93.5 Red FM recently announced the launch of its new stations in Surat and Patna. This follows the launches in Jodhpur, Chandigarh and Amritsar. Nisha Narayanan, COO, 93.5 Red FM, told us that the station expects to be operational in the 13 new frequencies they received during batch 2 of the Phase III radio auctions to be operational by year end. The batch 2 auctions had taken place in October last year and Red FM had acquired 13 new stations, emerging as the largest spender after investing Rs 80 crore.
Speaking about the importance of tier II markets, Narayanan said, “There are enough corporate clients interested in these kinds of markets apart from local retail. We made a conscious decision to enter markets like Bihar and Punjab where we were not present earlier. Also, it always helps to have additional frequencies in the state other than the capital city. If you see our bidding pattern, it has always been about geographical spread and state capitals and this is going to continue.”
Narayanan agreed that the market was impacted by demonetisation but she feels that there is still enough money for radio operators. “I believe that we should not sell as radio operators. We need to start selling differently; as entertainment companies selling entertainment, which could include on-ground, digital, events, etc. From a revenue stream point of view we should adopt a more aggressive strategy,” she told us.
Meanwhile, Narayanan also stressed the importance of setting up an independent and reliable measurement system, especially with private FM players expanding into Tier II cities. She informed us that the industry body, Association of Radio Operators in India (AROI), has set up a committee, which is looking into setting up such a system.