By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) Movie merchandising in India through TV moved a step forward when Rajkumar Hirani's "3 Idiots" tied up with shopping channel HomeShop18 to sell specially designed Converse shoes by lead actor Aamir Khan on a show called "Converse 3 Idiots collection".
"Every youngster today gets inspired by what their favourite actors are wearing in the movies. They also want to make their own style statement by sporting the same. We have always been offering our consumers the best in fashion; therefore this time we have got merchandise from one of the most awaited movies of the year," said Sundeep Malhotra, CEO, HomeShop18.
"3 Idiots" is the fourth Bollywood movie after "Love Story 2050", "Drona" and "Roadside Romeo" that has made its merchandise available through the channel, apart from using the traditional method of selling through shops.
"Keeping in mind that we are relatively new entrants in the business, all the three movies have done well for us. But in terms of sales, 'Love Story 2050' did five times more than the other two movies," Malhotra told IANS.
"We could have done better if the films had done well."
Movie merchandising through television shopping channel is getting good response in small towns. "Through our channel, the merchandise is available in over 2,750 cities across India. Through physical retail, the merchandise can only reach the metros.
"We have witnessed orders for these products pouring in immediately after the release of the movie, from both metros and mini metros. We are very positive to engage in movie merchandising," said Malhotra.
Rafiq Gangjee, vice president (marketing and communications) of Yash Raj Films, feels movie merchandising is in its nascent stage in India.
"Movie merchandising will need a while to become a major contributor towards revenue generation. We are all still discovering its true potential and we would need to appropriately develop this as and when a film provides an opportunity.
"It's not often that a 'Star Wars' is made," he said.
Before "Star Wars" hit the screens, a wide range of merchandise including video games, toys, collectibles, books, comics, and magazines were available and fans lapped them up.
In India, movie merchandising made a modest beginning with the 'Friend' cap from "Maine Pyar Kiya" in 1989. Even after decades very few filmmakers tried to tap it through movies like "Kya Kool Hai Hum", "Krrish", "Ta Ra Rum Pum", "Bhootnath", "Tashan" and others.
Gangjee says the merchandise should depend on the genre and target audience.
"We did do some base level merchandising for 'Dhoom 2', 'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag' and 'Bachna Ae Haseeno'. We felt that the costumes worn by the stars would have the greatest appeal amongst the target audience and hence developed a line of fashion garments.
"On the other hand, 'Ta Ra Rum Pum' had a tremendous appeal for kids in addition to the family audience. Therefore it had additional potential for merchandising which lent itself quite nicely to a toy and stationery line that was targeted at kids," Gangjee said.
Kids make soft targets for movie merchandise, said Malhotra.
"Movie merchandising products generally appeal to children. It is therefore the kids that we target. In fact, selling merchandise from movies helps us further increase our popularity among kids," he said.