Friday, June 13, 2008

Dasavatharam, Sivaji and the Reality Check

Dasavatharam, Sivaji and the Reality Check

Exactly after a year later Sivaji - The Boss, we now have Dasavatharam. Kamal and his producer Aaskar Ravi (Oh yeah..He is not Oscar anymore!) made sure that they did everything possible to promote the movie and tried really hard to hit the headlines atleast for the past one month, before the release. They even went to the extent of inviting Jackie Chan and Amitab Bachan (I have no idea why they did) for the Audio release function in Nehru Stadium. The controversies also added more interest among the movie buffs. Kamal also screened the movie to Karunanithi (Who has been involved in almost all the audio release and movie premiers recently - and yea, he does have a job of being the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) who supposedly was really impressed and congratulated his effort (I don't understand this - you screen a movie exclusively for a celebrity and what else will you expect out of them at the end of the show? It is like my friend and his wife inviting me for dinner and me saying the food was awesome, even though it sucked big time ;) )

Ok, enough said about how much was done to promote Dasavatharam. The question now is, have all the marketing thingy paid off for Dasavatharam? Has it created enough interest among people? Google Trends can help you with that. Trends has been here for about a year and half now. For those who want to learn how this works - go here to learn.

Basically, Google trends will plot the popularity of a subject based on Search Volume Index. In other words, you can easily say how many people were searching for a subject or how many times that subject was listed in google news for the past 4 years.

Let's compare how Dasavatharam and Sivaji faired among the internet users. The results displayed are world-wide statistics.





Clearly, on the day of its release in June 2007, Sivaji (The Red Graph) hits a peak among internet users. Also, the small graph below shows the number of news reference for that particular week. You may claim that lot of hits may have come from Sivaji - the name, rather than Sivaji - the movie. Wrong. The search increased just on the movie release date and it took almost a month the settle down. Also, as some of you might have heard already, Google also lists Top 100 searches every day. Now, these results are only from the US and not global. On June 14 2007 (the release date for sivaji), the search phrase 'sivaji review' comes in at number 69. It is just the people in the US searching for it. Even though it was a slow news day, it had to stand up against the US open, the tooth paste recall, the flag day etc., during that day, last year. I have not seen any other Indian movie doing that before. The cool thing about hot trends is that, it lets you go back up to 2 years and search for the top 100 hot trends for every day in those past years. Trends also lists the related news articles alongside the results. All the A, B, C s that you see on the red graph above corresponds to Sivaji - the movie news article that touched periodic peaks. A complete set of country wide, state wide, city wide results can be found here. Bottom line, Dasavatharam clearly did not create enough interest before or on its day of release. I am almost positive that a movie's verdict will be directly proportional to these results.

Another movie that came to my mind when I thought of crazy marketing is Om Shanti Om. SRK is undoubtedly the marketing guru, when it comes to his movies. He was literally on all the TV channels all the time before the movie hit the screens.

Lets take a look at how it compared with Sivaji.



om shanti om


As it came out during November 2007, the curiosity among internet users gradually increased and peaked during its release date.

The one thing that we should notice in the above graphs is their pattern. It is really interesting to see how the two graphs have a pre-release short peak and touches the high point on the day of its release. Later, the hype (or the graph) gradually settles down in a month.

Going with these statistics, Dasavatharam will fail to make the cash registers ringing. Kamal might have to go back to the drawing board and work on getting this graph right for his next.
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