Not only did the commercial success of his films Ready and Bodyguard make Bollywood actor Salman Khan the bigger star in 2011 among the three Khans — Aamir, Shahrukh and Salman — he also outshone rival Khans in the virtual world claiming the highest web hits of 7.8 million across the globe and highest mention in blogosphere on Bollywood.
Salman Khan is also the highest tweeted name and also managed the largest mention among the news items on Bollywood stars searched online in 2011. Last year, Salman’s two films Ready and Bodyguard together generated over R270 crore in net business or 35% of the total net collections of all 100-plus Bollywood films. Shah Rukh Khan is still trailing behind in net collections of Ra.One and Don-2. Aamir had only one non-commercial film release last year in Dhobi Ghat.
According to the social media analysis arm of Innoplexus, an international innovation consultancy firm, Salman Khan outshined Aamir and Shahrukh in the virtual world across different parameters. In terms of total web hits, Aamir trails Salman by clocking only 4.2 million hits while Salman trumps Shahrukh’s 6.6 million figure by generating a whopping 7.8 million hits. This means, every minute of the year, Salman Khan’s name is being clicked 15 times. At over 78,000 mentions in the blogosphere, Salman’s lead is over 1.5 times of mentions Shahrukh and double of Aamir Khan, the latest Innoplexus study shows.
On social networking cite Twitter, Salman Khan has been tweeted over 1.44 lakh times which is more than double of what Shahrukh has witnessed and almost three times compared with Aamir Khan. At close to 14,000 postings in various forums, the Dabangg Khan takes the cake while SRK and Aamir have managed slightly over half of what the former has accomplished.
“Salman’s distinct edge over other two Khans busts a common perception that a larger chunk of his following comes from smaller centres and non urban areas. That is because the internet penetration in India is heavily skewed towards metro and other large cities. The amount of buzz Salman has been able to generate across media in the virtual world is a clear indicator of his popularity over the other Khans in the bigger cities,” said Gunjan Bhardwaj, the chairman of Innoplexus.
All this, despite SRK’s unprecedented marketing campaign for home production Ra.One. According to a recent report by TAM Adex, Shahrukh Khan was the most visible brand ambassador on television in 2011 while according to celebrity management firms, Aamir Khan is now the costliest Bollywood actor to hire for brand endorsements. “Managing the online image of a celebrity is now an integral part of the pitch planning. Everyone has realised that online media like Twitter are the fastest, cost-effective and least controversial way of reaching the fans,” says Indranil Das Blah, COO at Kwan Entertainment, a celebrity management agency.
However, when it comes to popularity among women, Shahrukh’s charm beats Salman’s. While 42% of Shahrukh’s online fans are female, the comparable share for Salman and Aamir stands at 25% and 28% respectievly. As far the age profile of online admirers goes, youngsters flock to Salman who derives 91% of his virtual followership from under 35 years. The corresponding figures for Shahrukh and Aamir are at 87% and 83%. Surprisingly none of Salman’s virtual fans is beyond 50 years while Shahrukh and Aamir draw atleast 2% and 6% of their online followership from a cohort of 50 plus years and find acceptability throughout different age groups.