EY to help Railways leverage advertising potential

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 08, 2016


RITES awards contract to EY 

Initiating a large-scale exercise to identify and leverage pan-India advertising opportunities in railway stations and trains, Indian Railways has appointed Ernst & Young (trading as EY) as consultant to undertake this job on its behalf.

Headquartered in London, EY operates as a network of member firms which are separate legal entities in individual countries. The Railway PSU, RITES, the consulting wing for Indian Railways, awarded the mandate to EY following a multi-party bid, said a release.

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has been emphasising on increasing revenues through the non-fare box route, especially through advertising. Initial estimates have indicated the advertising potential of the Railways in excess of Rs 5,000 crore over the next few years.

EY has been assigned the job of tapping the advertising potential of Indian Railways assets, including a fleet of trains in a wide network of about 7,000 railway stations across India. EY’s specialised offering, Marketing and Advertising Risk Services (MARS), will help Indian Railways identify assets across its stations for the purpose of advertising and will also develop a pricing strategy to evaluate them for advertisers. The firm has commenced its exercise.

In preliminary discussions held between Railway and EY officials, it was emphasised that the exercise would be completed in a time-bound frame.

Currently, advertisers face a number of concerns in the outdoor media industry, including lack of reliable data pertaining to site visitors and vandalism of outdoor assets. Hence, an important aspect of this exercise will be the creation of packages that meet specific demographic and geographic needs. Further, the advertising contracts need to be modified so as to allow ease of business to advertisers and increase transparency and accountability.

A unique aspect of this exercise will be the creation of a neutral assessment on the return on investments by advertisers in this medium. Advertisers struggle with the measurability of traditional media. In the case of railway assets, eyeballs, quantity of time spent and segmentation of viewers is highly quantifiable as the Railways maintains ticketing and station footfall data in its database.

In these discussions, Chairman, Railway Board, A. K. Mital said “this move by the Indian Railways will allow for revenue enhancement for the enterprise without putting any burden on its passengers. EY and Indian Railways will engage with leading advertisers through the course of this project for effective optimisation of railway assets. In the past, the railways has used its assets to earn revenues through advertising, but limited the same to train wraps and display spaces in stations. This is the first time that a large-scale project to identify and leverage pan-India advertising opportunities has been initiated.”

Farokh Balsara, Partner and National Leader – Media and Entertainment, EY India, said, “There has never been a nation-wide assessment of the advertising potential of assets on such a large scale. We are excited and proud to be associated with Indian Railways on a project that will generate advertising revenues and, in turn, help to expand and improve services for commuters. This aligns with EY’s purpose of building a better working world.”

Bharat Rajamani, Director, EY India, said, “Through this mandate we will create a new medium for advertisers to leverage in order to reach their target audience. With a large expanse of assets and high measurability of its reach, the Indian Railways’ assets will be beneficial to local and national clients alike.”

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Published on March 08, 2016
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