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Nisha Narayanan

COO | 16 Jul 2013

There is an overall upbeat mood right now and we expect the trends to continue. At times, due to the macroeconomic environment, one feels that there can be reasons to worry, but then radio still being a medium which has to be fully explored by a majority of advertisers, especially in the smaller and upcoming markets, one is optimistic and positive on the industry’s growth. Also, there are opportunities like the festive season, elections and Phase III that are at the door, giving us enough reasons to be buoyant on the prospects of growth.

Nisha Narayanan, COO, Red FM has more than 12 years of experience and began her career as a journalist. Narayanan has been working very closely with the radio industry and understands the problems faced by the medium to the core. In her career span, Narayanan has worked across organisations such as Times FM, RBC Radio (satellite radio), educational channels like Gyan Vani and commercial FM stations.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Saloni Surti, Narayanan speaks about AdEx on radio in 2013, how radio is leveraging digital, radio’s growth prospects and other relevant issues.

Q. It is very important for radio players to now have digital presence. What are Red FM’s plans for digital?

Digital presence is absolutely critical and we do have our plans. Announcements to this effect will soon be made. Digital, with the spread of mobile technology and affordable bandwidth, has become an excellent tool to engage our listeners and advertisers alike. Radio stations aim to become an integral part of listeners’ daily lives and the task does not change much on the digital platform. When you look at some of the websites of stations in the US and the UK, what they have is ever changing compelling content. Radio stations can look at building communities which are not limited to just their on air persona and eventually offer them to advertisers for greater gains.

Q. How else can radio players leverage digital?

Digital offers you that flexibility and we must make use of it. The challenge is to offer a streamlined, easy to navigate, dynamic website featuring compelling and engaging on-demand content. Our research and product teams are currently working on the development of suitable content format for this new foray of ours. We will be pleased to share once a decision on the subject has been taken.

Q. Who are your major advertisers pan India?

The FMCG category was the biggest, with the likes of P&G, HUL, Pepsi, etc., as in the case of any media. Other than that, retail and realty grew to give a very close competition to FMCG.

Q. How has the first half of 2013 been for Red FM? Please summarise in terms of content and AdEx.

For radio overall, H1 FY2013-14 is better than the previous year, and Red FM has done much better than the market in the corresponding period. While AdEx volume saw double digit growth over H1 of FY2012-13, Red FM’s growth is double the market growth. Even on comparing it with H2 of FY2012-13, one can see that H1 FY14 is maintaining the trends of organic growth over last year.

Q. What are your predictions about the second half for AdEx movement?

There is an overall upbeat mood right now and we expect the trends to continue. At times, due to the macroeconomic environment, one feels that there can be reasons to worry, but then radio still being a medium which has to be fully explored by a majority of advertisers, especially in the smaller and upcoming markets, one is optimistic and positive on the industry’s growth. Also, there are opportunities like the festive season, elections and Phase III that are at the door, giving us enough reasons to be buoyant on the prospects of growth.

Q. On-ground integrations have been helping radio extensively so far. However, can we say that digital is now taking its place?

On-ground has always been an integral part of radio and in fact, has been a key element in the marketing mix, which has helped us build our ‘Baaate Raho’ positioning. Digital, of late, has surely gained prominence and in fact, is part of all the campaigns now. Our latest campaign, ‘Crime Ki Keh Ke Lenge Season Two’, uses OOH and digital as the prime communication medium, besides on-air.

Q. How is Red FM fighting the woes of mass content format?

Red FM has always managed to do mass programming and yet managed to create a differentiation. We have regularly innovated to keep the brand afresh and differentiated.

Q. A few months ago, there were conversations about even traffic update being a form of news. What is Red FM’s take on that?

A lot of people consume radio on the go, while driving and traffic updates are important for them to remain updated on real time traffic scenario. Most stations do traffic updates on a daily basis, and labelling them as news would be incorrect. Traffic updates, I would say, have become hygiene programming and listeners do expect them on radio. Any deviation will surely irate the listeners.

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