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    Centralized Box Office Data Collection : Why We Need It

    • 30.08.2018
    • By Rajkumar Akella

    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:

    1. Boosting Releases: With the development of a centralized box office data collection system, filmmakers can make better decisions regarding a film’s release. This includes choosing a release date that offers the biggest potential for returns as well as decisions regarding the marketing strategy for the release of a film.
    2. Fueling Investments and propelling Institutional funding to movie business: Accurate data and analytics will help film investors, financiers and financial institutions to better evaluate the investment proposition in various sectors of the movie business including Production, Distribution and Exhibition.
    1. Assessing Potential Growth Areas: Analytics can assess things such as the financial impact of screen density, footfall trends, and geographies that had success with a certain type of film, language, genre, or actor. This can maximize a film’s release potential.
    1. Optimizing Regional Opportunities: In a country as diverse as India, data is crucial for successfully releasing a film across different regions. Data breaks down customer acquisition cost by state, city or location so film marketers can produce detailed, effective marketing strategies.
    1. Propelling Pan-India Content: Adding to this, accurate data collection can further promote content that has pan-India appeal. As a result, the success of releases like Baahubali , will become more common.
    1. Fueling growth of screen advertising and ancillary revenues for Cinemas: When cinemas provide data that lacks context, it does not accurately capture their market share or a film’s market share. As a result, cinema as an advertising medium has been hugely underperforming in India. Without consolidated data, cinemas are unable to provide thorough insights, nor are they able to demonstrate ROI to potential advertisers. Credible audience data will help cinemas to optimize their screen advertising revenues. Consolidated and accurate data serves as credible movie currency to screen advertisers in India. 
    1. Influencing Policy Decisions: Laying out accurate numbers with relevant insights can hugely influence and accelerate policies that have a direct impact on the film industry, such as clearance timings and regulations related to building a new cinemas. A centralized box office measurement service can bring clarity to issues such as low screen density.


    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.