The Current story of the South Indian cinema is that of unprecedented growth and rapid change. Let’s take a look at the key component which is driving this growth, the very same component which is today the biggest deterrent for the Hindi Cinema, The dreaded P&A [Print & Advertising].
As a general trend the size of P&A in Hindi cinema varies with every cinema, in a broad generalization it can be said that a big budget blockbuster with a COP of 50 Crores or more will have a P&A spend of nearly 20 Crores which is at 40% of the total COP, for a medium range film between 10-40 crore range this comes down to approximately 15 crores, the ratio however remains at the same 40% mark, the problem arises when the film falls in the 5-10 crore COP bracket, where you have to shell out at least 6-8 crores in P&A wherein your ratio jumps to a massive 60-80% of the COP. The lesser the COP, more are the chances of this ratio hitting the 100% mark and beyond.
And this is where the small producers and film makers suffer, leading to concentration of pure Box Office power with the big spenders, a very rare few gems have proved to be an exception. At an overview big films and medium films with recognized star cast and backing account for more than 90% of the yearly revenues for Hindi Cinema.
In the South however, this is rapidly different as the smaller films contribute a massive 35% leading to a level playing field, more and more young and talented blood rushing through the ranks every year, making better and more innovative films, keeping the audience always on their toes and the ideas fresh! So how exactly have the South Indians gone about maintaining this? The answer comes with the words Unity and Discipline.
Yes they have the advantage of having to market a film in a smaller geographical territory however it is the discipline with which they handle it that makes the difference! For a Big ticket Telugu or Tamil film, the “P&A” component will not be more than 2-3 crores, this against a COP of 40 crore plus [they do actually spend that kind of money!!] is hardly 10%.
For the smaller films a P&A of anywhere between 50 lakhs to 1 crore is more than sufficient, thus for a film with a COP of 2 crores, the P&A outlay will only be 45%. Thus his risks are still under control. There is clear and distinct thought clarity among the producers wherein they are determined not to overspend!!
The Associations of Producers are also to be majorly credited for bringing in this thought process, by capping the amount of spends on media mediums.
For Instance, the size of a listing advertisement or announcement advertisement in newspapers are regulated by the associations. Of course people get away with it when the theatre count is very high. But this ensures that a small film gets the same platform as his larger counterpart for most of its time. And the associations are extremely strict and fight for this to remain the same.
Very recently a Mumbai based studio was pulled up by a local association for making a full page advertisement in a newspaper! That’s the kind of discipline that is being practised, which keeps the playing field level to a large extent. Even the number of hoardings that a Big film can book in a city are regulated by the associations.
The use of online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and many other alternative mediums are also being patronized similarly with spends being optimized. Anjali Menon’s Bangalore Days is a great example of the same whereby they not just kept reaching out to the target audience periodically with content, but also went on to do many things interactive.
Of course there are exceptions and films which have got away by overdoing, but they are let go bearing in mind the amount of investment in question. It is measures like these, which has made the South Indian market a very vibrant one, where a small filmmaker or a first time producer can stand shoulder to shoulder with the big guns and deliver. Whereas Hindi cinema is suffering from spiralling P&A costs due to mindless spending and lack of unity!
One wonders when this will come into serious consideration among our Hindi Folklore!!