I&B ministry’s ad budget likely to rise by 20% in FY19 as polls loom
New Delhi : With eight states going to polls in 2018 and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gearing up for the 2019 general election, the advertising budget of the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) is likely to go up by 20% in 2018-19.
The I&B ministry is expected to allocate close to Rs220 crore to directorate of advertising and visual publicity (DAVP) in its 2018-19 budget, up from Rs180 crore in 2017-18, said a senior ministry official, who did not want to be identified.
DAVP is the nodal agency of the central government for advertising on behalf of various ministries, departments, public sector firms and autonomous organizations funded by the government.
Every union ministry/ department allocates a stipulated amount from its annual budget (routed through DAVP) for advertisements highlighting their respective achievements and schemes. The I&B ministry’s allocation for DAVP is primarily to highlight the overall government achievements and not just that of the ministry.
In total, DAVP has spent close to Rs3,473 crore in three years (that ended 31 March 2017) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government on advertising and publicity across print, television, radio and digital mediums. For 2016-17, DAVP’s advertising expenditure stood at Rs1,285.77 crore.
“There is expected to be an increase in the money that goes to DAVP from I&B ministry to around Rs220 crore, given that 2018 will be dominated by assembly elections and general elections are on the horizon as well. The overall budget of DAVP, which is estimated at Rs1,350 crore this year, is also expected to increase as other ministries will (expectedly) advertise more,” said the official cited above.
“The DAVP allocation may be revised to Rs250 crore towards the end of the year, given the importance of these two years,” the person added.
An I&B ministry spokesperson declined comment.
Assembly polls in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in 2018 are expected to set the stage for the 2019 general elections.
Given the stiff competition BJP faced during Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh state assembly elections in December, media buyers expect heavy advertising from the government.
“By virtue of elections, the advertising will increase. Additionally, 2019 is a big year, the preparations for which will start in 2018 only. This is the right time for the government to advertise,” said Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer of Havas Media Group, India and South Asia.
Nayyar added that television will also see increased advertising in 2018, compared to 2017 as the government is expected to take a decision on the advertising rates for television soon. “There was hardly any advertising on television last year as the government hadn’t reached a conclusion on the advertising rate structure for TV channels,” she added.
A former I&B ministry official who did not want to be named agreed that a hike in ad budget is expected on the back of elections: “With the election in mind, government’s focus on advertising increases. Media strategy is tightened during election time. This government has more emphasis on social media as youth is present on these platforms. Secondly, radio plays a great role in reaching out to rural people,” the official said.