New Delhi: The cash-strapped Railways has potential to earn Rs.10000 Crore a year just by selling space for advertising in train coaches, on wagons, stations and even tickets to premium brands, an audit report said.
Soon after assuming charge, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu asked Railways’ engineering firm RITES to do the first-ever professional assessment of how much money the Railways could earn from selling the ad-space. A detailed report has been presented to Prabhu in this regard, which also suggested that Ministry of Railways can even float a PSU only to tap the potential market from Advertisement, media and entertainment.
The assessment has broken down the earning potential into different categories of rolling stock Railways has. The target audience in premium trains like Rajdhanis and Shatabdis are perceived to be different from that in ordinary mail/express trains. Similarly, wagons will attract different type of clients, so the branding and the rates will also be different. It calls for Branded Train Scheme, Branded Station Scheme and Freight Wagons Sponsorship.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given a similar suggestion to the Railways to use wagons as a means for earning advertising revenue — money that was considered as good as lying unclaimed by the national transporter.
From 26 Rajdhanis, 20 Shatabdis and 32 Duronto trains alone, the Railways could earn Rs 780 crore per year by selling advertisement space. These trains combined offer advertisers “four lakh captive eyeball contacts of passengers, plus 80 lakh casual eyeball contacts in addition to premium branding rights”, the report said.
A similar assessment has been given for 500 other superfast mail/express trains, 2,000 passenger trains, 100 local trains and 1 lakh wagons.
“For the study to be a realistic assessment, the RITES took into account practices applied in the current advertising industry to assess worth of branding, and references from present market rates,” said a senior official.
Advertising has never been a successful avenue of earnings for railways as all efforts have in the past have been in piecemeal. The new report has recommended to Prabhu that a Comprehensive Commercial Publicity Policy be formulated by the ministry and a multi-disciplinary Task Force should be formed.