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.”