As the second wave of Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc, state governments along with the centre took to advertising to promote awareness among people. The top five state governments besides the centre spent between Rs 160-165 crore Covid-19 ads across mainstream media including TV, print and radio during March 2020 – June 2021, reveals data from MAP India. “The idea was to reach as many citizens as possible and spread awareness about the virus and the precautions people need to take. Hence, the usage of mass media by the government was very high. After a point, the scope of advertisements expanded beyond simply corona awareness to cover vaccination, plasma donation, Aarogya Setu usage, among others,” LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, told BrandWagon Online.
According to audience measurement firm, TAM Media Research, between March 2020 to June 2021, Covid-19 related messages on television accounted for 42% of total ad insertions under the social ads by government category. In this, the Narendra Modi led Central Government had the highest share of ad volumes, followed by the Delhi Government. Television as a medium clocked anywhere between Rs 98-100 crore between Mar’20-June’21 from the top state governments besides the central government.
Even as the centre clocked high ad volumes, it was the Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi Government that seemed to have spent more money. The Delhi Government spent anywhere between Rs 73-75 crore in television advertising followed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani led Gujarat Government at Rs 8-9 crore. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh Government also spent Rs 7-8 crore for corona led campaigns on TV. The central government which includes the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Public Welfare Departments, among others spent Rs 4-5 crore. While TV clocked the maximum ads in terms of both volume and value, hot on the heels was radio which recorded advertising revenue worth Rs 50 – 60 crore. Meanwhile, governments spent in the range of Rs 9-10 crore on print.
As per industry estimates, the cost of a 10-second ad spot on English news channels ranges anywhere between Rs 1,500 – 2,000, during prime time 8 pm – 10 pm. While the cost of a 10 second ad spot on Hindi news is slightly higher between Rs 4,000 – 4,500 and regional news channels charge Rs 2,000 – 2,500. The ad rates increased dramatically during the election period with Hindi news channels such as Aaj Tak touching Rs 1 lakh for a ten second ad. As for print, a jacket ad on English newspapers such as Times of India and Hindustan Times commands Rs 90 lakh – 1 crore while the ad rates on regional newspapers vary from state to state, averaging between Rs 80,000- 90,000. However, regional newspapers in UP such as Dainik Jagran, commanded a high ad rate ranging from Rs 35-40 lakh. Advertisements from political parties and governments are always charged a premium rate than normal. It is to be noted that state governments as well as the centre have received a 50% discount for running covid-related ads.
Meanwhile, the overall advertising expenditure by top five state governments and centre stood at Rs 900 – 1,200 crore across television, print and radio platforms during March 2020 – June 2021. Of this, Covid-19 ads accounts for 12-15% of the ad spend. As per industry analysts, the AdEx recovered swiftly because of the assembly elections. “Due to the constant covid updates, the viewership of the news genre went up significantly, unfortunately, the genre could not capitalise fully on the viewership due to lockdown. However, during the assembly elections, news genre were not only able to maintain the viewership growth attained during the lockdown but were also able to touch 30- 45% growth in revenue, averaging at 8-10%,” Ramsai Panchapakesan, SVP and national head, media buying, Zenith India.