The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is set to air audio-based advertisements inside its trains, in a bid to augment its non-ticketing revenues. The Corporation said it will initially run a pilot project to air audio ads inside six trains on the violet line running between Kashmere Gate and Badarpur Border from December for one year. The move evoked criticism from social-media users, who expressed concerns about the increase in the noise quotient in the metro trains. 

“Strategically placed between mandatory service announcements, these audio advertisements are set to bring a delightful and engaging dimension to the journey, offering passengers a welcome break from the routine,” the official statement added. It added that this project may be expanded to other lines based on the feedback received from the pilot project.

The move did not go down well in some quarters. Some social-media users expressed concerns about the increase in the noise quotient in metro trains. Branding experts said it remains to be seen the kind of engagement such audio ads will be able to generate since commuters are typically busy on their phones, often reading or texting, or listening to music with their headphones on. “Radio works by being a medium of choice, people want to hear it when on the move, this isn’t true for metro,” said Naresh Gupta, Co-Founder, Bang in the Middle. He added that it can also end up being irksome for commuters since there is already a lot of noise as the trains slow down or pick up speed besides the routine internal announcements. 

DMRC, on its part, believes audio ads have immense potential for revenue generation. It said it is part of its strategy to grow non-ticketing revenues, which includes co-branding of metros stations among others. “During the Covid pandemic, Delhi Metro services had to be suspended for a significant amount of time and, subsequently, the services could only be resumed in phases with a number of restrictions. Therefore, the revenue-generating streams available to DMRC were constrained to a large extent. Now, DMRC is taking a number of steps to further augment its revenues from non-ticketing sources so that it can continue to operate smoothly,” the official statement added.

The DMRC’s audio-ads project will be implemented by Pindrop Metro Tech, part of the Pindrop Media Group.

Dishant Narang, Managing Partner, Pindrop Media Group told businessline, “DMRC has the largest network in the country with a consistently high ridership and hence this opens up a massive opportunity for advertisers to reach out to a large base of commuters. We have got a very positive response from top advertisers and agencies and are in advanced stages of conversation with several brands. Infact, we have already begun airing ads from reputed brands in sectors such as auto, furnishing and jewellery.”

Metro systems in some other cities such as Mumbai are experimenting with audio ads.