Think About the Cinema and not just Film in Marketing

Think About Cinema

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.

PAKISTAN CINEMA

“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

A first Info graphic on Pakistan Cinema Box Office presented by Asim Qureshi and Published in 2014.
About WAAR the movie, a game changer . WAAR is a Pakistani film and the first to double the box office from PKR 100 MN to eventually closing around 230 MN. It truly set the ball rolling for film producers and real estate developers to invest into cinema and the rest as they say is history.

“WAAR (2013) remains a trailblazer for Pakistan Cinema. Significantly so with more than Doubling the market size. This was in spite of Bollywood dominating in full swing at the box office. In fact, WAAR in my book is leading (on impact) when compared with the number of tickets sold of even the highest grossing films of Pakistan released in 2018. The reason being lesser number of screens and films including multiplexes that became feasible as an investment post the WAAR Factor.”

asim qureshi PRESENTED THE FIRST INFOGRAPHIC BASED ON OFFICIAL WAAR BOX OFFICE
Asim Qureshi with one of Pakistan’s Biggest Super Star Shaan at the film’s premiere.

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.”

“Take the case of Ali Zafar’s “Teefa in Trouble” distributed by Mandviwalla Entertainment. Its box office success led to an industry wide endorsement. A challenging (election) time and a non holiday release. This has never happened before in Pakistan.”

Asim Qureshi

Marketing is essential

think cinema pakistan and not just film

“Those who allow for a “build-up” to create interest months before release usually gain favorable returns. However, most projects do not have this luxury due to lack of budgets. That’s where Distributors and commercial partners including sponsors add value.”

asim qureshi

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.

Unfortunately, most media partners in Pakistan, when it comes to movies are bartering their free inventory or TV airtime.On the other hand, we have several Pakistani film trailers achieving millions of views on YouTube, but failing to convert them into tickets sold at theaters. Moreover, thousands visit malls where film promotion events are held, but how many actually visit a cinema to buy the ticket.?

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.
Thought leadership Interview Spotlight On Pakistan Cinema 2018

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

A New Cinematic Experience- Express Tribune

Cinemas come back to life – Express Tribune


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[…] Think About the Cinema and not just Film in Marketing […]

Ms Khan
Ms Khan

This is one of the most brilliant piece of about Cinema in Pakistan and marketing written in the early days of re building and still holds true largely. Being a part of the media industry I know how much such experience has helped most players in the early days.

Milli Jospeh
Milli Jospeh

Good Read. Would love to know more about how cinema is coping post covid.

AQ
Admin
AQ
Reply to  Milli Jospeh

Hollywood super heroes brought audiences back to theatres in bits and pieces largely due to Spiderman, Batman and now Dr.Strange in line with global cinema box office trends… the numbers are consistent and growing. However, In between Pakistan’s home grown films were released mostly on the holiday season window Eid with relatively lesser opening numbers than before 2018-19 and definitely less screens post covid. It is still a long way to go. Lets see.

Asher Angel
Asher Angel

Nice analysis however Pakistan needs to open its cinema to keep expanding the numbers. I hear the policies are inconsistent and regressive.

AQ
Admin
AQ
Reply to  Asher Angel

Yes market issues is the term mostly used here to define that 🙂 although data based on on historic trends whole year around point towards the clear reasons, what and why. Its a classic dilemma significantly political and partially self interest of a few over the larger good comprising the growth of the cinema screens post 2018.

Farheen Khan
Farheen Khan

Pakistani films for Pakistani Cinema only pls. no Bollywood.

Mona Siddiqui
Mona Siddiqui

Impressive analysis. Simply put for the industry.

Shehzad Hassan
Shehzad Hassan

I think you are correct in your analysis because you are pointing to the root of the problem 

Sharique Nadeem
Sharique Nadeem

Sorry but I don’t agree with your analysis. Numbers are much higher.

AQ
Admin
AQ

Please share your numbers

Muhammad Munir
Muhammad Munir

Sir leave cinema what ever happened to Pakistan’s own Netflix that Minister Fawad Chaudry announced that he will be launching soon few years back?

AQ
Admin
AQ
Reply to  Muhammad Munir

Please ask the respected former minister 🙂

Safia Iqbal
Safia Iqbal

Good Blog. Content writing is so different and therefore authentic would love to collaborate.

Isha Rao
Isha Rao

Honest and sincere. Its pure common and commercial sense as you also point out. What’s Pakistan’s problem? in doing business when Bollywood actually helped in re build cinemas.

AQ
Admin
AQ
Reply to  Isha Rao

Thank you Isha. The answer to your questions is it is nothing to do with business or growth. Unfortunately it is partially political and partially self interest of a few.

Hamid Darwish
Hamid Darwish

Hey Asim Qureshi I am still looking forward to renewing our session on the movie business hopefully soon.

AQ
Admin
AQ
Reply to  Hamid Darwish

Inshallah Hamid…will renew when next in Dubai.

Raheel Salhotra
Raheel Salhotra

True and still looking for a Pakistani film to make a noticeable impact on box office in UAE

AQ
Admin
AQ

Sad but true

Ibrahim Taha
Ibrahim Taha

Pakistan needs to open up its market for all films including Bollywood.

AQ
Admin
AQ
Reply to  Ibrahim Taha

Yes in order to keep screens alive and audiences paying WHOLE YEAR AROUND

Urmila Devnani
Urmila Devnani

Nice blog..hey would you be interested in hiring for seo based health awareness articles on the blog?

Anjali Jha
Anjali Jha

Pakistan has some good content as we saw many times on Zee but I think there is cinema can do better once they have more screens and for that movies which bring audiences. Good interivew

AQ
Admin
AQ
Reply to  Anjali Jha

Yes ofcourse.. even that is resisted by certain lobbies here although it is in the interest of Pakistan’s Entertainment Industry at large including artistes, musicians, writers, producers you name it.

Riaz Ahmed
Riaz Ahmed

Excellent analysis . Tough and to the point

Nauman Awan
Nauman Awan

Once again good read

Sarah Reza
Sarah Reza

Love it

Shahmeer Khan
Shahmeer Khan

My favorite genuine media personality from Pakistan.