West Bengal assembly elections witnessed a fierce battle between the political parties. Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress to attain one of the most significant political victories against the Bharatiya Janata Party. The election period witnessed a surge in political ads, with all the political parties resorting to different platforms and strategies for their election campaigns
The West Bengal elections brought some relief to the radio industry as the medium witnessed a 3 per cent increase in ad insertions in 2021, as compared to 2016, according to the TAM AdEx- a division of TAM Media report.
As per the report, Radio emerged as the most preferred medium with 72% of the ad insertion share during the 2021 West Bengal assembly election, followed by TV and print with 27% and 1% shares, respectively. TV and print reported 60% and 47% drop in ad insertions, while radio saw an increase in ad insertions.
The industry experts believe that multiple factors have led to increased ad insertions share- radio’s personalised and localised approach, the mass appeal it garners, and high reach of the medium.
“One of the key factors is that radio boasts a high reach, and the communication message transmitted through radio is well received by the citizens. Undoubtedly, radio as a standalone medium has a higher impact due to its local connect that touches people’s hearts and influences their decision-making behaviour”, said Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City.
Kukian further added, “Research plays a very important role here, as all marketers, even political parties, would be conducting various research studies, based on which they are investing a high percentage in radio. All in all, radio’s local and strong reach and ability to influence people are key factors contributing to growth in ad insertions on the radio.”
Adding to Kukian’s statement, Rahul Namjoshi, COO, MY FM, said, ”Radio is a powerful brand-building medium. The reason for such investments in radio by political parties is because the extent of customisation in terms of content and ad-space that is possible here is pretty much unquestionable vis-à-vis other traditional media. This is the same trend that was witnessed in other state and national elections in the recent past. The ROI is undisputed.”
According to B Surendar, COO & Director, Red FM network Radio is a natural fit and deserves to be an integral part of media plans for election campaigns.
“With its mass local and regional reach, earthy appeal, high credibility and flexibility to customise ad creatives according to the geographical region or timing of the campaign, Radio has proven itself over the years as a powerful and cost-effective medium for this purpose. So , it is not at all surprising that the share of Radio, both in terms of ad volumes and spends, went up sharply across states, particularly in the recent high stake elections in West Bengal,” he added.
In non-metros, Radio offers a wide range of content in local dialects, observes Namjoshi
“Language plays an important role in any political campaign. In India, where there is a huge literacy barrier, even when it comes to the local language, an audio message which is understandable and relatable creates the right impact as compared to a visual or a print message. Moreover, political parties can easily address multiple issues in a single campaign using radio, thus increasing the ROI,” he added.
According to Nandan Srinath, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Network India Ltd. (holding company of Radio Mirchi), Radio getting a lion share of political advertisements is not surprising.
“Radio is a very powerful medium. The pandemic period has witnessed a significant growth in Radio usage and time spent. During the lockdown period in 2020, Radio consumption was 131 million person-hours daily. So, Radio getting a lion share of political advertisements is not a surprise. It has been a powerful medium during the assembly elections in other states as well. It provides better reach among the people with a more effective price. Elections being audio specific, Radio as a medium encapsulates the messages of politicians on 30-40 seconds ads,” he added.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) topped radio advertisements as the political party accounted for 54% of the total ad insertions on the radio. Trinamool Congress was the top advertiser in the 2016 assembly elections on radio medium.