In a deal that would result in Facebook finally getting a crack into sort of mainstream streaming media, the social media giant has announced a deal with Filmfare. Filmfares, or popularly known as ‘the black lady’, are India’s equivalent of the Academy Awards (a.k.a. Oscars). It is the biggest awards night for all of India’s local film industry, even though the focus of the main awards is largely Bollywood.
The deal will grant Facebook with year-long exclusive non-linear digital simulcast rights to the entire Filmfare awards franchise. These include Filmfare Hindi, Filmfare Marathi, Filmfare South, Filmfare Punjabi and Filmfare Glamour and Style Awards in 2020.
The partnership will start with the streaming of this year’s Filmfare awards on February 16th, 9 PM. This scheduled streaming shall take place on Filmfare’s Facebook Page. Additional content like red carpet highlights, backstage footage, special moments and best of Filmfare archive content will also be available exclusively on Facebook and Instagram.
The Filmfares are among the oldest honours in the Hindi Indian film industry. The awards were constituted way back in 1954 by India’s largest media group, The Times Group. The awards were initiated at the same time as the National Film Awards, which are awarded by a jury of the Indian Government.
However, despite being the oldest and still(maybe?) perhaps the most prestigious honors in the Indian film industry, the awards have lost much of their audience appeal in the past two decades or so. This is largely due to several other awards coming up, mostly sponsored by various media groups. Additionally, the awards do not appeal much to India’s heavily digital focused video audience since they have failed to garner viewership outside of the television viewing populace.
“Social media is revolutionizing the way audiences discover, consume and share entertainment content. We have seen people form some of the most vibrant global communities around their favourite movies and stars on Facebook and Instagram. We are excited to partner with Filmfare to bring exclusive and engaging videos, photos and more for people on our platforms.” said Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships, Facebook India.
The deal is sure to benefit both. While Facebook gets rights to a premium content property in the aggressively growing Indian digital streaming market, the deal will also provide much needed viewership boost to the Filmfare brand. Interestingly, this year’s Filmfare awards are sponsored by Amazon India. Amazon Prime and Facebook are rivals in the streaming space, even though the former has an unassailable lead over the latter for now.