How OOH industry will benefit from the upcoming election season

A survey suggests that parties are planning to spend more than Rs 400 crore on the OOH domain ahead of the elections as compared to 2019 despite the raging trend of digital media

Agencies have double the average rates for political ads.
Agencies have double the average rates for political ads.

By Sahil Chopra

Elections, a highly anticipated time for India as leaders come to power, some parties rise, some fall and people lie bare witnesses to how the nation is shaped again.

It also happens to be a time when OOH platforms earn big bucks, from political rallies to visits, everything is on display up and front. Politics play a huge role in this democratic nation that holds the potential to surpass big media markets across the globe owing to the increase in user engagement.

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising popularly known as outdoor advertising, outdoor media, and out-of-home media is an essential powerful weapon for political parties. It is one such medium that provides larger than life spaces to them and put their vision easily on display and help them penetrate through the masses. Making it one of the most lucrative times for the OOH industry.

A survey suggests that parties are planning to spend more than Rs 400 crore on the OOH domain ahead of the elections as compared to 2019 despite the raging trend of digital media.

Outdoor advertising has its own nuances which are great offerings for parties that are into guerrilla marketing in the most ‘in-your face’ way possible. OOH, platforms offer a wide physical geographical reach that neither be switched off, skipped or blocked by the user as opposed to digital media. And with our simple-minded mentality of responding more to the physical aspect of things, we often trust physical presence more.

OOH holds an unscalable power to it, it not only features parties and their achievements, but it also shows the power of each party and their efforts and hunger to be seen by their voters. It’s a battle to the top, both for power and voter reach. Political spending on outdoor media always helps parties and with TRAI regulations that were once modified during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections consumers have options to choose the channels of their choice. This led to double spending on OOH by parties as one of the only reliable and yielding mediums for them.

As for the advertising agencies, they are not only bringing the new age of OOH to the forefront but also customizing it for parties as per their TG. It is assessed to be a lot bigger and better this time. The use of different formats of OOH medium is not restricted and agencies are leveraging this in innovative ways without losing relevancy for their users. Incorporating lifestyle trends and AI technology to target voters where it is required be it a village or a metropolitan city. In terms of investment, parties usually battle out spots for maximum SOV to increase their overall visibility. Election campaigns even in the past helped maintain a good SOV, at a good value.

As the assembly elections for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab near, the outdoor advertising industry is all geared up hoping for at least a 25% hike in spendings as compared to the last polling season.

Agencies have double the average rates for political ads. Especially for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election as it precedes one of the most important Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The demands will be soaring high with seemingly high premium charges.

Covid-19 impacted everyone, even the OOH industry as lockdown sealed us in our homes and displays were seen by no one leading to an overall reduction of 50%. The size of the OOH industry is in the range of approx Rs 3000 crore-Rs 3500 crore that is 5% of India’s total adex.

However, some advertisers believe that elections are not a good time for hoarding owners as firms have a bad history with parties, like in the case of 2014 elections wherein several hoarding owners in both Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh never got paid from and there was a huge cry from regional parties forcing firms to cost-cutting leading to losses.

Another challenge is with the authority’s allocation of permissions pertaining to media. Also, the rising profitability and reach of digital media have affected OOH’s share in the world of advertising. But we can anticipate a 30-40% share of spending on OOH this time.

This year, elections are undoubtedly the perfect time for media owners to recover their expenses and past losses from previous years. The political spending will be even better this time as compared to the previous elections as people are not so apprehensive about Covid-19 anymore and are stepping out of their houses giving OOH platforms the coverage it needs.

The author is founder and CEO of iCubesWire. Views expressed are personal.

Read Also: How OTT marketing has proved to be advantageous for marketers

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