Advertisements from political parties is a major source of revenue for most media companies in an election year. The 2019 Lok Sabha election was no different. However, unlike previous years, when television channels and print were the biggest gainers, in the 2019 elections, radio was the biggest gainer. Ad insertions by political parties, according to a report by AdEx India (a division of TAM Media Research), grew by 8 per cent on TV and by 17 per cent on the radio (in value terms TV is far higher than radio), while advertising in print reduced by 20 per cent.
While the national political parties have always generously spent on advertising in an election year, the 2019 general elections also saw the regional parties loosening their purse strings. The AdEx India report shows an increase in ad spends across media platforms by the regional parties. Shiromani Akali Dal, for instance, increased the duration of its TV ads from 0.2 per cent in 2014 to 11 per cent this year. Similarly, Telugu Desam's TV ad duration went up from 2 per cent (in 2014) to 11 per cent this year, while its print ad insertions went up from 2 per cent to 8 per cent.
The Congress (33.1 per cent) and Bharatiya Janata Party (32.6 per cent) were neck-to-neck in terms of ad duration on TV during this election. In print advertising, Congress did lesser (23 per cent) ads this time than 2014 (33 per cent), while BJP contributed 29 per cent to the ad volumes. Bulk of the Congress party's advertising focus this year was on the radio. It increased the duration of its radio ads from 22 per cent in 2014 to 41.5 per cent in 2019 elections. Though significantly lower (61.5 per cent in 2014), the duration of BJP's radio ads this time was 42.1 per cent.