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Going retro in Mumbai gels well strategically: Ashwin Padmanabhan

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Going retro in Mumbai gels well strategically: Ashwin Padmanabhan

Big FM’s Mumbai station went retro a few days ago, after adopting a similar programming strategy in other markets such as Delhi, Baroda, Bhopal and Rajkot. This move in Mumbai is backed by the results shown by their Delhi station and extensive study and audience mapping done for the Mumbai listeners.

The FM brand has worked out its positioning strategy well with strong on-air and digital strategy. However, despite going retro, Big FM intends to stay connected with the local element of Maharashtra and will have involvement of Marathi speaking RJs and also airing Marathi music.

While the move works well with the brand positioning of Big FM, it is still not clear as to how the move will work out in terms of listenership. With the kind of time spent in travelling and the colourful audience in Mumbai, hailing from different parts of India, Big FM might have to face a few challenges.

In conversation with exchange4media, Ashwin Padmanabhan, Business Head, Big FM explains how the decision works in favour of the brand and what inspired this move.

What was the rationale behind going retro in Mumbai?
We conducted a detailed study and audience mapping to know the preference of our listeners and understand our brand positioning. According to the findings, listeners want more of retro and thus, there was a huge need gap. We figured that we could fill this space. Also, our experience with the Delhi station motivated us to take this move. Backing up on the insights we get, we took the decision of going retro in Mumbai.

Can you share the data which backed the move?
According to our study, retro and contemporary were in the top two in terms of demands from our Mumbai listeners, thus giving us an opportunity to cater to this demand. Also, we are a socially conscious and matured brand. Thus, the decision of going retro in Mumbai gelled with the brand position very well.

Can we expect any shows for the Mumbai market?
Yes, we have a new line-up and also a few jocks on board. The morning show will now be hosted by RJs Harsh and Siddharth, who will weave the content around the retro genre. We also have a new show with Annu Kapoor – ‘Suhana Safar’ that plays retro melodies and shares the behind the scenes stories. Our afternoon time slot is almost the same. In the evening, we will have a new jockey. This show will be followed by ‘Yaadon Ka Idiotbox’ and ‘Chandni Raatein’ by RJ Rani, who also hosts ‘Big Memsaab’.

What has been the advertiser reaction?
Advertisers pan India have congratulated and supported us on our decision. Differentiation is the way forward, and our advertisers realise that.

Are there any such plans for other markets?
We have gone retro in five markets already – Mumbai, Delhi, Baroda, Bhopal and Rajkot. As mentioned before, the decision of going retro in Mumbai was backed by search and the fact that Mumbai is a very strong market. We shall look at other markets, if need be. 

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