DAVP’s ad politics--Express loses, Pioneer gains

BY SAI VINOD| IN Special Reports | 04/07/2018
NDA government cuts ads to the Indian Express second year running, and leading Hindi newspapers get more by way of advertising than leading English ones.
SAI VINOD crunches RTI data from DAVP
NDA govt favours Hindi press

 

As the National Democratic Alliance government ramps up its publicity in the build up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it is choosing the  media outlets it advertises in  to suit its self-interest. And the most conspicuous casualty of this approach is the Indian Express.  Not the group, but the paper. Because its sister publication, the Financial Express has not seen similar cuts. In fact, starting from financial year 2015-16 to 2017-18  FE has received more advertising than the Hindu Business Line.  Perhaps its editorial policy does not displease the government  as much.

The United Progressive Alliance government allocated a higher advertising budget to English newspapers. The data in this report has been obtained through RTI for a period covering two central governments: 2009-10 to 2017-18.

 Overall, government advertising routed through the Directorate of Advertising and Publicity in leading English newspapers came down in 2017-18, compared to the previous year.   The government spent  a total of Rs 178.2  crore on this segment in the latest year. The previous year it was Rs 207.7 crore. (Table 1)

 

TABLE 1

Print media commitment for English Ads
during FY 2009-2010 to 2017-2018

FINANCIAL YEAR

COMMITMENT

2009

1387643523

2010

1555859293

2011

1585448790

2012

1573575038

2013

1971459470

2014

1632227071

2015

1958066441

2016

2077622274

2017

1782711073

 

However there was no cut in total allocations to Hindi newspapers. The ad spend rose from 241 crore to 267 crore in 2017-18.  

 

TABLE 2 

PRINT MEDIA COMMITMENT FOR HINDI LANGUAGE
DURING FY 2009-2010 TO 2017-2018

FINANCIAL YEAR

COMMITMENT

2009

1028316417

2010

1353475547

2011

1401020307

2012

1330060866

2013

1795586388

2014

1437337868

2015

2199730433

2016

2415456780

2017

2677322444

 

The papers which saw cuts in their share of advertising in 2017-18 were the Times of India (37 pc), The Hindustan Times (20 pc) , and The Indian Express (30 pc). The Hindu did not see a reduction in government advertising in 2017-18, and nor did the Pioneer.

 

TABLE 3

ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS

Total Advertisement Commitment (In Rs Crores)

FINANCIAL YEAR

TIMES OF INDIA

 HINDUSTAN TIMES

THE HINDU

INDIAN EXPRESS

 PIONEER

2009-10

34.19

24.67

9.30

2.40

1.13

2010-11

41.37

28.25

9.74

2.82

1.63

2011-12

43.74

30.64

9.72

3.13

1.63

2012-13

42.64

30.15

10.10

2.43

1.81

2013-14

49.57

37.75

14.35

3.73

2.13

2014-15

47.34

34.50

9.98

2.73

1.78

2015-16

54.74

43.47

11.27

3.52

2.48

2016-17

63.07

45.76

13.35

2.79

2.98

2017-18

39.74

36.46

14.41

1.93

3.66

 

The Directorate of  Advertising and Visual Publicity has varying ad rates for different papers, circulation  is ostensibly the main measure in allocating a paper a rate on the basis of which advertising is given. Some newspapers are not audited for circulation by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. The Express Group is not enlisted with  ABC,  nor is a paper like  Mint. So the basis on which a rate is accepted for a paper is often not transparent.

DAVP uses three criteria for determining circulation—ABC figures, a chartered accountant’s certificate produced by the paper to certify circulation, and also some figures that the Registrar of Newspapers (RNI) puts out.  And how does DAVP verify the claims made by a CA certificate? Does it ask for proof of newsprint consumption? It does not.

 The system used by DAVP to allocate advertising at certain rates is a software called Enterprise Resource Programme. Which will produce figures based on what is fed into it. Oral instructions for political reasons influence the backend feeding in, as it were, so do newspaper agents who lobby aggressively with the Directorate, according to DAVP sources.  The instructions regarding individual papers are never put down in a file in writing.

The advertising given to the Indian Express peaked during the tenure of the UPA government. However, even the UPA cut advertising to it in 2012-13, in the aftermath of the 2G scam. The Pioneer has become a bigger beneficiary during the NDA's tenure. The number of editions of each paper has remained constant during most of this period: Nine editions for the Indian Express and ten for The Pioneer. 

 

Pioneer

  

TABLE 4

Total Advertisement Commitment to Delhi Edition of English papers
(In Rs Crores)

 

UPA

NDA

FINANCIAL

 YEAR

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

TIMES

 OF INDIA

21.04

25.83

26.71

27.78

30.53

27.72

31.58

32.30

20.5

HINDUSTAN TIMES

22.89

25.67

27.86

         27.9

32.85

31.05

38.84

41.18

31.81

HINDU

0.68

0.79

0.69

0.75

1.29

0.74

0.77

0.92

1.7

INDIAN

EXPRESS

1.02

1.29

1.59

1.34

1.82

1.45

1.8

1.43

0.91

PIONEER

0.57

0.61

0.68

0.78

0.96

0.77

0.89

1.48

1.82

 

TABLE 5

HINDI NEWSPAPERS

Total Advertisement Commitment (In Rs Crores)

 

UPA

NDA

FINANCIAL

YEAR

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

AMAR

UJALA

4.89

6.40

5.62

4.31

6.71

5.11

8.80

13.76

18.65

DAINIK

BHASKAR

9.95

10.98

10.78

10.49

15.82

13.32

15.69

20.16

21.38

DAINIK

JAGRAN

11.64

14.54

14.85

14.75

19.12

17.54

24.74

33.40

36.64

RAJASTHAN

PATRIKA

4.70

5.01

4.99

5.04

8.37

6.12

7.94

7.43

10.14

HINDUSTAN

6.34

8.52

8.88

8.18

12.18

9.80

13.54

16.48

19.24

NAVBHARAT

TIMES

4.81

6.1

6.21

6.52

9.54

8.66

10.88

13.94

11.80

 

TABLE 6
Newspaper-wise % Increase (Year on Year)

 

UPA

NDA

FINANCIAL

 YEAR

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

TIMES OF

 INDIA

20.99%

5.72%

-2.52%

16.26%

-4.51%

15.63%

15.22%

-36.98%

HINDUSTAN

 TIMES

14.52%

8.44%

-1.59%

25.20%

-8.62%

26.00%

5.27%

-20.33%

HINDU

4.70%

-0.23%

3.90%

42.03%

-30.42%

12.93%

18.46%

7.93%

INDIAN

EXPRESS

17.14%

11.18%

-22.33%

53.27%

-26.79%

29.12%

-20.77%

-30.67%

PIONEER

43.80%

-0.06%

11.41%

17.61%

-16.32%

38.92%

19.93%

23.07%

AMAR

UJALA

30.82%

-12.22%

-23.39%

55.86%

-23.91%

72.33%

56.35%

35.52%

DAINIK

BHASKAR

10.39%

-1.81%

-2.74%

50.84%

-15.79%

17.79%

28.47%

6.07%

DAINIK

JAGRAN

24.95%

2.16%

-0.73%

29.67%

-8.29%

41.05%

35.00%

9.70%

RAJ. PATRIKA

6.64%

-0.41%

1.04%

66.05%

-26.95%

29.83%

-6.47%

36.49%

HINDUSTAN

34.40%

4.16%

-7.82%

48.86%

-19.53%

38.15%

21.66%

16.73%

NAVBHARAT TIMES

26.50%

1.93%

5.09%

46.22%

-9.20%

25.62%

28.10%

-15.37%

The Indian Express is the only newspaper to see  a decrease in government advertising  two years running.

 

TABLE 7

FINANCIAL NEWSPAPERS OF THE SAME GROUPS

Fin papers

 

In 2017-18  financial papers saw no cuts in advertising except for a marginal decrease in the allocation for the Economic Times.

 

More analysis of advertising trends to follow.

 

 

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