Western Railway cashes in on public address system

In a bid to enhance its advertising revenue, Western Railway (WR) has come out with an out-of-the-box idea. It now leases our air space on the public address (PA) system to advertisers, who wish to reach out to lakh of commuters waiting at platforms to board trains.

Promos of popular quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by superstar Amitabh Bachchan were the first be aired via the PA system, recently. These promos, for which the advertising agency booked air time of 3,600 seconds spread across three consecutive days, earned handsome revenue for WR. Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer (WR), said, “We were able to rake in Rs 4.5 lakh by leasing out air space for KBC promos. A few more promos from popular TV channels are also being played frequently on our PA system.”

WR will provide eight slots of three seconds each every hour to advertisers. These promos will be played for 10 hours during the day.

The advertisement rates are stiff when compared with those charged by FM channels. While FM operators seek anywhere between Rs 30 to 60 per second, WR commands a rate of Rs 125 per second.

On the railways, PA system are in place to make announcement about trains, awareness campaign and to relay important instructions to staff and commuters. This concept of WR, a first on Indian railways, is a win-win situation for both the advertisers and railways.

Chandrayan said, “As railways is the lifeline of the city, our PA system can reach out a wider and bigger

audience. Moreover, promos played on the PA system will certainly be heard by many, unlike on radio, where it is difficult to ascertain how many were tuned in when the advertisement was played.”

Though revenue is important, announcement related to railways will always be accorded priority over promotional advertisements. Care has been taken to ensure that the content aired is not defamatory or derogatory towards any gender of community, he added.

He said, “However, it is not possible to play advertisements frequently during peak hours as not many slots are available on the PA system because of a flurry of trains plying during this time.”

In the past too, the railways have come out with innovative ways to earn revenue from advertisements.

Till August, the railways earned Rs 13.02 crore from all advertisement sources. Chandrayan said, “We witnessed 15% growth in advertising revenue as compared to last year by leasing out space for hoardings, glowsigns, displays on ticket printouts, etc or playing of promos on TV screen placed at booking window and also through advertisement on walls built along the railway tracks.”


Delhi Metro to set up new shopping outlets

NEW DELHI: In about a month from now, commuters at Delhi Metro railway’s Rajiv Chowk station in Connaught Place will have more options to indulge in some retail therapy. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has readied kiosks to be set up on the concourse of the station to sell hand-crafted products.

The Delhi Metro has tied up with the Union Ministry of Textiles to showcase Indian handicrafts at select stations of its network and make them commercially available. Aimed at promoting handicraft items from across the country, the tie-up entails setting up of 160 kiosks for display and sale of handicrafts at metro stations.

40 kiosks in first phase

In the first phase, the Delhi Metro has awarded the contract for setting up 40 kiosks to M/s Basics for a period of six years. Thirty per cent of these kiosks will be reserved for select categories of artisans such as Shilp Gurus, National and State award winners. etc.

“The Agency has already installed a prototype of the kiosk at Rajiv Chowk metro station. The design of the prototype kiosk has been approved by the Ministry and it is expected to start commercial operations in June,” said a Delhi Metro spokesperson.

The scheme is part of the “Marketing Support and Services Scheme” of the Ministry’s Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts). “The Office of the Development Commissioner is a nodal body for handicrafts sector. This office implements six Central sector schemes for development of the sector and one of such schemes is the Marketing Support and Services scheme, under which there is a component called ‘setting up of marketing hubs in Metros’,” said a Delhi Metro official.

A financial assistance of up to 25 per cent of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.10 crore is made available for the hubs. “The Delhi Metro’s mandate was to create these kiosks. Accordingly a Rs.41crore scheme was formulated by the Corporation and the Union Ministry of Textiles, for which the latter has sanctioned Rs.10 crore,” said the official.

The kiosks which will be set up at stations attracting huge footfalls, are expected to fetch good returns for the investors. “Since they will be set up at stations with a high commuter turnout, the kiosks are expected to earn healthy returns. Showcasing the best of Indian handicrafts, they will also prove to be popular shopping destinations for foreign buyers, expected in large numbers during the Commonwealth Games,” said a Delhi Metro spokesperson.

Food items to be available too

“Two kiosks, each 9 X 12 square metres in size, will be installed at every selected Metro station. Besides handicrafts and textiles, local food items will also be sold at these kiosks which will provide an ideal marketing platform to wholesalers and retailers. The food items will however be packed and consumers will not be allowed to eat at these kiosks,” the spokesperson said.

Listing the advantages of the proposal, the spokesperson said the benefits are twofold: “Since the shops will be located at places where visibility in terms of foot falls is high, they will not be required to advertise. Secondly, all the kiosks will be linked by the Delhi Metro network and it will be possible to project the entire range of handicrafts through this network for the buyers.”