Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Finance, Human Resource Development amongst big spenders
At a time when corporates are traditionally low-key, various Government Departments seem to have spent large sums of money in advertising during the first quarter of 2006. There has been a spurt in commercials on various television channels.
According to data provided by advertising tracking agency, AdEx India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Finance Ministry and Ministry of Human Resource Development are amongst the big spenders.
The duration of ads related to Health and Family Welfare, which also includes women's development and population control has gone up from 5.89 lakh seconds in the October-December 2005 period to 6.35 lakh seconds during the January-March 2006 period. Besides this, those related to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and blood donation have also gone up from 2.47 lakh seconds to 3.21 lakh seconds.
The Income Tax Department too increased its advertising, which went up from 1.63 lakh seconds to 5.31 lakh seconds, while advertising related to education, like those for Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan, went up from about 18,595 seconds during the December quarter, to about 95,801 seconds during March. Advertising on rural development issues and environment awareness also witnessed a surge during the early part of this year.
According to Government officials, "The spurt in advertising is mainly because Government Departments want to exhaust their 2005-06 financial year's budgets as they will not be able to carry forward the leftover revenues. Also, if the Ministries do not spend the money, the budgets could be reduced in the following year."
Advertising industry officials maintained that certain departments such as the Income Tax airs ads to mop up advance tax collections. Also, with the Health Ministry launching the National Rural Health Mission, spends have gone up. "Some of the HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns have also appeared during cricket matches," they added.
Just as for the print media, the Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity has fixed rates for the television channels. These rates could be just 40 per cent of the rates charged by the channels to other clients.
A top media planner said that Government ads could have greater impact with better planning. "The Budget of the various Departments could be much higher than some of the big spenders in the corporate world. With better creatives and media planning, these messages could help meet the desired results," he added.