MUMBAI: Among a sea of news channels gearing up for the impending elections is one that aims to gauge the mood of the electorate and help form political opinion rather than simply airing election news and analyses.
We’re talking of the Hindi news channel, ABP News, which has not only come up with a slew of shows ahead of the polls but has also undertaken a massive marketing campaign to promote these programmes called “Aap Apni Rajneetik Rai Kahan Banate Hain?” (Where do you form your political opinion?)
Significantly, the campaign tries to get viewers to switch to ABP News to form the ‘correct political opinion’ by telling them, “Sahi Rajneetik Rai Banane Ke Liye Dekhiye Sirf ABP News” (To make a correct political opinion watch ABP News).
Promos have been running since 2 April on major crowd-pulling channels such as Star Plus, Colors, Sony Entertainment Television, Life OK, Sony Max, Star Gold, Movies OK, &Pictures and UTV Action during both primetime and non primetime.
The outdoor campaign encompassing bus stands, collectors’ offices, toll booths and city entry points has just begun and is focussed on Delhi and 75 cities in Uttar Pradesh (UP) including Lucknow, Allahabad, Dehradun, Varanasi and Meerut among others. UP is the focus of the campaign because in the Hindi heartland, people discuss politics even at the local chai stall. The creative for the outdoor focuses on the youth but is targeted at all age groups.
The radio campaign has a similar regional focus with spots on Radio City, Fever, Red FM, Oye, Big FM and Radio Mantra while the digital campaign is focussed on high-traffic websites. On-ground activities are expected in the coming weeks. The entire campaign will go on for a month till 2 May. Sources peg the cost of the campaign at nearly Rs 8 to Rs 10 crore. Lowe Lintas is the creative agency behind the campaign, Mindshare is the media agency and Milestone is the OOH agency.
According to MCCS marketing manager Vikas Singh, “The news genre viewership expands during election. Usually it is six per cent of the universe, and we expect it to grow to nine to ten per cent this time. Politics is a national pastime and everyone has a point of view. Our campaign urges them to watch ABP News to make the right choice.”
Coming to the shows themselves, the launch of ABP News’ flagship show Pradhanmantri last year was a sort of build-up to the election this year. The other show that concluded just recently was 7 RCR, which discussed the election outcome.
Pradhanmatri was anchored by Shekhar Kapoor while 7 RCR was hosted by author Chetan Bhagat.
Another show, Ghoshnapatra, anchored by Kishore Ajwani, has top political leaders grilled by a panel of experts and guests about their future plans, if elected to power.
Other shows launched not very long ago include Newsroom Mein Netaji, Ground Zero Se Dibang presented by Dibang and the ABP-Nielsen poll which is conducted on a regular basis to gauge the mood of the electorate.
ABP group editor, Shazi Zaman, says, “Our effort is to introduce formats that help us communicate in an effective and meaningful manner.” In addition, over a hundred neighbourhood debates called ‘nukkar bahas’ have captured the mood of the electorate at the people’s doorstep. Also, ABP News’ primetime show, ABP Live, at 9 pm, now consists of election debates.
“Our effort is to capture the inclination of the electorate through on-ground and studio debates, digital interactivity and large-scale opinion polls. Complementing this is our effort to report and analyse the views and strategy of parties and leaders across the political spectrum,” says Zaman. Abhisar Sharma anchors ground debates and special shows while Sumeirra Khan and Neha Pant anchor debate shows.
ABP News is betting big on election viewership, putting aside a considerable chunk of its annual marketing plan for promotion. The scale of the marketing plan is one of the biggest in the news genre. At the same time, the channel has come out with a good number of shows to engage viewers during the most crucial battle of the eyeballs that happens once in five years.