CNBC AWAAZ #BFORBUDGET Special: The 2015 railways budget has probably been unprecedented in its open espousal of advertising driven revenues to meet key objectives. Supporting this new courtship of marketers and agencies will be the biggest bugbear of the railways so far. Clean, well maintained stations. The Swacchh campaigns across the network should go some way to proving an ambience that marketers will be more comfortable with, when it comes to associating with Indian Rail properties. So what are the key opportunities?
1. Station Redevelopment: The biggest opportunity is obviously the station redevelopment plan. Envisaged as a public private partnership model where the private sector recovers its investments by using space and air rights on concession basis at the stations. If implemented well, this could turn out to be the biggest opportunity for marketers to associate with well located landmarks that seek to make a positive "impact on the skyline of small and medium cities", as the minister says.
2. The Railways Display Network: An idea biding its time for too long possibly.
Finally, the minister laid out a specific plan to have a Railway Display network across over 2000 stations, where advertising opportunities will be offered. Surely, an attractive option if the right technology and reporting methods are used.
3. On Board Entertainment on License fees basis: Being started on an experimental basis on the Shatabdis, which in any case, with the Rajdhanis have a natural fit for many marketers. Don't be surprised if this market evolves to a size as big, if not bigger than the airline inflight magazine market in no time, thanks to the extra options and numbers possible.
4. Catering: For QSR chains and established local restaurants with the ability, the decision to expand catering options to a wider palate of food vendors should come as a great opportunity.
5. Finally , cleanliness: While a separate department is to be set up specifically to oversee and ensure cleanliness in stations, much like the appeal to MP's to spend funds from their MPLAD schemes, expect the Railways to connect this drive with corporate CSR efforts to make a real difference.
To understand a common man's take away from the budget in an extremely simple and creative manner - Watch this video