The upcoming Assembly elections in five states will not only help the print industry regain its ground, which suffered a tremendous blow in terms of ad revenue due to the pandemic, but will also help it witness greater prominence despite the growth of other mediums. People in the rural areas of the country still trust print media as far as political advertisement is concerned.
The advertising budget of BJP is estimated to be around 725-800 crores, out of which close to 35%-40% is allocated towards the print medium. Likewise, Samajwadi Party is expected to spend Rs 225-270 crores, out of which 35% is going to print. Furthermore, BSP is expected to spend Rs 100-125 crores and Congress Rs 150 crore. This is just a glimpse of the amount the well-known parties are willing to spend for the upcoming Assembly elections in five states.
Industry experts told BestMediaInfo that the print media players will charge at least 20-45% premium from these parties. Also, the ad rates on premium inventories will be three times the current rates.
All political parties, as well as state governments, have started using digital extensively. However, Indranil Roy, CEO of Outlook Group, said that even with the increase in digital, TV still holds objective and print becomes much more localised, especially for the UP elections, whose results are likely to have a huge nationwide impact.
One of the leading dailies shared that political parties mostly spend money on print media for having an impact and building a perception amongst the public. While election advertising is definitely an additional revenue for publishers, the spokesperson of the leading daily, under conditions of anonymity, said the ad rates will witness a 20% increase both through direct deals or through agencies.
He said that parties have certainly moved towards digital more which has led to fewer print full page jackets. However, he added, “Digital has grown but hasn't eaten into print share.”
UP has the highest number of Assembly seats in the country, which means that elections in the state will also proportionally attract a substantial amount of money as well.
Ramsai Panchapakesan, Senior Vice President and National Lead – Integrated Media Buying, Zenith, said, “BJP, since it is already in power, has all the more reason to make it big. Around 40-45% of their overall ad spends (725-800 crores) will get spent in UP alone.”
While TV channels claim to be charging 3x- 5x of their current ad rates, he said that print will charge a premium of 34-45%.
“In terms of ad rates, both TV and print have their merits and demerits in terms of accommodating inventories. TV can only run certain minutes, whereas in print publishers have got the advantage of adding up more pages. Hence the viability of accommodating more money is in the favourable side for print medium. The pressure on rates doesn’t seem to be very high because here the demand and supply are in adverse proportion and in TV it always mounts. Taking this as a pricing determination factor, print will command a higher rate for sure compared to regular rates. There will be a little bit of premium which is not going to be too much. In terms of range, it will be around 35-45% of premium. They are going to sell premium inventories. They will have to keep their front-page rates as high as possible to capitalise on the demand. Premium inventories will definitely sell at 3x-4x of their current rate. Inside pages will be normalised which will be to the tune of 25-30%,” Panchapakesan said.
When asked if the share of print will witness any sort of decline on the back of the growth of digital, Panchapakesan said, “When base grows, absolute volume grows. The absolute volume for print will definitely grow, because it is one of the primary mediums for them. Traditionally, it has been existing for more than 100 hundred years, hence ad spends for print will actually grow compared to the last UP poll. There’s another 700 crores that will come just for print from the elections.”