Line 1 of the Mumbai Monorail project opened to the public amid much expectations in February this year. The first phase extends between Wadala Depot and Chembur and consists of seven stations.
In September 2013, MMRDA had released a tender inviting agencies to bid for display advertising rights for the project. The rights include display advertising on platforms and the station piers. However, the advertising rights are still to be claimed, and the reason for this, according to OOH vendors, is the high license fee set by MMRDA.
The initial upfront annual premium set by MMRDA was in the region of Rs 7 crore per annum (including both platform and piers). After seeing a lack of interest, this amount was reduced to Rs 5 crore p.a. and then to Rs 3 crore p.a. (as it currently stands), say sources. However, even this price is deemed too high by the vendors.
Speaking to exchange4media, Jignesh Sharma, Director, Aagya OOH Media said, “Most of the piers are in areas which are not advertisement friendly. Apart from this, the traffic flow of the monorail is around 18,000-20,000 visitors per day and the platforms are open only from 7 am to 3 pm. How much exposure can we give to our advertisers? The capital expenditure itself will be much more than the license fee that MMRDA is expecting.” He further said that these concerns have been communicated to the MMRDA.
The head of another media agency added that since 70-75 per cent of the piers would be in undeveloped areas or surrounded by mangroves and salt pans, there is little scope for motorists to view the advertisements.
Meanwhile, the MMRDA had not replied to our communications despite repeated attempts at the time of filing this report. A spokesperson for the Mumbai Monorail division of MMRDA said that they are in the process of calling in for proposals from agencies. When asked about concerns about the high license fee, we were informed that the tender process was initially carried out by the MMRDA, but since January, the responsibility was passed on to the Monorail department. However, the spokesperson would not divulge any further information about the process of selection of agencies or whether there are plans to further reduce the prices.
Yogesh Lakhani, CMD, Bright Outdoor remarked that the MMRDA needs to understand that given the business conditions and the undeveloped areas that most parts of the Monorail pass through, recovering cost for vendors will be next to impossible. “We are waiting to see whether the MMRDA reduces the asking price before we take a decision. The current price is too expensive,” he said.
Aagya OOH Media’s Sharma opined that a revenue sharing deal will be ideal for both parties. Meanwhile, the MMRDA is expected to come out with a revised tender in the coming days and vendors are hopeful that their concerns will be given adequate weightage.