Indian Railways appoints EY to scout its advertising potential

The Indian Railways’ move comes within a fortnight of the Union rail budget proposing to raise non-fare earnings


In the case of railway assets, advertisers will be reassured as eyeballs, quantity of time spent and segmentation of viewers is highly quantifiable. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
In the case of railway assets, advertisers will be reassured as eyeballs, quantity of time spent and segmentation of viewers is highly quantifiable. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

New Delhi: Indian Railways on Tuesday said it has appointed EY as a consultant to discover the advertising potential in trains and railway stations. EY will identify assets and formulate a pricing strategy for advertising across 7,000 railways stations in the country.

The move comes within a fortnight of the Union rail budget proposing to raise non-fare earnings. As per the railways’ initial estimates, the exercise is likely to fetch over Rs.5,000 crore in five years.

EY will help railways identify assets across stations for advertising and will develop a pricing strategy, Indian Railways said in a press release. The firm has commenced its exercise. This is the first time in the country that a large-scale project to identify and leverage pan-India advertising opportunities has been initiated.

A unique aspect of the exercise will be a neutral assessment on the return of investments for advertisers. Advertisers struggle with the measurability of traditional media. In the case of railway assets, they will be reassured as eyeballs, quantity of time spent and segmentation of viewers is highly quantifiable as the railways maintains data on ticketing and station footfall.

Another important aspect will be the creation of packages that meet specific demographic and geographic needs. Further, the advertising contracts need to be modified to allow ease of business to advertisers and increase transparency and accountability.

Farokh Balsara, partner and national leader, media and entertainment, EY India, said, “There has never been a nation-wide assessment of advertising potential of assets at such a large scale. We are excited and proud to be associated with Indian Railways on a project that will generate advertising revenues and in turn help to expand and improve services for commuters. This aligns with EY’s purpose of building a better working world.”