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Star money power goes beyond films in digital era  


Digital media has opened up new avenues of income for mainstream movie actors with opportunities in films and endorsements, brand experts and analysts say.

Actors are getting higher share of earnings outside regular film projects with popular brands signing them up for short-term social media collaborations, and actors are lending their voice to podcasts and investing in startups.

For instance, Audible, the audio streaming service by Amazon, announced podcast series last month, featuring the voices of Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan. Amitabh Bachchan has lent his voice for an audio series for the platform.

Meanwhile, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Rana Daggubati and Ayushmann Khurrana have been investing anywhere between 50 lakh and 5 crore in startups. Besides, an A-lister can command over 30 lakh per social media post, in collaboration with brands or streaming platforms.

“Actors today are much savvier and have learnt to increase revenue streams and diversify their investments. From taking control of the business of films by being producers to leveraging their social media equity through brand posts, they have increased revenue streams from appearances, and endorsements to production, social media, launching their own line of products and investments in startups,” said Harikrishnan Pillai, chief executive officer and co-founder of digital agency TheSmallBigIdea Pillai said film and sports stars enjoy huge fan following and are an obvious choice for endorsement. For investments, apart from money, actors lend their equity, which helps in better brand awareness and adoption.

To be sure, film actors have learnt to look beyond acting, which depends heavily on the box office, and seek to cash in on all opportunities that help them stay relevant.

“Big-scale collaborations with mainstream actors help the brands build, sustain their aura, and leverage extensive opportunities to grow,” said Mitesh Kothari, co-founder and chief creative officer White Rivers Media, a digital agency. “Celebrities are business-oriented and understand the need for diverse revenue sources to get more security. Investment and associations with brands not only propel the brand but also help achieve future financial confidence.”

The booming digital ecosystem has opened more doors for new revenue sources for actors.

For decades, film actors have been considered the biggest endorsers for brands given the resonance, relatability and credibility that they add, said Aahana Mehta, director, talent partnerships at Pollen (Zoo Media), an influencer marketing agency.

“The only difference is the ever-evolving advertising landscape which opens up more opportunities for brands to reach out to their target audience with the medium of the actor’s community across various platforms like social media, podcasts and so on,” Mehta said. Further, this signifies that the stars are ensuring their revenue pie is split across multiple avenues and not just restricted to acting careers anymore. “In fact, it looks like they are thriving to have a greater pie from entrepreneurship which could mean either investing in brands or producing content for all platforms.”

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