In a bid to increase non-fare revenue, the Ministry of Railways will be looking to open up stations and trains for branding. A similar move by Delhi and Mumbai Metro has already seen success and the Ministry will be hoping to replicate this on a national scale.
According to sources, the inventory could include naming rights for trains, radio announcements in trains, in-train digital display units, various other inventory in stations, etc. The tender is expected to be released on April 1, 2017 with sources saying that the Ministry is in the closing stages of planning with the actual consultation and planning process having begun around 8 months ago. There are expected to be separate tenders for station branding and train branding.
Some of the trains that would now be available for marketers for branding include Golden Temple Express, Rajdhani Express, etc.
“We have given our suggestions to the Ministry on the kind of opportunities that will work for branding. We will have to wait and see how many of the suggestions they adopt,” said the head of one OOH agency.
According to him, the opportunity is huge despite the high production costs involved. “Some brands are showing interest for long term projects as production cost is much higher for short term campaigns,” he added.
Perhaps one of the most exciting opportunities for advertisers is the option to name a train after the brand. This has already seen some success in the case of the Metro project in Delhi and Mumbai with naming rights of stations being sought after. However, the Indian Railways has no plans to release station naming rights say sources.
“It (station/train names) immediately creates a huge landmark, so they are a big opportunity for advertisers,” said a senior executive at another outdoor agency.
Unlike in the case of the metro projects, sources indicate that the railway tender might be too big and costly for single agencies to bid for the entire project. One source opined that naming rights for trains might be sold directly to brands rather than going through agencies.
To get an idea of the possible value, the bidding for station naming rights for Mumbai Metro was said to be in the Rs 1.5 crore – Rs 6 crore range with the rights valid for an year. Reports state that the Gurgaon Rapid Metro expects about 10-15 per cent of its overall revenue to come from non-tariff avenues, with nearly half of this expected to be generated by selling naming rights.