Study says that Indian Political parties spend Rs 400 cr on digital campaigning for LS

New Delhi, 7 May-2014 (UNI): The high profile campaigning by the political parties, including the small and regional parties, would boost revenues of the digital platforms significantly during electioneering as the young voters become the target of political parties, an ASSOCHAM analysis revealed today.

Study says that Indian Political parties spend Rs 400 cr on digital campaigning for LS

Of the approximately Rs 4,000-5,000 crore total advertisement and publicity spend, the digital platforms can expect to garner at least Rs 400-500 crore, given the fact the internet penetration is limited to about 30 per cent of the voters, reveals the paper ahead of general elections on ‘Revenue generation by the social media firms during general election’.

About 30 per cent of the total expenditure by the candidates, which was estimated at Rs 15,000 crore in an earlier ASSOCHAM survey, is typically spent on the advertising and publicity, of which 15-20 per cent could well be spent on the emerging digital marketing by the political parties, said D S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM.

The technology companies like Google and social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook will expect their India revenue to rise substantially this year as the political parties spending more money on digital media than the previous general election in 2009, the industry body said.

“It is not just national parties such as the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Adami Party (AAP) but also smaller regional parties that are bumping up their digital ad budgets this year,” Mr Rawat added. As per the new rules of the Election Commission which has strengthened its oversight over the social media, all the political ad insertions for the social media would need its clearance.

“While the rule is well-meaning and intended, it might be time-consuming given the fact the window of ad campaign is available for a short time,” Mr Rawat said. India’s total poll spend has been estimated around Rs 15,000 crore and political parties have set aside around 15-20 per cent of their publicity budgets for spending on social media which, however, is still constrained by lack of
internet penetration and lack of literacy, ASSOCHAM said.

According to the Election Commission estimates, about 60-70 per cent of about 800 million voters are still outside the purview of the internet; however, this figure will increase in the coming years, the industry body added.
“When it comes to cities, the majority of parties are appealing to a younger generation of text and internet savvy like voters, not just in larger metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata but also in tier- II and tier-III cities.
Online as a medium to reach voters has become a really powerful one for political parties,” Mr Rawat said. Many political leaders had sent greeting messages in the occasion like Holi through blackberry messenger groups and WhatsApp in order to better connect with the voters, the ASSOCHAM said.

Digital media is empowering citizens to ask questions and demand answers. It is influencing opinions and pushing leaders to be transparent. Social media companies are also doing their bit to raise political awareness among people, the survey said. Facebook has launched a ‘Register to Vote’ initiative, while Twitter is offering a service where users can follow someone through a missed call or text message, the ASSOCHAM paper added.