Indian elections boost media companies

20 March 2009

NEW DELHI: A number of Indian media companies have seen their share prices rise in anticipation of the county's national elections in April and May, as print and TV are both expected to see a spike in revenues from political adspend of around 6 billion rupees ($116.9m; €85.3m; £80.2m).

While India's ad market has enjoyed double-digit growth over the last few years, this is expected to slow to 5% this year.

However, Citi Investment Research predicts the competing parties in the election could spend between 6 billion and 8 billion rupees, almost double their total expenditure from the previous such contest.

Print media is forecast to receive between 50% and 60% of political adspend, while broadcasters are likely to take a share of around 20%.

Zee News, the broadcaster, saw its stock price increase by 5.1% earlier this week, after a decline of up to 32% over the year to March 17 as a result of investors' concerns about the advertising industry.

The TV Today Network's share value also rose by 1.7%, and its ceo, G. Krishnan, predicted there "is bound to be a fillip in terms of additional revenues" as a result of the elections.

Newspaper company Jagran Prakashan also posted an improvement of 4.4%, while HT Media, owner of the Hindustan Times, saw a lift of 3.4%, and IBN18 Broadcast was also up by 6.1%.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and KPMG predicts advertising will contribute 62% of print revenues this year, a figure falling to 34% for broadcasters.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff