The Maharashtra State Elections are perhaps, politically, the most interesting democratic mandate that the state has seen. With long standing political alliances having broken down, it is a case for every person for themselves. The radio industry has already reaped the benefits of an aggressive political campaigning period, but it is hardly the only local medium being used by parties. The outdoor sector has seen an increased demand this time around, which has in some cases also lead to shortage of inventory for corporate players.
All the five major political parties have been very aggressive this year, said Sanjeev Gupta, MD of Global Advertisers. “They have become very professional in the way they have used outdoor advertising this time. In fact, more than the parties, it is the individual candidates which are being promoted more,” he added. Another industry insider said that the demand for outdoor inventory has been so high that corporate clients have had to push back launches and campaigns due to shortage of inventory.
“The Maharashtra Elections have affected corporate campaigns as the availability of sites came down during the peak season. I would like to clarify that the period between Dussehra to Diwali is never lean. It is peak season for the OOH media industry,” agreed Atul Srivastava, COO of Laqshya Media.
Another reason for the windfall for mediums like radio and OOH is that the campaign period has been less than 15 days. Combine this with the fact this might be the most hard fought elections in the state’s history (due to the breakdown of longstanding political alliances) and there is no wonder that the outdoor sector has been able to reap the benefits.
“Everyone is campaigning on their own. So the demand for media consumption has increased. The premium inventory is always in demand but we have seen non-premium inventory also getting sold out,” said Rajiv Saxena, MD of Blue Ocean Media.
Srivastava also seconded the fact that political campaigns have consumed even the non-premium inventory too. “Moreover since there is a shortage of inventory, the political campaigns have utilized whatever they could get,” he added.
“Yes, the spends on OOH media have definitely gone up this time and could have been higher, but for the availability of the media,” he said.
Each of the alliance partners is now focusing on their core audience and trying to reach them through various communications including OOH.
But does this actually translate to a windfall for the OOH sector? The answer to this is not easy. A media owner we spoke with said that it would have been better to have had corporate clients as the revenue would have been much higher. However, the OOH industry is still riding high on the election wave and with the festive season still continuing, the optimism seen since the start of the year seems very much justified.