Think about the cinema and not just film is a series of published works by Asim Qureshi. Originally written and published in 2012 and carried forward over the years. Therefore vital to understand before reading further.
In Pakistan, most don’t think deep enough about the business of cinema but want to be involved with film making. Some even want to market their films themselves and eventually falling short of bringing audiences to theaters.
“I have been involved with the business of cinema for almost 25 years now. In Pakistan, one tends to witness the more we hear the less we know syndrome firmly in place, even today. Thanks largely to the struggles that come with the larger than life big screen.” Asim Qureshi Founder of Starring Brands ( previously Brand TV & Cinema)
When you start to think cinema and not just film issues will emerge as Pakistan is evolving. It is advisable to RE-IMAGINE FILM PRODUCTION AND MARKETING ROI with THEATRICAL RETURNS i.e. NUMBER OF TICKETS SOLD or expected to sell. While official statistics are not usually shared, but if you are lucky to find out. Don’t be surprised that the numbers of tickets sold for WAAR are greater than JPNA 2 the highest grossing film of Pakistan. “In a conversation , it was pointed out by a leading producer that in his experience cinema at its best is around 700,000 tickets today, while leading exhibitors and distributors consider the market nearer to 600,000 only.” adds Asim Qureshi.
THE WAAR FACTOR
Film making is a more risky business. Attracting a viable audience and pulling in the crowds to pay for your movie remains much of a challenge. An enduring problem, films with positive reviews mostly flop and those loathed at by critics (sometimes correctly) turn out to be blockbusters.
Because Distribution is the key
In his experience Asim Qureshi reiterates “If you ask me, distribution is the key to making money out of a feature film. There needs to be a professional understanding between filmmakers, distributors and cinemas. For a picture to gain, the holders have to be reassured that it is likely to attract a reasonable audience.”
Marketing is essential
Focus on Target Audience
The “Positioning” of a film also matters. Attracting specific audiences- requires considerable knowledge experience and of course marketing skills. Since communicating effectively with 6-9 year olds who may want you to take them to cinemas for their favorite movie is vastly different. From say 16-24 year olds who like to go with their friends and so forth.
Partnering with TV media is still the preferred way but is mostly going wrong for years now. Movie trailers are being scheduled on convenience. Largely around times when inventory is available at daytime, non prime time and late night hours. While the prime time viewers miss out as paid advertising the bread and butter of any TV is usually sold out. All of this when viewed from a film’s positioning perspective has no real value for their audience.
The way forward
It is important to understand the business of cinema if you hope to make a career in this field. Most new entrants have a passion for film production but have little or no interest in or knowledge of the challenges presented by management. I would like to emphasize newcomers direct their efforts towards wealth creation aspects of the industry. Far too many people want to be directors and creators whereas the need is producers and marketing managers who focus on ROI based on tickets sold. With Pakistan’s cinema finally on the way forward, perhaps the time has come for those involved to understand that it is a business after all.
A good starting point is to think about the cinema in Pakistan and not just film.
NOTE: IMAGES used are part of films marketed in Cinemas of Pakistan by Asim Qureshi’s Starring Brands Agency.
PRESS REFERENCES WITH ASIM QURESHI
Pakistan’s First 3D & Digital Cinemas-Express Tribune
- Digital Magazine :How To Launch Marketing Strategy - September 6, 2021
- Think About the Cinema and not just Film in Marketing - June 1, 2021
- Music Streaming Boom: 2020 and Pakistan - December 16, 2020