With just two more phases of the nine-phased Lok Sabha elections remaining, there are hectic negotiations between news broadcasters and advertisers regarding ad rates for the counting day. As is known, counting of votes will take place on May 16 and results will be declared the same day.
Thus, broadcasters have a window of a few hours in which to garner the maximum ad rates and at the same time also compete for a major share of the advertising pie. Given the intense viewer interest in these elections, a higher rate of channel switching is expected as viewers flit from channel to channel to get all aspects of the poll coverage.
Even as news broadcasters are busy dealing deals with various advertisers, as per industry estimates, the ad rates range between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh. On an average, the rates range between Rs 1.25 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, depending on channel to channel.
As Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News pointed out about these elections, “Something like this is unprecedented in history and it will generate more eyeballs for the news channels.”
He further said, “On counting day, the country will be looking for all the news as it is the biggest day for the viewers to know what happened. The rates will be around Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh per 10 seconds. Premium rates are all over the place.”
Sharing about his group’s coverage strategy, Pandey said, “We will be doing live streaming of results as well as stories and other reports. We have sold that that separately. There is an attraction in the market for exclusivity. So, the counting day is exclusive to news channels; and news channels that are credible and on top level will command the maximum money like in any other business.”
Some of the major sponsors on board for ABP News include Supertech, Hero, Kent, and Patanjali, among others.
Channels are gearing up with strategic advertising and programming. With lots of innovation and insert advertising, brands are hoping to get maximum ROI. However, with the results to be declared the same day on May 16, brands have just a few hours to gain maximum leverage. The question arises whether this time window is enough to stand out?
Sharing his thoughts on one-day branding, Kartikeya Sharma, MD, ITV Network said that news channels get whatever their reach is and that they should charge a little higher.
He added, “Lok Sabha elections are once-in-a-five-year event, hence, viewership in the news genre swells up during this period, which justifies the higher rate of premium.”
Sharma further said, “The news industry is by large and grossly under-represented from the perspective of how we give weightage to news. So, I think it’s only fair that news channels get whatever reach they agree with the marketers.”
According to Sanjay Dua, CEO, Network18, “I don’t think there are average rates around; there are premium rates all over. I would say that on the highest side, the rates are around Rs 1.25 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh for 10 seconds. The entire day is prime time for broadcasters on counting day.”
Dua further said out that counting day is like other major one-day events such as Budget day and other special occasions.
Meanwhile, Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia felt that the ad rates that are floating are good, however, the premium rates are around 120 per cent higher. At the same time, he pointed out that that time period is only around 3-4 hours. Moreover, viewers will not stick to one particular channel and will keep swapping from channel to channel.