Kochi: Guess what is the cost of 'liking' a movie on Facebook. Close to Rs 5 lakh! Hard to believe? Exploiting the wide possibilities of online promotion of Malayalam movies, unauthorised internet marketing groups are becoming rampant in the state.
Interestingly, these groups are taking advantage of the scope of social networking sites like Facebook. These batches of online promoters offer comprehensive packages to directors and producers, including more than 1,500 'likes' on FB, for posts regarding the films, nearly 100 positive reviews on day one itself, at a price between Rs 3 and Rs 5 lakh.
"It was during the post-production of my movie Grandmaster that two groups approached me saying that they would take care of the online promotion of my movie. The first group put forth an offer which included nearly 1,000 'likes' for the posts about the movie on Facebook right after the noon show. They said that they would post positive preview prior to the release for creating a hype," said director B Unnikishnan.
The second group proposed another package that included 50 youngsters clapping and creating waves in the theatres on the first show. "They asked for 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively. However, I said a big no. They also said that the makers of two hit movies released at the beginning of this year had opted for their package," he added.
Arunkumar, director of Cocktail and Ee Adutha Kalathu, which received tremendous backing on social networking sites, said he also had noticed certain unauthorised groups on the Internet. "All these groups are not fake. There are accredited online marketing units that have tie-ups with Google. The makers should make sure that the online promotion groups are genuine," he added.
"If they are asking for money for adding 'likes' in Facebook for a movie, chances are that they can create a 'dislike' button too and deliberately downride a movie. If the producer is not net-savvy, they can easily trap them by creating fake sites for promotion and put their reviews on top by search engine optimisation. Hence, the only solution for the directors is to keep themselves updated," said director Ashiq Abu.