With the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections coming to an end, the entire nation, as well as news broadcasters, are eagerly waiting for counting day on May 23.
Elections have always been a big drive for new broadcasters when it comes to attracting advertisers. But in the backdrop of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new tariff regime, the importance of the 2019 General Elections has grown even further for them as the event offers guaranteed ad revenue in a turbulent market.
According to a source, top news broadcasters are demanding almost the same amount as what Hindi GEC would charge for their prime time slot.
The 10-second spots for top Hindi news channels such as Aaj Tak, India TV, Republic Bharat and ABP are reportedly going for Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh wherein Aaj Tak is believed to have commanded double rate than the No. 2 channel.
Top English news channels like Times Now, India Today and Republic are asking around Rs 75,000 to Rs 1.25 lakh for 10-second spots. The rest of the channels are selling slots at Rs 50,000-90,000, which is more than the prime-time ad rate.
A senior media planner said, “Due to the implementation of TRAI’s new tariff order regime, Hindi news channels, in particular, are witnessing higher viewership and advertiser interest this time around.”
Compared to the 2014 General Elections, news broadcasters are witnessing around 40-50% of growth in ad rates on counting day. In the previous elections, a 10-second spot on counting day was reportedly sold for Rs 1.5-2 lakh in the top news channels.
For counting day, news channels have lined up special programmes to offer advertisers more inventories. The special programmes range from half-hour series to four-six hours of continuous coverage. The media planner commented that most of these ad rates will depend on ad volumes. “If a channel offers six to four hours of continuous programming, there will be a crunch in ad inventories. Owing to this, the ad rates will be much higher. Some will even opt for non-FCT (free commercial time) inventories,” the source said.
While news channels have created new ad inventories with special programming, marketers and industry experts have raised their concerns on deliverables. A marketer said now that they have charged such high ad rates, they will have to deliver as brands will be looking forward to the deliverables.
The senior media analyst also raised his concern and said, “Advertisers are very optimistic about the rating but my concern is that as the rates are really high, will the news channels be able to justify the cost? Since it is a working day, people will be consuming election-led news on digital. So from viewership standpoint, it is difficult to predict how much will it deliver. If the brands had done a full-fledged campaign around elections, including pre-election and the seven-phase coverage, then it makes sense but to pay for standalone, one-day activity is really expensive.”