery gets into action. Tracking analyses whether this buzz — promos, songs, posters, media coverage etc — is actually clicking with the audience. Is the movie-goer impressed enough with the campaign to spend his money on a ticket?
And in a day and age when the marketing budget of a film ranges from Rs 4 crore to Rs 12 crore, such insight can change the fortune of a film. Also, this technique tests the creative materials — trailers and film posters — before it goes for public consumption. “The data thus provides a ready reckoner on whether the makers have been able to communicate effectively to the masses,” says Dr C R Sridhar, IIT-alumnus and a director of 4Sight, a recently set-up film tracking company.
Tracking is different from focus group discussions, a popular tool with the likes of Aamir Khan and Karan Johar who use it extensively to know audience reaction before a film releases so that necessary changes can be incorporated. “Focus group is qualitative but tracking gives you the metrics,” says Sridhar, a pioneer in film tracking in India.
The advantage to a filmmaker is obvious. Based on the input, he can change his pitch to the audience which might impact a film’s initial.
HOW IT WORKS
The method is very scientific and quantitative. A database of one lakh movie goers across 22 towns has been created. A sample group is chosen and sent a questionnaire based on five parameters.
» Awareness about the film
» Source of awareness (TV, Newspapers, Radio, Net…)
» Desire to see the film
» The urgency — will it be watched first day first show or would the viewer rather
wait for the DVD?
» What are the drivers – songs, action, dialogue, stars etc.
The data is then fed into Film Track Analytical Engine (FTAE), an indigenously developed engine by Sridhar and the report is out.
The results point out to the perception of the film in the public’s mind.
4Sight shares with Mirror their analysis of the campaigns and mood about five forthcoming films that will hit the screens in the next few weeks.
READING THE FIGURES
The film track data for the week August 13-20 shows that Dabanggis tracking quite well with a 17 per cent unaided recall — the highest among all five movies. That is, it is uppermost on a movie-goer’s mind. Sallu seems to be on a winning track.
Following closely is Anjaana Anjaaniwith a 10 per cent spontaneous recall. Not bad considering the film is still a few weeks away from release (generally, the closer the release date, the more is the recall).
We Are Family, surprisingly, is average considering its stellar cast and banner, but might pick up next week.
But Aashayein, the next immediate release, with less than 10 per cent spontaneous recall is low.
Himesh Reshammiya needs to pull up his socks as Kajraare has spontaneous recall of only 2.8 per cent.
Mere awareness isn’t enough, it needs to convert to viewing also. Here again Dabanggscores high at about 90 per cent.
Among all films it’s the promos of Dabangg and Anjaana Anjaani and to some extent We Are Family that have aroused curiosity.