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SRK partners with Google for Ra.One YouTube channel

Bollywood superhero film Ra.One now has a dedicated YouTube channel created by its star, Shah Rukh Khan, and his production company, Red Chillies Entertainment, as the latest in a line of digital media generated hype ahead of its October launch.

Custom made video interviews and behind the scenes footage from the movie and its London premiere will now be available on YouTube, as well as interactive games and a 40 page digital comic based on Ra.One (short for Random Access One) on Google+.

"For Ra.One I wanted to leverage the full potential of digital media and create an experience on YouTube and Google+ that has never been done for any Indian film," said Shah Rukh Khan. "I am very excited about the project and am personally working with the Google team to create a destination that my fans can enjoy from anywhere in the world."

The film, which is set to be this year's Indian blockbuster, is already reported to have reaped back its production costs - estimated at INR 125 crore - through broadcasting and music rights, distribution, advertising and merchandise marketing deals. All this ahead of its theatrical launch on 28 October.

The total marketing budget for the film is reported to be in the region of INR 40 crore, which includes INR 15 crore for online promotions. A Ra.One Facebook site and Twitter account have already been running for months.

"We are very pleased to associate with Shah Rukh Khan to create a unique and customised destination for Ra.One on YouTube," said Rajan Anandan, managing director and vice president, sales and operations, Google India during the web-based channel's launch in Mumbai.

"In the last few years, Indian production houses have begun to embrace the YouTube platform to engage fans, distribute movies and leverage rich media ad formats to promote their movies online. Bollywood is now an integral part of the YouTube experience and we want to demonstrate how it can be used creatively to connect with highly engaged YouTube community in India and across the world."

The satellite TV rights for Ra.One have already gone under the hammer for a reported INR 35 crore, while distribution rights were sold to Eros International for a rumoured INR 77 crore.

Among the other innovative marketing tools used to promote the film, Shah Rukh Khan hopes to entice Formula One teams to sport Ra.One logos at the Noida Grand Prix, to be held near New Delhi on 30 October.

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