The Indian Listenership Track (ILT) 2006 Wave 3 results are out and Radio Mirchi is the clear leader in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. While Red FM has managed to gain some advantage in Mumbai and Kolkata, the station has nipped Radio City to secure second position in Delhi. The latter, just like the other stations, has seen a drop in its ratings, but has continued to hold on to its second position in Mumbai.
While Radio One has lost ground in Mumbai, it has debuted with a 7 per cent listenership in Delhi. On the other hand, Big FM is the second most recalled station in Kolkata, while in Mumbai and Delhi it has 18.7 per cent and 11 per cent listenership respectively.
This is the story as far as data goes but from industry feedback, it is clear that Big FM and Radio City have decided not to subscribe to ILT. On the other hand, players like Radio Mirchi, Fever, Radio One and Red FM continue to stand by it.
When queried on the reason behind Big FM’s non-subscription to ILT, Anand Chakravarthy, Head, Marketing, Big FM, replied, “After closely studying the methodology (of ILT), we have certain doubts about its accuracy. The Day After Recall (DAR) methodology is no longer an industry standard anywhere in the world, as it has certain anomalies.”
Radio City was not available for comments at the time of filing this story. However, during the last Wave, the station had categorically stated its non-adherence to ILT.
Meanwhile, Red FM’s Niharika Chandalia admitted that their subscription to ILT is because it is still the only third party radio listenership research study available. Agreeing with her, Neeraj Chaturvedi, Station Head – Delhi, Fever FM, observed, “This is the only industry research, purposive to radio listening, which is available currently.”
Countering these comments, Kaushik Ghosh, Senior VP - Marketing, Radio Mirchi, asserted, “ILT is accepted as the industry standard and has been there for almost three years now. The credibility of this study is unquestionable as it is done by a leading research agency like ACNielsen under the aegis of MRUC (Media Research User’s Council).”
Expressing his delight with the results, Ghosh said, “The actual battle for listenership is being fought between the number 2, 3 and 4 stations.” He added, “We will consolidate the numbers further in the coming months. We have a slew of programming and marketing initiatives lined up to make Mirchi's position even stronger.”
Red’s Chandalia shares that the results have met their internal targets. Fever’s Chaturvedi added, “We were the last channel to launch in Delhi and the numbers indicate a very healthy growth in listenership and are progressing well as per our plans.”
However, Rajesh Tahil, Chief Executive, Radio One, observed, “We believe that the current listenership number is not representative of Radio One FM 94.3's listenership in Mumbai as there is confusion because of the frequency change and we believe that our listeners have been added to Big (those who said that they listen to 92.5).”
“It is our sense that this one is to be treated as an aberration given the confusion over frequency change that has temporarily favoured a competitor occupying a similar frequency,” he continued.
Sounding pleased with the results in Delhi, Tahil said, “In an extremely competitive market we have debuted at No. 4 behind only the established players and are ahead of all the other new FM brands in weekly reach. We are certain that after the marketing activities in Delhi and the phenomenal response to it, we will widen the gap in the next ILT.”
Big FM declined to comment on the results due to their non-subscription, stating, “As we do not believe in the ILT, we are unaware of the data.”
Players have different takes on the ILT and one thing that emerges with this is an industry debate on what should be the methodology to measure radio accurately in India.