One of the most influential figures in the backdoor activities of the Indian entertainment business, Prabhat Chaudhary is a sought-after strategic consultant for the Bollywood and Southern film industry. Founder of Spice Pr Agency and Entropy Digital, a key decision-maker in marketing and promoting films and OTT content, Kovid has been hailed as the industry’s go-to man in times of crisis, especially in later times. A change manager and brand strategist, Prabhat is helping shareholders stay ahead of the curve in the show business.
Now, amid the epidemic, he hopes to adapt to the new general situation and devise new strategies to do so. We talk to him about Shobiz’s changing landscape in the epidemic. Exceptions:
As one of the most sought after strategic consultants for Bollywood and Southern stars, how do you see post-pandemic future entertainment? How are the new trends?
I mean, the future is in progress. Most of us have never seen an epidemic, so it is difficult to predict how things will change in the years to come. What seems certain is that we may not return to where we were in the pre-Kovid era. We no longer work on those models. The future will focus on new fundamentals, including new economics, new types of marketing and creative and new challenges. The future looks vague but the past is the past. Over time, the pre-Kovid era 2019 may seem very recent, but it still is. Our past practices will have to change if not completely ignored. Our challenges are fresh and perhaps tougher than ever. It’s not easy. However, change must always be maintained and I do not mean that change means crisis. If we manage and adapt well, change can be managed. In that change, those who do not adapt will perish. It becomes Survival of the fittest.
Do you think other films like Suryavanshi, Radhe & 83 have played a key role in restructuring the theater business? Will we see a restoration of the big screen view as before?
Box office today is a different algorithm. Big screen recovery takes time to gain momentum. Theatrical experience redefined itself. It is related to the event movie, the movie that impressed the huge audience and now the number of theaters seems to be telling. What exhibitors can take for granted is that the numbers are telling that the audience is ready to go to the theaters. Spider-Man: Look No Way Home is so well acted. Surprisingly, it penetrated into Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities and did wonderfully. Do a Google search for a place like Samastipur in Bihar and the film did amazing business there. People who say that theatrical entertainment passes, I want to tell them that it is not true. That movie is needed to bring the masses into the theaters. The parameters for the integer game, success and failure images are changing.
Speaking of the number game in Bollywood, what do you think is the new box office success barometer compared to the Rs 100 crore club?
We’ve reduced the box office right now so it’s too early to say anything about it. However, new data has emerged. No one would have guessed that the Hindi dubbed version of the Telugu film Pushpa: The Rise would make Hindi revenue. ⁇90 crores today! That is extraordinary. It’s a miracle of a different order. It can be said that 100 crore movies will not come on any basis. Looks like a challenge to Bollywood today. This is not an insurmountable challenge so we must take it positively. Hollywood is showing this penetration and there are also movies from the South but maybe it looks more obvious. Currently, with Spider-Man: No Way Home and Flower: The Rise, it has reached a different level. The floral numbers are almost identical to those of Bahubali 1, and the florals are credited with pandemic. Allu Arjun has a different fan following, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana, where an actor from the South is not expected to have a fan following. He has hysteria, which is a lot to say and we should take care of it.
Do you think OTT is now more focused on the film business in the epidemic?
This is a great time for content creators. You have a lot of options in long and short format as new forms are emerging. As marketers, this is going great. The creative ecosystem has been strengthened. Actors and writers are all looking for work. The weather is fertile right now. But if you look at the picture from a cinematic Bollywood lens, yes, it’s good to pull up socks. Today, audiences have a reference to Indian web series like Money Heist, Fouda and Patal Lok and Mirzapur. The audience has a lot of options.
Do you think releasing films directly on OTT without taking the film route is a financially viable proposal for the producers?
Everything is feasible depending on the recovery in economics. If you ask me, can Bollywood just survive in OTT, it may not be. Theater is essential for an industry to survive.
As they say, the digital future. How have advertising strategies changed in terms of PR and marketing during the Kovid era?
The future is not digital, the present. It’s already here! The lower part of the pyramid is more digital than the upper. Digital has penetrated into every economy, especially low-income groups. They are very digitized because they are coming back. Digital has now taken on promotions, communications and reach out to audiences. This is a great place. There is a scale of digital marketing and reach is almost instantaneous. You can change campaigns if needed. As a marketer, going digital will give you the advantage because you have the convenience and the feedback.