News channels expect 20% revenue increase during festive-election season

Assembly elections are scheduled to take place in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram at the end of this year. News channels view the upcoming assembly polls coinciding with the festive season as a fortuitous opportunity for the news sector

Sakshi Sharma
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News channels expect 20% revenue increase during festive-election season

Ahead of the assembly elections, national news channels project a potential 20% rise in revenue with the extended festive season falling during the same period.

On top of that, the regional channels, focused on state elections, forecast even greater revenue growth.

Assembly elections are scheduled to take place in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram at the end of this year.

Gaurav Dhawan

Gaurav Dhawan, Chief Revenue Officer, Times Network, said that the convergence of elections with the festive season is expected to have a dual impact on ad spends and audience engagement as brands are expected to leverage integrated innovative solutions to drive brand visibility. “This confluence is perceived as a strategic buildup for the general elections, generating heightened interest from both viewers and advertisers, creating a dynamic environment conducive to increased engagement and advertising opportunities,” he added.

Sidharth Newatia

According to Sidharth Newatia, National Revenue Head, News18, it is a blessing in disguise for the news genre. Diwali being in mid-November makes the festive period longer this year. Moreover, five-state elections are also happening in the November – December time frame and the general elections will take place during April – May, which are also high adex months coincidentally. So the second half as well as the entry to the next fiscal is looking very buoyant.

Mona Jain

Although Mona Jain, Chief Revenue Officer, Zee Media, said, “The festive season and elections are two different propositions - hence you have a differentiated set of advertisers who strategically associate with festival content/programming and a different set who look at elections separately and some also look at both in conjunction to create a dual impact. Hence there is no cannibalisation or choosing one over the another.”

Sudipto Chowdhuri

Sudipto Chowdhuri, Chief Revenue Officer/Executive President - Sales at India TV, shared that in the year 2017, a notable upswing of 5% in the tally of advertisers was observed during the exclusive festive period, in the absence of concurrent elections. However, in the subsequent year of 2018, when the electoral and festive timelines converged, an even more pronounced elevation occurred. During the festive phase, the count of advertisers experienced a substantial surge of 12%, accentuating the synergistic impact of election and festival dynamics on advertisers' engagement strategies,” he added.

News platforms expect a rise of 20-30% in revenue during the upcoming assemble elections

Times Network’s Dhawan said that the upcoming assembly elections are expected to contribute approximately a 20% increase in monthly revenue for national news channels, while the regional channels for state elections are comparatively expected to contribute a higher revenue growth.

Striking a similar tone, Zee Media’s Jain, said, “It will be almost a three-month-long campaign- hence high on longevity. Hence, we do look at a substantial incremental revenue through all our linear and digital content play - by almost 20-30% if not more,” she added.

Newatia of News18 commented that the incrementality that any election brings to the news genre’s revenue is incomparable to anything. Elections for news are the most important revenue driver in any given year and this year will be no different.

"We are already seeing a surge in the queries over the election programming sponsorship options and it should reach a fervour pitch closer to the date," he added.

India TV’s Chowdhuri also expressed that the revenue outlook appears to be decent. “As a leading channel of this country and with the maximum number of appointment viewing programmes, highest time spent per viewer (TSPV) and most consistent channel in the entire genre, our upside would be fairly exciting,” he added.

Manoj Jagyasi

Striking a similar tone, Manoj Jagyasi, Chief Business Officer, Bharat24 and First India News said that this is a great opportunity to maximise revenue across platforms and elections and attract a good number of advertisers from across India.

"In previous instances, we have observed a notable increase of around 30-40% in the number of advertisers. Optimistically, we anticipate a similar trend to emerge once more, given that discussions with stakeholders regarding the upcoming elections are just beginning to gain momentum," he added.

India TV’s Chowdhuri highlighted that advertisers consistently seek opportunities during election cycles to enhance their brand visibility. This trend was notably observed during previous elections in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana.

“Hindi news channels emerged as a preferred platform for advertisers during these elections, showcasing a substantial surge in their confidence. Notably, there was a noteworthy uptick of 46% in the number of advertisers engaging in promotional activities during the election timeframe. This increase is further underscored by the expansion of the client base from 386 entities before the election phase to 562 entities during the previous election phase,” he added.

Rupali Fernandes

Rupali Fernandes, Chief Revenue Officer at ABP Network emphasised that this election season, the main interest level is ‘Who This Time”. With the upcoming elections people are again anticipating a significant change and this political suspense is creating high involvement levels where we see people talking about the various debate shows, special shows that news channels are hosting.

"The anticipation of high involvement levels in upcoming elections along with high viewership growth across platforms will lead to better benefits to advertisers giving them better ROIs. The above will certainly lead to high ad rates in the news genre resulting in growth in the overall adex," Fernandes added.

Brands across all categories to advertise on news platforms during the election+festive period

News18’s Newatia believes that there is no particular advertising category that refrains from elections. Advertisers are always looking for eyeballs and avenues to reach their target audience.

“During election periods, the viewership of news channels go up and as a result, advertiser interest also grows. So, we see interest from a plethora of advertisers across categories,” he added.

Echoing the same sentiment, Zee Media’s Jain highlighted that there are a number of brands who historically associate with election campaigns over the years on news networks. Many brands use it interestingly and seamlessly and integrate their brand proposition or messaging through the process of elections to the viewers and create a position for themselves that emotionally and functionally engages with their consumers.

“We also have a lot of new advertisers looking at election content on our flagship channel Zee News alongside all our local state channels to maximise their brand reach in an environment that will have a highly actively engaged viewer which will create higher comprehension of their campaigns and brands. This will be through a combination of commercial time, non-FCT, conclaves on the ground and leveraging our marketing formats,” she added.

Resonating on a similar level, Times Network’s Dhawan said that they are also witnessing interest from a diverse category of brands such as automobiles, construction materials including paints, cement and home fittings, consumer durables, FMCG and handsets. Additionally, there is significant spending from state government and political parties on election advertising campaigns.

Impact of market uncertainities

Chowdhuri believes that India TV would benefit more because when there are uncertainties, major brands look to parking their monies with stable, credible and consistent channels, so that irrespective of market conditions, the deliveries should not be affected. Consistency and credibility are our key factors, apart from the fact that we have an impeccable lineup on our programming front. I am more than confident that we will sail through with abundance, not shortfalls.”

Jain said, “For advertising brands - Elections are definitely not compromised due to uncertainties. In fact, these circumstances and dynamics make the content more compelling and viewable - it only garners greater interest. I believe they will spend more.”

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