News broadcasters expect 30-50% hike in ad revenue during Lok Sabha polls

The viewership too is expected to go up by nearly 60%

by Neethu Mohan
Published - Feb 20, 2019 9:04 AM Updated: Feb 20, 2019 9:04 AM

The nation is gearing up for the 17th Lok Sabha elections and the polls are expected to be held in April and May 2019. While the general elections are crucial for both NDA and UPA alliances, it is also important for media houses as they expect a considerable hike in revenue during this time.

As per an RTI information, the current government has spent around Rs 5,000 crores on advertisements and publicity through different kinds of media in the past four and a half years. According to industry experts, the advertising spends by political parties during the election period is likely to increase by double digits. General elections, like the festival seasons, is an event on which media houses pin their hopes for a hike in revenue. The channels are also expecting a rise in viewership during the April-May period.

Ad revenue and viewership rise

Media houses are expecting a 30-50% growth in advertisement revenue during upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

According to Vikas Khanchandani, CEO, Republic TV, brands are keen to sponsor election-related programmes as they have a high visibility.

“Election inventories are most sought-after properties. The revenues during elections will go up to 45-50%. The overall TV consumption will witness an all-time spike during the election period. During 2014 Lok Sabha elections, a growth of 60% was recorded in TV viewership. In 2019 too, there will be a spike of minimum 60%," shares Khanchandani.

Rajeev Balakrishnan, CEO, WarRoom strategies, says major political parties are expected to spend about Rs 25-30 crore each for advertisements with major broadcasters.

“The ad revenue of the channels will witness a rise of 30-40% during election period. The channels will be benefitted more as IPL and ICC Cricket World Cup is also approaching,” Balakrishnan adds.

The channels are also spiking their advertisement rates for the elections.

Unni Krishnan BK, VP (Sales), Asianet News, expects the advertisement inventory rates of news channels to jump by 30-40% during the election period. “Also, there will be a rise in ad revenue by 40-50% during the April-May period,” he claims.

Speaking on the TV viewership pattern, Krishnan said, “There is a lot of buzz surrounding the elections. As a result, there will be an increase in viewership during that period, especially on the polling and counting days.”

Speaking about the ad revenue rise, PR Satheesh, COO, MMTV, said, “We witnessed 25-30% revenue spike during Kerala Assembly elections in 2016. So, the general elections are sure to provide additional revenue of up to 30-40%.”  

If we look at south Indian states, Congress, BJP, CPI and CPI(M) are the major political ad spenders in Kerala. In Telangana, TDP is a party that invests majorly in election campaigns through television broadcasters. In Karnataka, JD(S) is a major advertiser after BJP and Congress. Aam Aadmi Party and Mahila Empowerment Party are also expected to do major ad spends during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Clifford Pereira, Director, TV9, believes that political parties are likely to do reasonable amount of advertising on TV channels apart from other media platforms.

“There will be a huge spike in terms of viewership during the Lok Sabha elections. We have premium for advertising on polling and result days. Political parties are likely to do reasonable amount of advertising on TV channels apart from other media platforms. In Karnataka, BJP, Congress, and JD(S) are the three parties who may run a good ad campaign for this election.”  

Speaking about the TV viewing pattern in Karnataka, Swaroop Murgod, Head of Production, News 18 Kannada, said, “For the upcoming elections, channels have already started investing heavily on infrastructure and human capital. New studios are being designed, new technology is being bought and new anchors/reporters are being hired. This election season is witnessing a lot of uncertainty. Hence media would play a crucial role through a two-fold communication. It would not only help in the formation of public opinion in favour or against political parties through political messaging, but also help political parties to change their election strategy on the basis of public feedback.”

“I see the viewership to increase by 30-50% during the election season, leading to the big counting day. And the channels are not keeping a single stone unturned for a competitive advantage. In fact, specifically on counting day, it will surge by at least 300%.”

Speaking about the rise in viewership among the Telugu audience, Srinivasa Murthy, Director, TV5, said, “There will be a huge rise in the TV viewership during polls. I am expecting 100% viewership rise for TV5 in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Coming to ad revenues, we will have premium advertisement inventories and tariff exclusively for the elections.

According to industry experts, when it comes to ad spends, the focus is shifting to digital and other online platforms. Digital media will witness a growth of 25% in terms of revenue. At the same time, regional channels will be witnessing a humongous growth during election period.

According to a media planner from south India, “As regional politics plays a crucial role in the Lok Sabha polls, major parties will invest more in regional media. Any inventories related to elections are hot selling properties, and this will be reflected in the ad revenue of channels. The regional channels will definitely see a spike in terms of revenue and viewership of around 50% and 60% respectively.”

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