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2012: A mixed bag for radio industry

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2012: A mixed bag for radio industry

The year 2012 might not have been exactly a joy ride, but it managed to give quite a rush to radio players. While 2012 appeared to be promising in the beginning, it rolled out to be tough year owing to a number of reasons such as delay in phase III and a slow Q2.

Ashwin Padmanabhan, Business Head – North and South, Big FM said that the year has been a mixed bag for Big FM.

In conversation with exchange4media, Padmanabhan speaks about trends witnessed in 2012, interesting events of the year and the road ahead for Big FM.

“The industry witnessed a number of new trends this year in terms of advertising activity, listenership and content. Unlike previous years, where major brands dominated the advertising on the radio space, local marketers and brands were seen coming on board this year,” explained Padmanabhan.

He further said that brands now look at value beyond advertising. They aim at investing in custom-made properties, thus addressing channeled issues and specific markets.

In a bid to explain the trends witnessed by Big FM this year, Padmanabhan said that listeners have evolved over the years. He said that if content is mature and sensible, it appeals to all irrespective of age and gender. For instance, ‘Yaadon ka idiotbox’ was appreciated by audience ranging from teens to adults. 

“While radio once catered to a male dominated audience, Big FM witnessed a number of women listeners coming on board, thus giving women-centric brands a fair chance to leverage the medium,” he stated. 

Highs and lows
Phase III promised radio players ownership of multiple frequencies in one state, which would give them an opportunity to offer an array of new content. However, the delay hampered content breeding on radio immensely as players did not get much of an opening to break clutter of the mass format.

In spite of the major setback experienced in terms of content, Big FM came up with number of unique formats such as ‘Yaadon ka idiotbox’, ‘Big memsaab’ and ‘Mere desh ki dharti’. Padmanabhan said that the new show formats fared well, for they meet the expectations of the constantly maturing radio listeners. Big FM also strengthened its multi-media offering for clients, which was the biggest achievement for the network this year.

However, there are few things that can be still termed as work in progress, he said. Online brands have emerged as a strong sector in India lately that is focussing a lot on advertising across all platforms. But, radio industry is yet to figure out a way to cater to this section.

Road ahead
Padmanabhan stated that 2012 has seen almost 15-20 per cent increase in growth as compared to 2011. While Q2 was tough for the industry, the market bounced back in the festive season, with new brands and marketers coming on board.

In terms of expectation from 2013, Padmanabhan said that they have hopes pinned on Q4 where FMCG can continue to be major spenders.  BFSI sector is also expected to bounce back in Q4, giving the industry a reason to be optimistic.

While 2012 was a walk on a tight rope, Big FM is positive about 2013. However, with challenges such as phase III and measurement still to overcome, 2013 will be a wait and watch game for the radio fraternity.

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