Lok Sabha election 2019 results: Top news broadcasters rake in the moolah with ad breaks

Updated: May 16, 2019 7:57:42 AM

Traditionally, counting day programming airs with limited ad breaks and some channels run editorial content continuously for four-six hours.

Lok Sabha election 2019 result will be declared on May 23, 2019. (Representational photo)Lok Sabha election 2019 result will be declared on May 23, 2019. (Representational photo)

By Venkata Susmita Biswas

A week from now, the entire nation will be glued to news channels for all the latest updates on which party will form the next government, giving broadcasters their ‘once in five years’ opportunity to rake in the big advertising money.

Traditionally, counting day programming airs with limited ad breaks and some channels run editorial content continuously for four-six hours. Owing to this inventory crunch, advertiser interest in buying non-FCT (free commercial time) inventory, such as on-screen tickers and bands, has risen considerably this time.

This entails a cost of `1 lakh for 10 seconds, typically, as per broadcasters.

“We recommend such properties to advertisers who are looking for branding,” says Sujata Dwibedy, EVP, head of buying and trading, Amplifi India — the media investment division of Dentsu Aegis Network.

According to media buyers, advertising slots on leading English television news channels for the 2019 general elections counting day are being sold at `1.2-1.5 lakh per 10-seconds, with some leading channels going as high as `2 lakh. The rest of the channels are selling slots at `50,000-90,000, which is seven-eight times the prime-time ad rate. English news channels have a weekly reach of around 2.5-6 lakh impressions.

It’s no surprise that regional and Hindi news channels outdo English news channels in terms of reach; therefore, they are commanding higher ad rates this election.

Industry sources confirm that leading Hindi news channels that have a weekly reach of 9-10 crore impressions are selling a 10-second slot at `2.5 crore. “Due to the implementation of the Trai new tariff order regime, free-to-air (FTA) Hindi news channels, in particular, are expected to see higher viewership and advertiser interest this time,” says Vikas Khanchandani, Group CEO Republic Media Network.

The total ad inventory per channel is expected to be in the range of 7,000-10,000 seconds on the day of counting. “As much as 30% of this will get sold closer to the day of counting. Some of these slots could be sold at close to `5 lakh for 10 seconds,” says Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP New Network.

The rates quoted by the leading channels are comparable to the typical ad rates charged by general entertainment channels. “Over the last five years, the news genre as a whole has not seen very high growth. Other than the leading channels which are claiming very high rates, the rates on other channels have not grown much since 2014,” says Dwibedy. During the 2014 elections period, ads were sold in the range of `50,000-1 lakh for 10 seconds.

The three days following the counting day are also of high interest to advertisers. “Ad rates for May 24-27 are thrice the usual rate,” says Pandey. Typically, ad slots on TV news channels are sold at `3,000-5,000 per 10 seconds.

Khanchandani expects the current quarter to see 40-50% growth in terms of ad revenues, over the same period last year, for news channels. “The month of May alone would see a 100% growth over May, 2018,” he adds.

News channels have already sold presenting sponsorship titles for `7-8 crore and ‘Powered By’ partnerships for `3-4 crore.

To draw a parallel, premium ads on the recently concluded Vivo IPL 2019 were sold at around `10 lakh per 10 seconds, whereas ad slots on the day of the Union Budget on English business news channels are typically sold at `20,000-25,000.

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