India, despite being the largest producer and consumer of movies, does not have a centralized box office system. In fact, it is remarkably opaque. And yet in an extremely diverse, complex and yet potent market such as India, the need for such a system cannot be understated.
Box office data is not only opaque, it is in some cases misused and abused. It’s a misnomer that inflating or manipulating box office numbers could benefit a film company’s brand value or bottom line.
Instead, accurate data can influence the way we make content as well as how we market and monetize it, besides boosting revenue opportunities for the exhibition sector.
Empirical analysis of box office data will translate into better content that increases revenues across all sectors of the movie business. As a result, transparency will have a long-term positive impact on the entire film industry.
Current Methods of Box Office Reporting
Unfortunately there are numerous sources publishing conflicting box office data. Similarly, the lack of data standardization between the north and south of India makes it hard to compare relevant facts and figures. Typically, Bollywood uses the net box office collections (NBOC), while in the south, public numbers usually reflect the distributor’s share as the film’s revenue. Both these methods are inconsistent with global standards – the gross box office collections (GBOC).
Benefits of a Centralized Box Office Measurement
There are many things that a credible and authentic centralized box office measurement can do for a film and the industry:
Big Data: Co-operation Equals Success
In order for data collection to achieve the three norms of consistency, accuracy and transparency, co-operation from all stakeholders is imperative. From producers to ticketing agencies to distributors, everyone should be on board. Producers should support and encourage accurate reporting for their films. Further, cinemas can take the initiative to self-report. Single screen cinemas and multiplexes don’t need to wait for a push from producers to get involved in data collection. Rather, they can voluntarily tie up with comScore.
ComScore – India (formerly Rentrak) is the global leader for box office measurement. With a presence in 75 countries, comScore is collecting more than 95% of the global box office data from more than 1,25,000 theaters. This information gives stakeholders accurate information every day. In turn, they can adjust marketing decisions evolve superior strategies, in real time in order to improve returns.
If cinemas continue to provide regular data, we will have accurate analysis, which will help realize the true potential of the Indian movie industry. It’s important to remember, knowledge is power, and data is knowledge. The more you know about your product and your audience, the more you are likely to achieve greater success.
~ Rajkumar Akella is the Managing Director, Theatrical – India, of comScore Inc., (formerly Rentrak) , the global leader in movie box office measurement. Rajkumar has been working with various stakeholders of the Indian movie industry to achieve accuracy & transparency in box office measurement with significant success. He also serves as an executive member of the Governing Council of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce (TFCC)’s Anti-Video Piracy Cell (AVPC), since 2005. In 2011, he was elected as the honorary chairman of AVPC. He has been instrumental in driving several breakthrough IPR and content protection initiatives, including the setup of TIPCU (Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit) in 2016, launched by K.T.Rama Rao, Hon’ble IT minister, Govt of Telangana, Richard Rahul Verma, former U.S. Ambassador to India and the Motion Picture Association India office. Regarded as a pioneering initiative, TIPCU has been shaping anti-piracy enforcement efforts in India ever since. Rajkumar Akella was presented the prestigious Motion Picture Association (MPA) Asia Pacific Copyright Educator (A.C.E) Award in 2016 in recognition of his significant contribution to improving the ability for filmmakers and distributors in India to best protect their creative work in the digital ecosystem.