Conducting elections is always an expensive proposition and when it comes to the world’s largest democracy, the bill could go up to as much as Rs 10,000 crore, as per a study by the Centre for Media Studies. While the 2004 Lok Sabha elections had cost the country Rs 4,500 crore, the poll bill came to around Rs 3,200 crore in 1998 and Rs 2,100-2,200 crore in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections.
Media and ad spends
The ones who are expected to rake in the moolah is the media and advertising industry. With major political parties increasingly empaneling agencies to handle their poll campaigns, the industry is looking forward to an upturn amid the economic slowdown.
According to industry analysts, television advertising currently accounts for Rs 8,000 crore of the Rs 19,000 crore Indian ad industry. Of the total television ad spend, news channels account for Rs 1,500 crore, while the ad revenue for general entertainment channels stands at Rs 3,000 crore.
A report in a business news channel had stated that Rs 1,500 crore could be spent on other media such as video, audio, cable, cinema, SMS and TV advertising for all parties. This apart, nearly Rs 1,500 crore could go for public meetings, wages and rallies, etc. The two major national parties – Congress and BJP – alone have a media advertising budget of Rs 200 crore each. The other parties are also planning to spend a total of Rs 500 crore on their ad campaigns. Ads in newspapers are expected to be worth around Rs 100 crore. Apart from this, there would be Rs 326 crore spent for all the 543 Lok Sabha seats.
The ad industry is expecting at least Rs 1,000 crore to be spent overall by political parties across mediums ranging from print to digital.
National parties like Congress and BJP already have their creative agencies in place for the campaigns. While the Congress has two roped in JWT and Crayons, the BJP recently hired Frank Simoes-Tag and Utopia.
The Congress has managed to incorporate the Oscar-winning song from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ – ‘Jai ho’ – as part of its campaign. The ads featuring the ‘Jai ho’ campaign, conceptualised by PerceptH, have already broken on major channels. Officials from PerceptH could not be contacted for comments at the time of filling this report.
Meanwhile, Ranjan Bargotra, President, Crayons, stressed, “JWT and Crayons are the only official agencies for the Congress. We are working on the some campaigns for th party and will be launching them very soon.”
Nishit, CEO, Utopia Consulting, said, “We are geared to do the campaign for the BJP for the coming Lok Sabha elections. Prior to that, we had done the campaign for the State Assembly elections in 2003, and then we had done the campaign for the Karnataka Assembly elections in 2004. This is our background in political advertising.”
When asked about the plan and the cost of the campaign, Nishit replied, “We are doing the creative and execution part of the campaign.” He refrained from divulging details about the campaign plan and strategy.
Meanwhile, according to a section of the press, the media spend for the BJP campaign is estimated to be around Rs 40-44 crore.
Elections 2009: In campaign mode, BJP empanels Frank Simoes-Tag and Utopia
Elections 2009: Congress gets its war cry in ‘Jai Ho’, thanks to Percept
JWT Delhi, Crayons to handle Congress party’s all-India ad campaign for Lok Sabha polls; ac size Rs 200 cr