In our December data special, ‘Paper Routes,’ the analysts at howindialives.com mined publicly available data sets for insights into government advertising spend and newspaper revenue at five of the country’s largest dailies. The data were extracted from the websites of the Department of Advertising and Visual Publicity (the DAVP) and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Here are a few things they found.
1. The DAVP spend increased most significantly when elections were imminent.
Between 2008 and 2013 the highest spike in spending (35.3 percent) occurred in fiscal year 2008–2009, ahead of the general elections. The pattern is repeated at the state level: all the states that went to polls in 2009 (including Sikkim, Haryana and Odisha) and 2011 (including Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) witnessed a sharp spike in spending ahead of their assembly elections.
2. Most of the DAVP’s money went to English advertising.
English-language publications commanded 37.7 percent of the DAVP's spending, although only 12.2 percent of the population speaks the language, as per the latest available figures. Hindi, spoken by 53.6 percent of the population, received 33.4 percent of the total amount spent. All regional languages also received a smaller share of the spend than the share of the population that spoke them.