MUMBAI: With the conclusion of an unremarkable 15th Lok Sabha, the lead-up to the general elections has well and truly begun.
And not just Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind ‘Aam Aadmi’ Kejriwal but also their media and publicity machinery and news television channels are part of this unfolding political drama.
With political parties estimated to spend nearly Rs 300 crore on advertisements on television and an additional Rs 400 crore to be pumped in by various brands, according to sources, news channels, especially the Hindi ones, stand to gain a fat load of moolah from election programming.
Indiantelevision.com kicks-off its special weekly series exploring what news channels have in store for 2014 elections, starting with TV18’s English and Hindi channels CNN-IBN and IBN7, respectively.
The network - which recently acquired ETV channels including ETV Uttar Pradesh, ETV Madhya Pradesh, ETV Rajasthan, ETV Bihar and ETV Urdu - is looking to dominate election programming through its national and regional channels.
“Language capabilities play an important role during election time. Our synergy is the widest and now with ETV on board as well, we believe we have an edge,” says CNN-IBN and IBN7 managing editor Vinay Tewari.
“Our programming line-up will also be extensive and will run over several months in order to do full justice to the scale of the upcoming elections. As a network, we take great pride in the quality and depth of our coverage on elections and thus are investing a lot of time and effort in ensuring that our coverage is unmatched. There is always a huge interest in elections, this year, it’s possibly the highest.”
Indeed, shows such as Open Mike and Vinod Dua ka Prashnakaal have already begun showcasing public views and opinions.
Led by editor in chief Rajdeep Sardesai along with Karan Thapar, Vinod Dua, Sanjay Pugalia, Sagarika Ghose, Bhupendra Chaubey, Sandeep Chaudhary, Suhasini Haider and Anubha Bhonsle, the channels will look at broad trends, analyse the importance of regions going to polls and engage in extensive discussions with key experts and political commentators such as Dr. Ramachandra Guha, Swapan Das Gupta, Surjit Bhalla, Kumar Ketkar, Dr. Sanjay Baru, Manini Chatterjee and Prof. Dipankar Gupta.
The key shows include A Billion Votes / Mera Vote Meri Sarkar – 7 RCR Ki Race (Counting day Specials), The Election Tracker / Agar Abhi Chunav Ho Toh, India Decides / Vote India Vote, Kings & Queens, Campaign Trail, Follow the Leader, Chaupal, Election Gyaan with Ram (with noted historian Ramachandra Guha), MP ka Report Card etc.
It is learnt that from the last day of polling till the formation of the government, 100 hours of non-stop programming has been planned. This will only help the network achieve the aimed viewership.
Promotion of these shows will be amplified through a 360 degree campaign that will target key markets including metros and Hindi speaking markets. Print, outdoor, radio and digital will be the focus points.
The creative for the campaign for CNN-IBN and IBN7 is being handled by Everest Brand Solutions. On the digital front, channels will interact with viewers through social media as well as upload content that will be edited due to restrictive on air timing.
Going by TAM data during the last general elections, CNN-IBN was the number one channel (Source: TAM, TG: CS 15+, All India; Period: Wk 16-20 ’09, 16th April, 23rd April, 30th April, 7th May, 13th May & 16th May, 06-2400 hrs) on all polling and counting days whereas IBN7 was amongst the top 3 channels (Source: TAM, Markets: HSM; Period: Wk 20 ’09 (16th May ’09); Time 0600-2400 hrs).
With such a comprehensive strategy, this time round too, the network may stand to be the winner...