Cinema must self-regulate ad breaks.

By | November 18, 2018




CINEMA SELF REGULATION!

Cinema must learn from other media and how self-regulation has helped to keep the Government intervention to a minimum. 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 on the other side has done a decent job of ensuring truthfulness in messaging.

Self-regulations in media helps streamline consumer experience. It is a proactive behaviour. It is a responsibility of the industry associations. It is for them to ensure self-regulation guidelines exist and evolve with the changing consumer expectations and media engagement patterns.

NO SELF-REGULATION IN CINEMA ADVERTISING.

I am an avid movie watcher. I see a positive change in cinema experience.  Unfortunately, it is more of lounge, ambience, seating, sound and projection system.

The filmmakers are also experimenting with cast and subject. Movies like Badhai Ho, Vicky Donor, Pink, Mary Kom, Padman, Piku are finding audience and success.

The question of self-regulation emerges out of my traumatic experience with the 11 pm Show of ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ at a PVR screen. Not only the film was terrible for which PVR cannot be held responsible, but they contributed to prolonging the agony.

Pic Pexel-nathan-engle

THE AUDIENCE CAN’T COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERYTHING.

Multiplexes have evolved with the changing consumer engagement. However, they don’t control the complete movie experience. 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.

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. This was followed by another set of advertisements and movie trailers. The audience was restless waiting for the movie to start.

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

No one is ready for the near barbaric traumatising onslaught of advertisements that is let loose on the captive audience. Advertisements keep rolling in, immune to the audience receptivity. The messages stop 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 hoot. The voices rise in protest. The audience demonstrates their frustration. Good sense prevails, and the movie is 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 the 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.

  • Define the maximum duration of ad breaks.
  • Should the duration of ad break be a function of the length of the movie?
  • How should the ad break be split between ‘before the start’ and ‘during interval’?
  • Should stitched tailer be counted as an advertisement?
  • Should the ad not allowed on TV before 11 AM be permitted with a ‘U’ certificate movie during the daytime?

MAKING UNREASONABLE DEMANDS AND RASING FEW QUESTIONS.  

  • Water and packed eatable should be at MRP.
  • There must be three sizes ‘small-medium-large’ available for drinks.
  • 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.

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