Parties such as the BJP, JD(U), RJD and Samajwadi Party, among others, have been campaigning heavily during this election time in Bihar. These parties are leaving no stone unturned in order to with a majority of 243 seats in the State Legislative Assembly. This has also resulted in parties battling it out through ads, some of which even turned ugly and required the Election Commission’s help to intervene recently. Bihar being one of the largest states in the country a lot is at stake for those looking to extend their power or regain power in the country. As the fifth phase of polling, which is the last, ends today, we take a look at how television channels in that region have benefitted from the election campaign spends.
As regional TV channels are the key benefactors during a state election, the same was seen during the Bihar election. A number of Bhojpuri channels saw a minimum 15% increase in ad revenues during this period as compared to the previous year. They felt that this was primarily due to the State Assembly elections conducted this year.
Ashwin Padmanabhan, COO, RBNL which runs Bhojpuri channel Big Ganga said, “We have seen an upside in political parties advertising. BJP has taken the lead in terms of the amount of advertising they are doing and followed by some of the smaller parties. So far JD(U) has been quite low compared to some of the other players in the elections. BJP has been taking the lead and has been extremely aggressive in their advertising”. He further added that they have seen close to about a 40% jump in ad revenues due the elections. “Some of the smaller parties which were not active in the first two phases have got active later. Depending upon where the candidates are contesting from and which phase they fall in based on that the parties are spending. While the larger parties are spending through whole election period, smaller parties are spending on where they have larger number of candidates participating,” he said. The channel too has seen a significant increase in ad rates due to the limited inventory.
Mukund Setlur, Business Head - ETV Bihar and Jharkhand, ETV News Network said that ad revenues for his channel have increased in the range of a minimum 15%. He said the biggest spends have come from the BJP and the ruling JD(U) parties. With regards to a hike in ad rates he said, “We have hiked at least by about 10-15% during the time of the polling and the counting day will be the biggest for us wherein we will increase the rates by at least about 30-40% for that one day”. He further added, “Basically there are two things which happen i.e. the first, which is the most important, is the political money which comes when the election happens. That is one big thrust in terms of revenues for the channels. Second is the corporate advertisers and retail bring in ad spends. Most the FMCG companies have started advertising in markets such as Bihar. Brands such as GSK and Cadbury’s and these kinds of brands which never used come to those markets have started advertising. Primarily it is because of elections which is one of the reasons.”
Manav Dhanda, CEO, Shri Adhikari Brothers, which has Bhojpuri channel Dabangg, said that they have seen BJP being extremely active in terms of advertising on their channel apart from the campaigns of other parties. “Not only are they spending on our Dabangg channel which targets the region in fact they have done aggressive campaigns on our national channel Mastiii. They have become very aggressive and have not only picked up regional channels but also national channels in our bouquet. ”
According to a previous article on exchange4media, the print ad spends from the Bihar elections was expected to go above Rs.50 crore. A senior media planner expected political ad spends on the Bihar elections for TV to be in the range of Rs.200-250 crore. A majority of the ad spends during this elections are expected to come from the BJP itself which has been trying hard to win the voters in Bihar. These ad spends from the political parties are expected to conclude today being the last day of polling. However, news channels are expected to generate more revenues from various other brands on the counting day November 8.