How heavy political ad spends created greater opportunity for the OOH industry in 2019

Given the line up of state elections in the coming year, experts believe that the OOH industry will see spends to the tune of Rs 800 crore-Rs 1000 crore

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Updated: Dec 23, 2019 9:42 AM
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Even with digital media taking the centre stage in the big political battles of 2019 both at the centre and at the state levels, OOH grabbed the attention of political parties who spend generously on the medium. Political parties such as the BJP, AAP and Congress had spent over Rs400 crore on OOH this year.

To grab the attention of voters on the go, political parties used OOH both during the Lok Sabha election and at the state elections. While is its said BJP was the highest spender in the medium, even smaller parties took to OOH due to its affordability factor, reach and hyper-local touch.

The EY-FICCI 2019 Media & Entertainment report said the Indian OOH industry grew by 8.8 per cent in FY 2018-19, taking the industry size to Rs 37.3 billion. Experts suggest a huge part of the growth was driven by political spends.

Also Read: 2020 to be the year of digital integration in OOH

Of the total estimated spends, the BJP contributed 35 per cent to 40 per cent, said, media buyers. The Out-Of-Home industry has witnessed close to 11 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last 5 years, growing from Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) in FY14 to Rs 3,400 crore (Rs 34 billion) in FY19, according to the recently released KPMG report, titled ‘India’s Digital Future: Mass of Niches’. “Overall growth in 2019 will be as projected around 6 per cent but due to elections a 0.5% extra can be expected across,” said Shailesh Soni, Associate Vice President, Laqshya Media Group.

Why does the medium work for political parties though? “Outdoor has specific nuances, which is physical and locational in nature. It cannot be switched off, skipped or blocked. It is this physical presence that makes it the most transparent of mediums," said Sujit Banerjee, Director and Chief Executive of Ecosys, of the specialist outdoor agency under Publicis Media.

According to Banerjee, Outdoor ads are expected to feature political leaders with their achievements. He says, “Brands will have a tongue-in-cheek conversation with the client on topical issues. A conversation about national narratives, patriotism, and the importance of the vote will take place. We will witness bulletin boards, a kind of contextual conversations in outdoor, which will be heavy on text.”

For instance, the BJP witnessed landslide victory in Varanasi wherein the party painted the city saffron and OOH played a big part in it. According to reports, the BJP spent around Rs 50 crore on outdoor media across India.

According to Haresh Nayak, Regional Director, Posterscope APAC & Managing Director, Posterscope Group, the TRAI regulations also provided an edge to the OOH industry during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “As per the new TRAI regulation, the consumers had options to choose the channels of their choice and this affected the reach of TV. Hence the OOH spending was doubled,” said Nayak.

Whereas Pawan Bansal, COO, Jagran Engage begs to differ, he says, “The format remained the same. From the planning point of view, 1.5 crore first-time voters were there and political parties targeted the youth. We witnessed hoardings/advertisements near malls or college campuses just so that the parties were able to convey the message to the first time voters.”

According to experts, the OOH industry saw a good hike this election season. “Political parties have always used OOH as part of their general rallies and in promoting their promises and achievements to the general public but restricted. Since 2014, spends have increased drastically across regions and the use of OOH medium is not restricted. Different formats are being used in innovative ways without losing relevance,” Soni added.

Given the line up of state elections in the coming year, it is expected that the industry will see spends to the tune of Rs 800 crore-Rs 1000 crore. Political parties like BJP and AAP are estimated to have doubled their efforts two-fold for the upcoming elections said, experts.

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