Social Media : Effective tool to engage fans, audience says Hiren Gada

Technology has always propelled media to the next level. Video cassettes moved movies from theatre halls to the living room. Cable and Satellite took movies from a few thousand homes to millions of homes. And now, new Digital Media like Internet, Mobile, IPTV, etc are changing the very definition of entertainment. Media Newsline spoke to Hiren Gada , Director, Shemaroo Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. ,excerpts:

MNL: How new media has influenced modern day movies ?

Hiren Gada: The consumer is truly empowered with choice. With more bandwidth slated to become available in the future (through 3G and Broadband Wireless Access), richer content will be available at the fingertips to the consumer. In future, easy Search and Discovery will further enhance the consumer’s experience in this respect. This will help further monetization of library content.

MNL: How digital media has influenced distribution ?

Hiren Gada : It is not about watching the entire movie from end to end or listening to the full song anymore. Entertainment formats are becoming shorter, improvised and very different than we traditionally saw them. So, a Caller-Ring-Back-Tone has a 20-30 second clipping from the song; a Youtube video may have an extract of a comic or action sequence; a consumer may want to cherish the image of his favorite heroine as his Home Screen of the device. The formats have changed and will further evolve based on consumer tastes. Media and Entertainment Companies will have to constantly innovate in order to remain connected and relevant to the consumer.

MNL : What is the role of Social Media in promoting film industry ?

Hiren Gada : Till a few years back, the only interaction media between movies, stars and their fans was through fan mails and letters. The new world of social networking has created several options and platforms for stars and movies to engage with their fans and audiences. Be it Twitter, Facebook or the plethora of social networking platforms, the stars and movies are able to reach out and connect with consumers on a personal level.

MNL : Can digital media influence film promotion ?

Hiren Gada: We have all either used or been the target of Film promotion on new media. New media platforms capture a lot of information about consumers including age, location, etc. and also usage patterns. Thus it can help reach the target consumer better, cheaper and with the right messaging. Eg. Males can be given a different message from females, which is not possible in traditional media. This improves effectiveness of the promotion.

MNL : To what extent digital media can help stop piracy ?

Hiren Gada:This has the potential to completely derail the growth of the business. The good news is that any activity done online leaves a digital footprint. In order to fight digital piracy, the industry needs to come together on a common platform and work with government, service providers, enforcement agencies, etc. New media is set to shake our very perception of movies and entertainment. As it does so, newer business models, newer players and a whole new order is emerging. And with it, a new star is emerging – the Consumer.

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