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Why the Upcoming Lok Sabha Polls Will Be the Most Expensive So Far

While the total advertising spends this year is expected to be Rs 5,000 crore, the actual unreported figure is likely to be almost Rs 30,000 crores.

The upcoming Lok Sabha polls are expected to be the most expensive in 2019. Ankita Rai in Financial Express reported that while the total advertising spends on general elections this year is expected to be Rs 5,000 crore, the actual unreported figure is likely to be almost Rs 30,000 crores. This would include the cost of OOH (out-of-home) and on-ground activities.

Bindu Balakrishnan, country head, India, DCMN, a full stack marketing company told Financial Express, “Rs 5,000 crore is the transparent figure reported by political parties to the Election Commission. But if we include the cost of rallies, transportation, handouts, etc., the real number will be closer to Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000 crore.”

In the 2009 general elections, said Balakrishnan, according to numbers submitted to the Election Commission, the BJP and the Congress together spent around Rs 790 crore. In 2014, BJP alone spent around Rs 715 crore on the elections, with the Congress spending around Rs 500 crore. The report added that 50 per cent of these amounts were spent on advertising.

Given the increase in 2014 from 2009, it is highly likely that expenditure in 2019 would outdo that of 2014 LS elections. Reportedly, if one looks at party-wise spends the ruling BJP alone is expected to pay around Rs 2,000 crore this election. Of this, close to a thousand crore is expected to be spent on “build-up” campaigns like the “Namumkin Ab Mumkin” campaign. The remaining about Rs 1,000 crore would be spent on political advertising.

Mogae Media chairman Sandeep Goyal told Financial Express, “As the campaign continues, BJP is likely to spend Rs 1,000 crore on political advertising both at the mass and constituency levels.” This, the report adds, is in addition to Rs 1,000 crore the party is spending on buildup campaigns.

Goyal added that the Congress, second in the lead, might spend close to Rs 200-250 crore; the Trinamool Congress is likely to be another significant spender and may spend close to Rs 100 crore. The key U.P. players — the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party — are expected to spend Rs 50-100 crore each. Shiv Sena and Telugu Desam Party, may spend Rs 30-40 crore each on mass media, he told Financial Express.

The report adds that the bar of expenditure was already set higher after the recent state elections. Additionally, television media would reportedly be the most popular among national parties, followed by print. However, the regional parties, the report adds, are likely to target print as their primary medium, with television being a second preference. Digital advertising, too, is reportedly expected to grow immensely across all national and regional parties, and so are OOH and on-ground activation in the form of street plays, etc.

Also read: After Multiple BJP Ads and Posters Featuring Armed Forces, EC Slams ‘All Parties’

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