Indian political parties are not going to hold back on advertising during the general elections

BJP supporter at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Sankalp Rally' in Patna, on March 3, 2019.IANS
  • Experts believe that overall political spends for advertising during general elections are going to go as high as ₹40 billion.
  • Broadcasters are also looking at a hike of 25% in revenues from general elections alone.
  • While the BJP and Congress will be leading in spending, regional parties too are not going to be shy about their media spends.
India is preparing for the general elections. But when it comes down to business, one thing is for sure – media and advertising rake in big winnings, thanks to advertising revenues.

With the countdown to the Indian general elections having begun, social media is already buzzing with slogans and trends that are mostly triggered by political parties.

Promotions though come at a cost. However, that’s not a concern for political parties, especially ones with big fat budgets set aside for advertisements.

Experts believe that this year, the general elections will result in a significant jump in advertising revenue for whom broadcasting channels, print media and others – upto 25% when compared to the last general elections.

“If Elections 2014 saw a declared expenditure level of ₹25 billion approximately by political parties, expect that number to balloon to ₹40 billion crores this year,” Harish Bijoor, a brand consultant told Business Insider.

Bijoor added that general elections typically have the habit of making way for a good expenditure blip for political parties, which reflects on to the GDP of India of that particular quarter for sure.

According to AdAge India, the current Indian government has been spending ₹10-13 billion every year since they came to power. However, for the 2019 financial year the government had spent ₹528 crore until December 7, 2018.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are expected to take centre stage with election advertising, experts believe the focus will also turn to regional parties in the upcoming general elections.

“There will be a lot of influence from the regional parties. I believe this election will be largely fought on behalf of regional parties, the alliances that take place and of course, the subsequent media spends by them,” Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer, 9XM, a music broadcasting channel, told Business Insider.

However, for broadcasters accepting these ads, it’s just another big corporate advertising that comes with bulk orders. All of these campaigns are released through agencies. So, the advertising rates don’t stand discounted, translating to higher revenues.

“It is purely based on demand and supply. If we don’t have inventory, we’ll charge higher rates. And obviously the rates are higher during general election,” said Jailkhani.

He further explained that from the last general elections in 2014 to now, the reach of TV has grown which also means higher reach come higher rates. “We see a 20-25% hike in revenue from the last general elections,” said Jailkhani.

Social media tightens norms

However, experts believe that even though television will take up a higher chunk of advertising, it won’t be the only major player.

“Digital will work across centers and more particularly in the urban. Whatsapp however will work everywhere, urban and rural as will Instagram and TikTok. Print will dominate as always and Television will gobble up the biggest bulk of money, said Bijoor.

In terms of volumes of ads, of ads, digital will play a big role. With pressure mounting on social media platforms to weed out political bias these platforms are making a calculated move. Facebook senior officials have to face a parliamentary panel to present steps taken by them to safeguard users. Twitter had earlier faced the parliamentary panel where it was asked to appoint a nodal officer to work with the Election Commission of India.

Twitter released a statement on February 21 where it said that it has formed an “internal, cross functional elections group to lead our electoral integrity work from now through polling day” while Facebook had earlier even said that they are on the lookout for an election integrity head in India. WhatsApp too had hired an India head to tackle the spread of fake news in India.

See Also:
Voting in India's 2019 elections will run from April 11 to May 19 and the results will be counted on May 23
BJP spends too much on political advertising on Facebook as Congress spends too little — yet again
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