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News channels set to make a killing on Delhi election counting day as ad rates soar

It's going to be a high-stakes game on Tuesday not just for political parties but also for news channels that are charging a premium as high as 200%-300% on average ad spot rates

After two very uneventful quarters, news channels are likely to have a mega day on Tuesday—counting day for the Delhi assembly polls.

Leaders in India's news broadcasting industry and top advertisers say news channels are charging a premium as high as 200-300% on February 11.

A CEO of a top news broadcasting company that operates channels in both the Hindi and English genres said the ad spot rate for leading channels on Tuesday is likely to hover around Rs 75,000.

"Channels are charging around 100% premium. Some are charging 200 to 300% premium. If on a regular day the rate is Rs 5,000 per 10 seconds, on counting day the rate will go up to Rs 40 to 50,000. News channels make special shows around these days and offer brands bunch of packages and deals and charge around Rs10 to 15 lakh from a brand. Even spot buys around such days soar around Rs 5 to 10 lakh,” said Krishnarao Buddha, Sr. Category Head, Parle Products.

Mansoor Ali, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Hamdard India, said, counting day is the final phase of an election and the last opportunity for brands to leverage. "Elections have always been the most interesting times where consumption on TV rises, especially on result day. Advertising for brands becomes utterly imperative and as marketers we understand consumers would be glued to their televisions during this time. With the rates news channels provide, brands thoroughly analyse the time slots and strategically try to gauge the perfect spot of their target audience," he said.

It isn't just about result day. On Election Day also, the channels had special sponsorship packages for brands. The election campaign had heated up after protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens erupted all over Delhi.

"The channels offer packages of Rs 10-15 lakh from brands around such days. From an advertiser’s perspective, brands want to leverage upon every chance. Products that are targeted at adults offer a big opportunity. The buzz around these elections is definitely high. We were approached by many channels like India Today group, Aaj Tak, Star network and Zee network," Buddha said.

"Advertisers wish to leverage on important days that garner high TRPs," he added.

According to Ali of Hamdard India, the entire timeline of the elections is divided into three major phases — the build-up, polling, and the counting phase. "For brands, counting day is like the last phase to nail the deal. They might invest less in the first two phases and go all out on counting day," he said.

A spokesperson from a leading news broadcaster who did not wish to be named said that despite the market being in a slow growth or no growth phase, English news channels are charging between Rs 45,000 and Rs 70,000 per 10 seconds.

"The market is not buzzing with sponsors; it’s not as exciting as previous state elections. But the channels are still commanding a solid price on the counting day," said the broadcaster's spokesperson.

During the general election counting day in May last year, the ad rates of Hindi news channels went as high as Rs 3 lakh. For English, they were between Rs 75,000 and Rs 1.25 lakh.

Sudhir Kumar, Director, Offline Media, DCMN, said news channels are charging 100% premium for the Delhi election counting day.

“This is a big news event, every news channel is trying to maximise its revenue. News channels are charging almost 100% premium for ads compared to a normal day. The packages go around Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore. Sponsors of shows that day leverage a lot. Since it’s a one-day event, brands agree to the pricing,” he said.

Hamdard's Ali said the return of such high ad prices could only be delivered optimally when brands know that their creatives are very robust. "Brands should ensure that the messaging and the creatives being delivered leave a mark on the audience and motivate them to interact with the brand even more," he said.

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