MUMBAI: Anecdotal evidence suggests that India's news broadcasters are experiencing a significant uplift in ad revenues, beyond a predicted 20%-25%, during the current parliamentary elections as viewers tune in to keep abreast of events.

Ritu Dhawan, MD & CEO, India TV, told exchange4media that interest in news had soared and additional revenues were being realised. "Talking of absolute numbers alone, the current elections are proving to be healthier than the previous elections," she said.

Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News, reported that ad revenues were up 100% year on year thanks to the Lok Sabha elections.

He was not concerned at the possibility that digital might take a greater share. "When the number of platforms increase, the clients' overall budget doesn't go down, rather it goes up as they want to catch more sets of audiences," he said.

At Zee News the increase had been less dramatic, at 30% to 35%, but still more than had been anticipated. "The political advertising as well as brand associations have worked in our favour," said CEO Alok Agrawal. "Viewership of the channels has also grown during the election period and marketers have also tried to catch different target audience."

But he was more gloomy than Pandey when it came to digital. Ad revenues might be slightly better than previous Lok Sabha elections, he said, "but we can't ignore the fact that overall spends have shifted to OOH and digital".

Others were also optimistic, if less ready with actual figures. Vikram Chandra, Group CEO, NDTV reported a lot of interest in news channels and said that viewership was "much more than what has been shown".

Ajay Chacko, Group COO, Network18, reeled off a list of sponsors who had come on board for the election period and said "the response from advertisers has been tremendous".

Warc earlier noted that brands had been looking for ways to leverage these elections, from lending their name to an encouragement to vote to making voting day a holiday for their employees.

Data sourced from exchange4media; additional content by Warc staff