When it comes to engaging listeners FM radio knows it best, be it a local event or a mega celebration, and this festive season for FM radio means a combination of huge opportunities in terms of business and programming. According to industry estimates, last year ad-spends in radio rose by 49 per cent, whereas the overall ad expenditure rose from 3 per cent in 2007-08 to 4 per cent in 2008-09.
This Diwali has brought some good tide for the Indian radio industry with many new clients getting active. Moreover, regular advertisers, too, have increased their ad-spends on radio by 10-30 per cent. Consumer durable, automobile and FMCG brands have joined the radio bandwagon full steam. exchange4media takes a look at the major festival trends on radio this year.
Diwali, an ideal catalyst to further growth
Harrish M Bhatia, COO, My FM (Synergy Media Entertainment Ltd), observed, “There are a lot of opportunities that FM radio is tapping into during this Diwali season. With the economy seeing betterment and reinvigorated markets, Diwali has become an ideal catalyst to further growth. Advertisers, especially those who have partnered with us in the past, today have even more faith in the potential of radio.”
He further said, “Brands are definitely increasing their ad spends in the medium as they are relying on the advertising to strengthen growing market trends. We are quite positive that that advertising will pick up over the coming months. My FM has already witnessed around 45 per cent growth in our ad revenues, and with the festive season kicking in, we are looking forward to a wonderful season ahead.”
Monica Nayyar Patnaik, Director, Eastern Media Ltd, noted, “Diwali is a huge opportunity equally in terms of business, programming, content and activations. The buying spirit is high in this festive occasion and hence, advertisers get very active in every medium. Activation wise we find Diwali as an opportunity to interact with people on the street who are our listeners or prospective listeners. Since Dhanteras precedes Diwali, it’s a huge opportunity for us to take brands to people while at the same time entertaining them with merging with our programming content.”
Neeraj Chaturvedi, National Marketing Head, Fever FM, remarked, “Leading up to Diwali, we have seen a lot of business and a lot of them have been tactical. We have also seen our inventories completely full. During festive seasons, one usually gets a lot of tactical advertising, which radio as a medium is very good at, one reason being it is a cost efficient medium. As compared to last year, however, at least in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore, the market has kind of de-grown in value terms.”
Praveen Malhotra, Senior Vice President, Sales, Big FM, noted, “Diwali festival has been good for all categories, in fact, categories like auto sector, consumer durables and local retail have shown a phenomenal engagement in the radio medium. This apart, government and social sector advertising has also been active around festive-related messaging.”
What’s unique this season?
According to Big FM’s Malhotra, “Innovation is the key to success, hence each year we are adding exciting properties on ground like Big Wheel of Fortune, which delivers clutter breaking 360 degree experience for our advertisers this Diwali. Thus, it’s a win- win situation for both listener/ consumers and the brands.”
My Fm’s Bhatia opined, “I think it is the renewed trust and understanding, which has been the greatest motivation for radio this year. We are confident that we will continue this trust and understanding among our listeners.”
On the other hand, Chaturvedi of Fever FM said, “There is nothing unique this festive season for FM radio as compared to last year. In fact, it is very much similar to last year. For Fever FM, it is a wonderful Diwali, we have witnessed 40 per cent growth in terms of revenue and 77 per cent growth in terms of volume. For the industry per se, I believe it is a very decent Diwali.”
How FM stations celebrated Diwali
In Mumbai, Radio City tied up with the NGO Akanksha Foundation, wherein the station RJs urged Mumbaikars to sponsor a child’s education by giving even as less as Rs 100. In between listeners could also listen to Diwali wishes by Akanksha kids. Under the ‘Diwali Do Diwali Lo’ contest, RJs played a song and asked listeners to SMS the song’s name. The winner got a cash prize and a part of his winning amount was donated to the under-privileged kids of Akanksha Foundation.
Bangalore Radio City gave an opportunity to listeners to gift a Smile this Diwali through the Radio City door service. Under this initiative, special Radio City buses along with the station’s RJs visited listenerers’ houses collecting blank notebooks and other provisions for under-privileged kids. This activity was carried out over a period of five days.
In keeping with this charity spirit, Radio City Chennai spearheaded a campaign asking for clothes to be collected and distributed among the under-privileged. There was also a fun contest on air wherein listeners were asked to vote for the actor or actress that they thought was the cracker of Tamil Cinema. Winners got special gift vouchers from Radio City.
Big FM presented its ‘Sabse BIG Diwali’ initiative, which had a volley of surprises for its listeners in terms of prizes ranging from Rs 92,700 to gold coins to clothing to LCD TVs, etc. As part of the celebrations, listeners could try their luck in the initiative titled ‘Bollywood ka Waaris’ in Mumbai and Delhi. In the other cities, the FM player hosted the ‘Big Trump Card’. In addition to the on-air offering, Big FM also had a host of on-ground offerings such as ‘Sabse BIG Diwali’, which commenced on October 11 and would continue till October 20, 2009. Whirlpool is the associate sponsor on-air, while the on-ground sponsors are HUL’s surface cleaner CIF and Airtel.
My FM continued with its clean Diwali drive this year as well. After last year’s initiative on a noise and pollution free Diwali, the FM player this year held a competition wherein listeners could participate and win prizes for the most well decorated and clean house. Listeners had to innovatively decorate their houses without spending much money. Working on tight budgets, the participants vied for the grand prize by showcasing the most interesting ways in which they had decorated their houses.
Radio Mantra celebrated Diwali with fresh offerings to its listeners across its Hindi markets of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. The programme line-up featured a blend of ghazals, Sufi rock, Qawwali, Lounge and Indian rock. The new shows include ‘Love Aaj Kal’ on Saturday nights, a fine selection of ghazals, blended with some recurrent music, classics and some engaging talk. ‘Lazy Lamhe’ on Sunday evenings airs alternative music featuring variants like lounge, fusion, Sufi songs, Qawwali, pop, etc. ‘Har Somvar ko Som Ras’ is aired on Monday mornings, wherein listeners get to hear the freshest music without any repeats.
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