Monday, September 24, 2007

Market principles applied to the Telugu movie industry

Recently I have been reading some books about General and Software marketing, when it occurred to me that some of the marketing principles are also applicable in an entirely different context - the Telugu movie industry and actors.

For those who don't know, I hail from a state called Andhra Pradesh in India , and my native language is Telugu. This post is about the various leading actors and we analyze their presence with respect to marketing principles - positioning, segmentation and differentiation.

Let me define the players in this market

Leading Male Actors :- Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh, Nagarjuna, BalaKrishna , various others.

The movie genres are pretty similar to other genres all over the world, with some genres having no parallel in HollyWood. These genres based on audiences are Young/Teens, Family dramas, Action oriented, Young Adult and mature adult.

You can segment the market further by


  • gender - male vs female dramas

  • feminist oriented

  • Ideology driven - religious vs communist vs secular movies

  • Locale - rural vs urban

  • Tone of the movie - comedy vs serious etc.
All the leading male and some leading female actors occupy various positions in this multi dimensional market.

Chirnajeevi is considered the megastar of Telugu film industry. He is considered a very versatile actor who can don any kind of role. As such he has a considerable presence in the industry and he occupies a leading market position in almost all segments. His movies exploit all his histrionic talents in various measures - a feat not easily pulled off by other actors. He has produced blockbusters in all the genres he has acted. You can consider him either first or second in all the dimensions (Remember Jack Welch's GE Way)?which is the reason behind his wide appeal. This is the reason Chiranjeevi's movies have a story line which also normally has a wide appeal across all age groups.

Of course, becuase of his wide appeal and positioning, Chiranjeevi is not the best and first choice when a producer wants to make a movie to cater to specific audiences. The presence of Chirnajeevi leaves some few niches big enough to support a number of other players, who specialzie in one or two particualr niches/genres.

Nagarjuna filles one of these niches very well. He started off as a young action hero but over the years has positioned himself as somone whose movies appeal to young/young adult/urban upcoming professionals and young/teenage girls. He used his natural strengths - good looks and styling to position himself. Even Chiranjeevi could not command as much loyalty as Nagarjuna does in this segment at a similar stage of his career. He rarely plays rural characters and supplements his weak comedy skills with the help of other comedians in his movies. Lately he has been donning mythological roles too because of the void in this space(There are not many other actors who can handle a mythological role).

Venkatesh's core base is married women and families with two kids. Again he started off as an action hero but because of the crowded market place, he could not sustain himself in that category. Over the years he repositioned himself with his skillful choice of roles. His movies show him as a protagonist from middle class with family repsonsibilities. Most of his roles have an emotional component to them, and the protagonist always make some sort of sacrifice for the sake of his family - wife, brother, sister, mother, uncle etc.

Then there are smaller segments such as comedy/funny movies. These segments used to be dominated by ChandraMohan/Rajendra Prasad/Naresh and Ali. However this segment has died down with the advent of cable TV and the comedy TV shows and comedy has since then been an integral part of other movies, but not a separate segment anymore.

Geoffrey Moore says in Crossing the Chasm that every market matures to have one Gorilla, Two Chimpanzees and a number of monkeys. I think the same could be said about the actors in the Telugu Film industry.

Coming back to the book which started me thinking along these lines - It is a book named Building a Successful Software Business BY Dave Radin ; More one some of these books in my next posts.

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