Rail infra expansion, modernisation of train services will boost railway OOH
By Rajiv Raghunath - February 02, 2022
Greater focus on tourism, long-term visionary plans needed
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Union Budget 2022-23 presented to the Lok Sabha on February 1, highlighted the Government’s sharp focus on Railway infrastructure modernisation. The Railway Ministry has been allocated Rs 1.40 trillion, up 27.5% from 1.10 for the previous fiscal. This was lauded by Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
As part of the PM Gati Shakti Masterplan, the FM said that 400 Vande Bharat trains will be introduced in the country over the next three years.
To augment the role of Railways in facilitating strong logistics support to the numerous MSMEs across regions, the Government will also introduce a 'One Station, One Product' plan that is integral to a robust supply chain ecosystem.
Throwing light on the ‘One Station, One Product’ plan, that is akin to the One District, One Product programme that was successfully conducted in Japan way back in the 1970s to optimise production, productivity and income and preservation of local crafts, S Kumar, Managing Director of Srishti Communications explained in his interview to Media4Growth that the new initiative announced by the Finance Minister will be a great business enabler, as well as bring higher dividends to the advertising domain.
Kumar observed that the introduction of 400 Vande Bharat trains connecting different cities over the next three years will induce a significant number of flight passengers to opt for rail travel, which will have a major bearing on the growth prospects of railway OOH business.
Looking ahead, he expressed hope that the Railways will step up the focus on tourism promotion and work closely with the Central and state governments in this regard. He added that the Non Fare Revenue department would do well to explore working more closely with the tourism sector, as well as the OOH media owning firms.
With regard to station modernisation, Kumar advocated that the Government should consider developing a 30-year visionary plan that will also facilitate a scientific and systemic planning of media placements, which would aid in enhancing the viability of railway media investments.
Sharing his perspectives on the Budget provisions for the Railways and how that would likely impact the course of OOH business in the sector, Anil Hirani, Managing Director of Armour Digital OOH told Media4Growth that the Government’s overall thrust on infrastructure development and the catalytic effect that it would have on economic activities that includes advertising is a welcome move.
The concentrated efforts to strengthen the digital infrastructure will also have a positive impact on DOOH media in the Railway sector, he said, and added that the 5G rollout will help the OOH industry to also enhance the business offerings and client engagement levels.
The focus on infrastructure development ties in well with the ongoing plans to modernise railway stations. As the quality of assets improve, and as new and modern trains are introduced, the railway OOH/DOOH will benefit from the multiplier effect. That said, Anil was quick to note that the real benefits of modernisation will accrue when the Covid-19 pandemic is under control.