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Despite earnings from Elections, revenues seen as flat in Q1 FY15, say print players

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Despite earnings from Elections, revenues seen as flat in Q1 FY15, say print players

The Lok Sabha Elections 2014 had the media industry in a buoyant mood in anticipation of a boost to their earnings from poll-related spendings. Now’s the time for a reality check as companies gear up to take stock of their performance during the first quarter of FY2014-15.

Enjoying a greater reach than television and radio, print media has betted more on the Elections to ramp up their revenues. But do the numbers match the expectations?

exchange4media spoke to a cross-section of print media players to gauge their reactions to the Q1 results and most of them said that the results could have been better. All the print media players that exchange4media spoke to, spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to a senior executive from The Times of India Group, the Q1 results have been flat. He pointed out that while political parties had upped their advertising spends for the Elections, the corporates kept a tight rein on their budgets due to the Elections.

On a similar vein, one of the leading magazine publishers said, “Corporates were not taking any decision regarding ad spends due to the Elections. I think there was a lot of caution and the deals were made only with the large media houses.”

Given the intense interest in the 2014 elections, print players looked at charging prime rates for advertisements. However, print players from the South feel left out from the ad spends boost.

An executive from The Hindu remarked, “The earnings have not been as encouraging as expected. With the Election Commission Code of Conduct coming into play, government ads dried up. While North and East India got a major chunk of the advertising, there were very few in the South.”

Not just English print media, Hindi and regional print media players too are feeling the pinch in the first quarter. An official from Prabhat Khabar said that government advertising was down and print was not given that much importance. “Not just the government, but the education sector also did not advertise that much,” he added.

Meanwhile, a Hindustan Times official said that the Q1 results are okay, but flat and could have been better. In Q4 FY14, Hindustan Times had reported a 10 per cent hike in its total revenues, while advertising revenues were up 9 per cent.

DB Corp, which released its Q1 FY15 results on July 17, has registered a growth of 8 per cent in advertising revenues and 10 per cent increase on total revenue.

With the Q1 results of various media organisations slated to be declared in the coming days, it remains to be seen how much the numbers lag behind the expectations.

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