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English radio stations to garner 25% ad spends in Bengaluru: Satya Murthy, CEO, Indigo 91.9

24-October-2017
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English radio stations to garner 25% ad spends in Bengaluru: Satya Murthy, CEO, Indigo 91.9

In an interaction with Satya Murthy, CEO, Indigo 91.9, he gave a detailed report of how the market of English radio stations is now evolving with more players joining in. He also said that the market share of this sector of English music radio channels has gone up from 15% to about 25% now. In addition to this, he spoke about his station its marketing strategy, and other key topics. Edited excerpts.

Indigo 91.9 had a unique appeal until many players got into this space. How does this affect your brand?
From the past 18 months, we’ve revamped the product. What we observed after doing research is that radio stations are generic in their offering to their listeners - whether it is an English station, Hindi or a Kannada station. But the requirements of consumers might differ. It could be gossip, music or entertainment. Typically, there are three to four ecosystems that a consumer is enriched to fulfil in the entire requirement of music and entertainment. What Indigo has done is to get into each of this and create one overarching ecosystem that could actually meet the entire requirement. Our shows have been re-formatted over the past 18 months because we realised that the audience doesn’t take you seriously if an RJ says, ‘you please do 10 Suryanamaskaras and take this protein milkshake, etc.’ They have a very serious set of influencers that they follow. We have got experts on the shows. Our offerings are formatted to what our consumers want.

How is this market now?
In terms of market share, as an English radio channel, we’ve grown from about 15% market share to 25% now. English radio stations to garner about 25% ads spend in Bengaluru, giving all credit to the competition. Speaking of which there are typically two players evangelising English music. The ad spends have gone up. Change of product and its title have made a difference. I think we are in the purple patch both in terms of business and listeners.

With digital entering this space too in the form of players like Gaana, Wynk and others, what’s the future of traditional radio? How do you think these players are prepping themselves for the digital era?
If you look at the core differentiators, the traditional radio player’s USP is the curation of music. The station that curates music better has greater affinity and following. If you talk of Gaana, Saavn or any other product for that matter, there is no offering that they currently have which can directly compete with any FM station. If you tune into a Radio Mirchi or a Radio City, you know they have a distinct USP. With their curation, about eight or nine out of 10 songs have a ‘Wow’ factor. The one or two songs that we play along with the rest are the ones that are doing pretty well but the Indian consumer is not exposed to that sort of music. To sum up, I see both FM and digital co-exist for a period of time. Eventually, just as in any other medium, I see a migration happening to digital. World is going to move very rapidly to a single screen.

What is Indigo 91.9’s marketing strategy?
Our strategy is simple. We have a very unique product offering which nobody else in the country has. We have a 360 degree radio station and a small format event destination called ‘The Indigo XP’, which is the lounge that we have. The emphasis is on creating a unique experience. If you’ve heard Ed Sheeran play on the station, simultaneously there’ll be a tribute to Ed Sheeran happening at the lounge. And if he is performing somewhere in Asia or anywhere in the country, we give out opportunities for our consumers to go listen to him live.

What are your plans going forward?
You’ll see the lounge, The Indigo XP, expanding within and beyond Bengaluru as well. You’ll see us getting into large format events. We’ll try and get international artistes to India. We did not do it in the past 11 months due to economic changes happening in the country. Because of the sluggish-ness in the spend, we did not want to bring in an international artiste to India in the past. Starting from Jan-Feb onwards we have a line up of talent we plan to launch in the country. We’ll also launch a digital product somewhere in the first quarter of next year.

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