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Election tracker: Cricket over News

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The upcoming election is not just being fought on the ground; political parties have laid siege to airwaves as well.

So much so, followers of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup will vouch for the fact that ‘commercial breaks’ are beginning to resemble the battle cry of the main contenders as they unleash newer segments of their respective campaigns on unsuspecting viewers.

Not without reason for in a country where cricket is religion, the ‘clever’ agencies behind these rival campaigns are only putting their money where their mouth is.

And so we have the Congress continuing to showcase all the good work done in the past decade, with the common man always at the centre, even in the new TVCs. While BJP changes its hitherto serious tone and takes a dig at the Congress in a rather comical way. Whether the saffron party has diluted the message it wants to send out is something the audience may continue to debate but one way or the other, cricket comes across as a critical component of the election strategy.

Speaking of reach, daily soaps on general entertainment channels are watched by a majority of women in the country. With women forming 49 per cent of the voting population, the main players in this election can least afford to ignore this format. Neither can they shrug off the growing importance of digital platforms; especially in an election year when there will be close to 12 crore first-time voters, most of them always online. Hence, political outfits, even the likes of CPI (M), are pulling out all stops to woo the youth in the virtual world to get them to cast their vote in the real world.  

Surprisingly however, news channels are still untouched by the flurry of political advertisements. In case you’re wondering why, news channels don’t enjoy the kind of reach that other television channels, say GECs, do. Then again, eyeballs will flow to news channels closer to the election dates for news and analyses. Maybe, that’s when the ad blitzkrieg will hit these channels as well...

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