afaqs! news bureau

How news channels are looking to win big in Lok Sabha elections 2024

Industry experts discuss forthcoming significant political events, ways to monetise, engage the youth, and more.

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are just around the corner, and news organisations are gearing up to seize the most crucial moments of the electoral spectacle. In 2023, elections were held for the state legislative assemblies of nine states, during which viewers remained glued to their screens to ascertain the fates of political parties. 

In 2024, the electoral battleground will gain significant prominence as general elections unfold, with the media playing a pivotal role in disseminating crucial information as the entire nation turns its attention towards them. This raises the question, ‘How can news broadcasters capitalise on these momentous events and generate advertisers’ interest?’ 

Industry experts discussed strategies for capitalising on the upcoming 2024 general elections in the ‘Election Bonanza’ panel discussion held at The Future of News 2023, hosted by afaqs!. The distinguished speakers on the panel included Gaurav Arora, COO, Jagran New Media; Manoj Jagyasi, chief business officer and strategic advisor, Bharat 24; and Aditi Mishra, CEO, Lodestar UM. The session was moderated by Benita Chacko, principal correspondent, afaqs!. 

Manoj Jagyasi from Bharat 24 explained that when EVMs (electronic voting machines) were introduced in India, their primary objective was to streamline the voting process to a single day, a significant improvement from the earlier duration of 7-8 days. But the prior week-long duration used to provide news channels with increased financial opportunities. “In the 2019 elections, there were about 912 million eligible voters, of which 67% voted. I believe that half of them were watching news channels on the counting day. When the election comes in, all broadcasters put their neck on it and ensure that we get that money going on for broadcasters.” 

Gaurav Arora from Jagran News Media highlighted that their approach differs from television as they operate as a traditional media house. He pointed out that print media has its distinct method of monetisation, and, for them, the electoral coverage initiates from the moment election announcements are made. “Elections are a part of yearly AOPs, with sales commitment, editorial commitment, and programming part. These all are decided at the start of the year. If the broadcaster capitalises well, right from preparation time to the time governments are formed. There is a fair bit of a spike across the audience and in the revenue aspect as well. During this, there is a mix of advertisers including government, political parties, and corporations. The brands know that this time is the best to get eyeballs.” 

Jagyasi talked about how through other modes, news broadcasters can monetise the content during election time. He says, “The whole industry is itself fighting that there should be a unified measuring system. On social media, users look to consume shorter forms of content, so we have started uploading 30-60 sec forms of content on that.”

Aditi Mishra highlighted, “There is a need for integrated measurement. From the brand’s perspective, they will make the decision on which lens they want to bring. Like for our clients, the conversations are around, that they’re looking for a theme, or just a reach. As 2024 will be the year of news, brands have to decide the purpose and then leverage it accordingly.” 

“In every medium, one of the big things is credibility. In that case, print and linear television have a strong hold on that aspect irrespective of their followers," she said. 

Recognising the significance of the youth demographic, Gaurav emphasised the crucial role they play in every election due to their larger representation. He proceeded to outline strategies through which news channels can effectively connect with this dynamic audience.

“We do a lot to connect with youth, our product Jagran Fatafat is meant for youth which is a short form of content, as attention span is decreasing. As consumption is moving, we need to figure out a way. For us, 70% of the audience including news websites is from 18-35 years old. To fulfil that, 70% of our editorial is also under 27. To make the content for them, we need people like them.”  

Watch the full panel discussion here: 

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