Crystal gazing, if only I could predict the future! This is my assessment of how things would unfold post implementation of FM Phase III Policy.
Advertisers will have the option of doing a pan-India campaign sans TV as post Phase III implementation almost 90 per cent of India would be covered by FM radio. This will give advertisers a very cost efficient and interactive media vehicle.
Large untapped markets, which were inaccessible earlier, would be accessible to advertisers through FM radio airwaves, especially in Tier II and Tier III towns and their adjoining areas. Also, keeping in mind the literacy levels and paucity of power in India, battery operated FM radio becomes a potent option. With increased mobile phone penetration and almost all mobile phones being FM enabled, out-of-home listening and mobile listening will go up significantly in Indian hinterland.
Precision targeting as an option, instead of the current carpet bombing option, will be available to advertisers, geography wise.
Advertisers will also have the opportunity to not only connect with the consumers in their own language, but also fine-tune their communication in local dialect, especially in a country like India, where dialects change every 24 km. There will be an opportunity for mass customisation at a fraction or zero cost.
Advertisers can also expect a variety of content as multiple ownership of station will be possible. Broadcasters can then experiment with different genres like a jazz, retro, English music or talk format stations, which will offer advertisers focused segmentation of audiences.
Currently, radio gets 4 per cent of the advertising pie. With better penetration and coverage, radio’s share is expected to touch 8-10 per cent, resulting in the medium becoming a serious buy, which will lead to robust and broader measurement system.
With multiple options, cost of buying radio will be extremely competitive. As FM radio will evolve and become more content and brand oriented, it will also become a very important constituent of the clients’ overall media-mix, resulting in development of extensive research and media planning skill-sets.
(G Krishnan is Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, TV Today Network Ltd.)