At a brainstorming session of the brass at Balaji Telefilms a few weeks ago, the production house decided to break one of the cardinal principles of film-making by virtually awarding casting rights to the audience.
As IndiaTimes reports, as a result, “Rock The Shaadi”, starring Genelia D’Souza and Abhay Deol, the lead pair picked through a survey of 600 moviegoers aged 15-25 in eight cities each.
“This could set a trend,” says Ekta Kapoor, joint MD of Balaji Telefilms, a TV serial and film production firm listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. “If this clicks, it will add a substantial percentage at the box office and generate more returns for shareholders,” she says.
Rising stakes in the domestic film industry, with several publicly-listed firms, are increasingly dictating that the consumer be brought on board before it is too late.
Successful film-makers down the decades have been catering to popular demand in any case, through sheer gut instinct, but all of them had to wait with bated breath for their films’ release to find out if they were right.
This might not be such a bad idea. After all, viewers are the ones with money in their pockets, and they will pay to see the star/actor/actress they picked in the first place. Although there might be some financial issues, but they arise anyway.
Chief executive of Balaji Telefilms (India), Tanuj Garg said: “We made 4 groups consisting of young males and females, and relatively older males and females. We did not mix them, as we were looking for impartial feedback, age-wise and gender-wise. We asked pointed rather than open-ended questions to derive a precise feedback.”
This kind of research helps producers and directors maximize revenues in the first three days or help them sustain their movies for a longer duration.
Some production houses review the responses of test groups of their films before release. Others use it to design their marketing campaigns, or to make the trailers more appealing to the target audiences. Research can also come in handy for checking out the impact of crude dialogues or bawdy scenes.
Big studios, such as Reliance Entertainment, UTV and Fox Star Studios, have all been doing consumer research before releasing films.
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