Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Aug 28, 2004
Marketing - Advertising
Western Rly Mumbai clocks 68 pc rise in ad revenue
Nirmal D. Menon
Mumbai , Aug. 27
ADVERTISING revenue of Western Railway in Mumbai, which extends from Churchgate to Surat, rose by 68 per cent to Rs 14 crore for 2003-04 against Rs 8 crore in the previous year.
According to sources in Western Railway Mumbai division, Churchgate station alone garnered around Rs 2 crore of advertising revenue, and continues to be the highest single grosser for Indian Railways.
This hike in revenues, however, has not really encouraged media buyers to give Railway advertising a serious thought as most believe that Indian Railways has no long-term interest in upgrading the medium. As a result, it draws small advertisers.
In a reply to Business Line, Mr Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison Communications, said: "The presentation and maintenance (ads in Railways) is sub-standard, which attracts generally a lower class of brands, which in turn contributes to a poorer image. So, it's a self-defeating cycle, which pushes both quality and image down."
Though trains do not draw major brands, Mr Shailendra Kumar, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Western Railway, said that railway stations are host to branding initiatives from sectors as diverse as telecom, soft drinks, financial institutions and entertainment channels.
"Many brands like Reliance, BPL, Pepsi and major financial institutions like IDBI, SBI, Kotak Mahindra, LIC and major entertainment channels like Zee, Sahara, Star and Sony regularly advertise in the Railways," he said.
Western Railway is also planning to unfold novel concepts to augment advertising revenue, which would include music relay in coaches, clocks with advertisements and floor graphics media.
In order to attract big players, Western Railway will soon club smaller stations to sell advertising rights besides selling rights of entire stations.
This will also generate revenue from stations, which has less demand for advertising, Mr Kumar said.
They also plan to standardise glow signs and boards to give an aesthetic look and extract higher value.
Western Railway is also examining the technical specification of ARMD Media Entertainment's proposal to relay music, passenger information and advertisement in EMU rakes plying through western suburbs of Mumbai, Mr Kumar added.
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