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Can Gladiator replicate the success of The Mummy?

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 23, 2002
HBO has earmarked 25-30 per cent of its total marketing spend on the promotion of Gladiator


When HBO telecast The Mummy on January 12, 2002, the three-year old English movie channel set a record of sorts. The Mummy turned out to be a big TVR booster, notching up rating points of 3.41. The movie also featured in the list of Top 100 television programmes for the week January 6 to 13, 2002. That was the highest rating grossed by any English feature film in the last two years (according to TAM Media data for C&S homes in nine cities for the 15-plus age group). Now, HBO hopes to replicate that feat with Gladiator, the second 'blockbuster of the year' from HBO.

Gladiator will premiere on HBO on November 5, 2002 (a day after Diwali), at 9.00 pm. The channel has earmarked 25-30 per cent of its total marketing spends for the year on the promotion of Gladiator. While Shruti Bajpai, director marketing, South Asia, HBO, refused to talk figures, she did say that, "…the promotional budget of Gladiator is more than of that of The Mummy, and would be our highest on a single movie."

A full-fledged multimedia campaign spanning six cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) is currently on to create excitement around the movie. Besides press and radio spots, a television campaign is slated to run on MTV and Discovery Channel, and in movie theatres. In addition, the channel plans to leverage some Internet sites such as contest2win to prop up the movie, informs Bajpai.

Clearly, the channel is going all out to promote the Oscar winning flick. To ensure an active participation from viewers, the channel has organised a contest dubbed Gladiator Home to Rome, wherein viewers will be asked three questions and 16 shortlisted winners will be flown to Rome, all expenses paid for by the channel. In fact, Gladiator has managed a large list of advertisers including Samsung Plano, Asian Paints, Bajaj Pulsar motorbike and Fast Track from Titan.

Advertiser interest in the movie is understandable. "Unlike the Hindi soaps which are concurrently running across Sony, STAR, ZEE, where viewers do get tempted to switch to soaps on other channels during commercial breaks, movies get a dedicated viewership," opines a Delhi-based media professional. The second reason, which stokes advertiser interest is the profile of the viewer, which is essentially SEC A and B in the 15-plus age group. Points out Sanjeev Shukla, marketing, manager, Hyundai Motors India, "Whenever we buy advertising space on channels it is usually bought in a package. For example, if I buy space on STAR Plus, I get space on other STAR bouquet channels. However, if I were to advertise on a niche channel, say a movie channel, my buying decision will be title driven. That is, if the movie is really good I might think of parking my money there."

Bajpai claims that HBO's 'favourable image' among advertisers and viewers helps. "We now have 130 advertisers," she informs. "Our strategy has been very clear, offer something new to our viewers. Our programming mix has included great movies, mega blockbusters, mini-series like the Band of Brothers. Add to that we have been doing special concerts with some of the most popular music stars," sums up Bajpai. While Gladiator is expected to give HBO's TVRs that much boost, a fresh line-up of movies including Matilda, Pay Back, Jack Frost, right after Gladiator, will hopefully keep that enthusiasm alive. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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