HT Media's Fever FM has emerged as the surprise in the Phase III auctions. The company has spent to the tune of approximately Rs 340 crore on 10 frequencies. These include coveted frequencies in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.
Red FM had a quiet time, bagging just two new frequencies, though one of them included Mumbai. The other one was Jodhpur.
Big FM acquired 14 new frequencies. Big FM's network now covers all 4 ‘A+’ category towns, 7 out of 9 ‘A’ category towns and 12 out of 17 ‘B’ category towns.
Tarun Katial, Chief Operating Officer, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited said, “We have consistently maintained a leadership position in the market with top ratings and continue to remain the largest radio network in India with 59 frequencies. We have had a successful FY’14-15 with topline growth of close to 30% YoY and 45% EBITDA margin in radio."
Radio City also had a profitable time in the auctions and acquired 11 new frequencies. “We are pleased to share that we have won 11 frequencies & in the markets that we were keen on. This increases our footprint across important cities in each state as we become a 39 station network. Together Radio City & Radio Mantra will be dominant players in important state clusters and continue our successful phase 2 strategy of concentrating on advertiser relevant markets,” said Apurva Purohit, CEO of Radio City 91.1 FM.
Bhubaneswar, which had emerged as one of the more sought after frequencies in the auctions, saw its lone available frequency going to Sarthak Films Pvt. Ltd. Sarthak has also bagged another frequency in Rourkela.
Radio Mirchi was also one of the more prolific brands in the auctions, with successful bids for 17 stations. This includes a new frequency in Bangalore and 2 new frequencies in Hyderabad. Pune also saw both its frequencies sold out — to Radio Mirchi and Big FM.
However, not everyone had equal fortunes. For example, Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD of Radio One said, "We opted out as prices are inflated and we do not want to compromise present profits for speculative growth. The market is growing at 6 per cent and break even at these auction prices is next to impossible. The pressure that employees of networks that have paid huge, unviable prices for auctions will be unimaginable as they have to deliver on listenership and revenue numbers; a pressure they have never witnessed before."