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JCDecaux bags exclusive Chennai Metro train branding contract

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JCDecaux bags exclusive Chennai Metro train branding contract

JCDecaux has bagged the exclusive advertising rights for the Chennai Metro Rail Limited’s (CMRL) rolling stocks (trains). This includes exclusive external wraps, internal train branding as well as a combination of both. The contract is for a period of 10 years and will include all the proposed 35 trains and 42 stations of the Chennai Metro Project. As of now, the initial phase of the Metro has 7 trains and 7 stations operational. 

This is JCDecaux's first foray in Chennai. It now has operations in 4 cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

The agency has already roped in Reliance Trends and Renault as advertisers and, JCDecaux India MD Olivier Héroguelle informed us, that more deals are expected to be closed in the coming weeks. Renault signed the advertising contract in December, while Reliance Trends came on board yesterday. The two brands have signed on for an initial period of 3 months and will each get one train with their respective branding, which will run through the day at a frequency of approximately 30 minutes.

Though the exact value of the deals with both brands was not divulged, the card rate for both external and internal branding (which both brands have opted for) is Rs 12 lakh per month. The card rates for only internal branding is Rs 6 lakh per month, while external train wraps is priced at Rs 8 lakh per month. This is the same as the card rates for advertising on the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line trains, which is also handled by JCDecaux. In a bid to attract more advertisers, the agency has also said that for long term contracts (3 months and over), it will absorb 50 per cent of production cost.

Speaking about revenue expectations from the project,  Héroguelle said that the current objective of the agency was to establish a presence in the city. "In absolute figures, it (revenue from Chennai Metro) will be small initially but what matters at this stage is to open an office and have a team (in the city) and develop relations with and get to know local agencies and buyers," he explained. He also said that the next step would include developing new advertising solutions and options outside stations.

When quizzed about the status of other Metro media like in-station branding, station naming rights, advertising on station pillars, etc., he said, "The CMRL has broken down the advertising rights into different categories and is not selling it as one package. We decided to opt for just the train branding." 

It has been learnt that the rights for pillar advertising has been won by another national agency though advertising has yet to begin due to certain legal issues. The rights for in-station branding have still to be decided by CMRL. Pramod Bhandula, Executive Chairman at JCDecaux India, informed us that the agency would consider applying for station naming rights if and when CMRL opens a tender for the same.

Meanwhile, speaking about the kind of advertisers expected to show interest, Héroguelle informed that the agency is expecting 75 per cent advertisers to be large, national or international brands, though local advertisers are being approached, especially considering Chennai's strong retail sector. 

Finding legal outdoor inventory, especially billboards is a huge problem in Chennai due to government regulations, which Héroguelle explained was one of the main reasons why the agency decided to use the Chennai Metro as its entry point to the city. 

"We wanted to trigger a legal concession in Chennai and this was the best option. The Chennai Metro Rail is a fantastic media for the city. It has high impact and has a premium, captive and receptive audience," he said.

CMRL became operational in June, 2015 and currently has 2 Metro lines spread over 45 km covering 32 stations—19 underground and 13 elevated. The two metro lines cover the key locations and intersections in the city with an estimated 282 million commuters per year with a 5 per cent traffic growth.

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