The first edition of the India Radio Forum, which was held in Mumbai on July 13, 2006, threw light on some interesting facts. The forum hailed radio as the next big wave in entertainment, provided industry players caught the pulse of the market and delivered effectively.
Douglas McArthur, CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau, UK, opened the session by talking about radio being more effective than TV, with the former increasing advertising sales on average by 9 per cent.
His address was followed by one by Sam Balsara, Chairman and MD, Madison World, who spoke on ‘How to make Radio Rock?’ According to Balsara, radio was an intrinsic part of the older generation as there was no TV or Internet in India in the 50s and 60s. Traditionally, radio had been considered a reminder medium while press and TV were the primary mediums, he said, adding one of the key reasons for radio’s slow growth in India was that it was earlier the sole property of the government, but all that had started changing thanks to a plethora of private FM stations.
Balsara further said that radio advertising stood at Rs 200 crore in 2005 and was expected to reach Rs 270 crore by the end of 2006, a growth of 35 per cent. According to Madison’s measurement tool M-Spectra, print’s cost index in Mumbai is 220, TV is 100, TV and Radio is 72, Print and Radio is 78, while surprisingly, TV combined with Print and Radio is 52. This indicates that most effective advertising in Mumbai is a mix of TV, Print and Radio.
Radio’s ROI is also 49 per cent higher than that of TV. Balsara said, “Engagement is more important than exposure and radio offers engaging advertising. Creative agencies are not giving enough attention to radio and there is a need for radio to position itself as an advertising friendly medium.” As for the question about catching the attention of the youth who are exposed to multi-platforms, Balsara said that radio was an ideal medium as it was not obtrusive.
Saugata Gupta, Head of Marketing, Marico Industries, observed that radio was a frequency booster, it complemented other mediums, reached a mobile target, had local flavour and was about live entertainment. Marico spends 5 per cent of its advertising budget on radio and uses the medium strategically. Marico has used radio to successfully communicate about brands like Saffola and Parachute Hair Therapie.
Rahul Welde, GM-Media, Unilever South Asia spoke about ‘Using Radio in your Media Campaign’. He stressed that radio was an eternal romance for advertisers and that Unilever had since long used radio for brands like Rin, Rexona and Lifebuoy.
Omar Essack, Executive Director-Broadcasting, Kasigo Media Ltd gave some relevant tips for radio stations to differentiate themselves from the crowd.
He said, “Radio stations first need to define themselves otherwise the radio industry will get commoditised with more than 300 stations poised to start operations in the next few months. A station’s unique positioning is not about slapping your logo on every empty and available space. Stations should constantly communicate their point of difference to their listeners. This is how brands like Pepsi, Volvo, Tata and Toyota have lived on in the minds of customers. Stations also should focus on exploiting the opponents’ weaknesses, play the right music at the right time, embellish the station’s image, have a unique but real tone and style, constantly surprise listeners, entice listeners, make a difference to the world and also pay attention to detail.”
Chris Goldson, Director of Sponsorship and Promotions, Virgin Radio, UK, said that a winning combination was where radio station, listeners and brands were happy and central to all this great content. “Brands should stop getting in the way of what people are interested in and start becoming what people are interested in,” Goldson maintained.
Nisha Narayanan, Media Consultant, Radio and TV, moderated a panel discussion on ‘Quantity Does Not Equal Quality’. Panelists in this session were Vikas Varma, National Head of Programming, Radio City; Vehrnon Ibrahim, National Head of Programming, Red FM; and Anish Trivedi, Chief Managing Director, Banyan Tree.
Varma said that a show’s personality was more important than the show’s profile. A show’s success depends on its emotional and intellectual quotient and also on when it is played and how many times it is repeated on-air. Ibrahim said that India had a big enough market and there was space for more than 300 radio stations.
Trivedi said, “Listeners are concerned with the kind of entertainment that they want and when they want it. More choices mean more quality for listeners. However, innovation is what differentiates your radio station and do not insult your listeners intelligence by giving them what you think they want. Listen to your listeners’ demands and give them what they want, when they want it.”