Railway officials said they believed the ministry had under-exploited its advertising potential and contended that it could actually be worth about Rs 4,000 crore, as compared to the Rs 110 crore earned in 2005-06.
“We carry 17 million passengers every day and about another 3 million escort passengers to the station. Imagine the size of the audience,” said an official. This is of course not taking into account the number of people who love to watch trains pass by while, say, driving beside a railway track.
As of now every hoarding in each railway station in the country is separately leased out after issuing a tender, which is why railway advertising never attracted the big advertisers. The ministry has decided that tenders would now be issued division wise for advertising rights.
“That means that every fixed asset suitable for advertising in every station in a particular division will be leased out on a single tender, which will go to only one player,” the official said. A separate tender, for every division, will be issued for rolling stock—for both indoor and outdoor advertisements.
Many leading advertising agencies including multinationals have held discussions with the railways to ascertain if the entire railway advertising market in India could be sold on one tender.
The ministry had already held discussions with suppliers of vinyl chemical wrap, which could be stuck on bogies to display flashy and colourful advertisements.
The ministry was also shocked to learn that even though the railways had 7,000 stations the net revenue earned by them on advertisements was only a third of the income generated through advertising at the 36 airports in the country but, the , said sources.