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Broadcasters eye Rs 150 crore windfall from election ad spends

MUMBAI: Television broadcasters are eyeing a rich harvest from ad spends that the political parties in general and the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in particular will be making for the upcoming general elections scheduled for April.

Ashish SehgalWhile there are no available estimates on the quantum of ad spends on television channels by political parties, ZEEL chief sales officer Ashish Sehgal and Multi Screen Media (MSM) president (network sales, licensing and telephony) Rohit Gupta believe that the ad spends would be anywhere in the region of Rs 100 crore to Rs 150 crore.

And unlike the 2009 general elections, when the news channels were the mainstay of election campaign for political parties, the 2014 elections have seen the emergence of general entertainment channels (GECs), Hindi as well as regional, and cricket as critical genres for parties to reach out to maximum people.

Like other advertisers, the political parties are looking to garner maximum number of eyeballs to put across their message, and who better than the GECs, movie channels and sports can offer that reach. GECs, followed by movie channels, gather the highest number of GRPs (gross rating points).

rohitCricket, on the other hand, is event driven and big events like the ICC World Cup or the Indian Premier League (IPL) offer the reach that no other programme can offer since it has a pan-India appeal.

“Political parties have been earlier advertising on GECs but this general election they have been heavy on the GECs. We have ads from both the Congress and BJP running across the network channels. This time, political advertising on our channels is much more compared to 2009 elections,” said Gupta.

Gupta also affirmed that the channels will earn anywhere between Rs 100 to 150 crore from political advertising. “News channels don’t offer the kind of reach that GECs and cricket offer. Political parties at the end of the day want a bang for their buck like any other advertiser,” he explains.

bjp-advertisingGupta’s ZEEL counterpart is in complete agreement. “Television channels will easily get Rs 100 to 150 crore in ad spends from political parties as it is not just the Congress and BJP that are spending but the regional parties as well, albeit on a smaller scale,” added Sehgal.

“It is true that the political parties are focusing heavily on GECs this time,” he asserted.

The two main political parties have been battling it out in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. The T20 World Cup has gained due to the IPL Governing Council’s (GC) decision to disallow political advertising during IPL telecast.

Main_Nahi_Hum_Congress_ad_controversy“There won’t be any political ads during IPL as the governing council has decided not to allow political ads,” Gupta stated.

Another key feature of this year’s general election is that both the Congress and the BJP are heavy on social media. “While television and print are the two core mediums for political parties, this election is different in the sense that there has been a heavy focus on social media,” said the head of a media agency on condition of anonymity.

A top official of a news channel corroborated that this time political parties are spending more on sports (T20 World Cup) and on social media.

“Historically, news channels have been the biggest beneficiaries of the political advertising during elections. However, this time they are putting their money on other genres more. While it is too early to say about total spending, other genres are going to gain on our expense. News channels, it seems, will lose a big chunk this time,” he rues.

The Congress and BJP are believed to individually spend anywhere between Rs 400–500 crore on advertisements for this year’s elections. While the Congress has awarded its media mandate to Dentsu, in the BJP’s case it rests with Madison.

A Pitch-Madison report on advertising expenditure had revealed that political advertising will fuel the AdEx growth this year with political parties expected to spend Rs 2,500 crore on advertising.

Also read:

Ad cap, niche channels to fuel TV AdEx in 2014: Pitch Madison survey