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Ravi Nair

Director Programmes | 16 Dec 2013

We are seeing a growing trend among advertisers in using radio in their media mix. There are many first timers as well as repeat advertisers who find great value for money in this medium. Even film producers who had earlier preferred print and TV have started using radio heavily. Radio activation, too, has found many takers with considerable amounts being spent even by local advertisers.

Ravi Nair, Director - Programmes, Radio Mango has been with radio station since 2006. Nair commenced his radio career in 1994 with Times Group’s FM venture in Delhi. After a stint of 12 years with the FM station, he moved on to Radio Mango.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Deepa Balasubramanian, Nair speaks at length about the FM radio market in the South, content differentiation, marketers approach to radio as a medium and more...

Q. How has the south market shaped up in the last few years?

Consumerism is on the rise and there has been a steady growth in terms of revenue in all southern markets. Festive seasons have seen sharp spikes in ad spend.

Q. How are the consumer dynamics different in the South as compared to the rest of India?

In the case of Kerala, there has been a discernible positive shift in consumer sentiments. Kerala has always been a consumerist state. Many national and international brands have established their presence in cities such as Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. There is a mall culture growing that is driving consumption in a big way. In the metros, the mall excitement might have plateaued, but in Kerala, it remains high. A major factor could be the familiarity and comfort of mall shopping experienced in the Gulf countries.

Q. How has radio as a medium been leveraged by the marketers in the South?

We are seeing a growing trend among advertisers in using radio in their media mix. There are many first timers as well as repeat advertisers who find great value for money in this medium. Even film producers who had earlier preferred print and TV have started using radio heavily. Radio activation, too, has found many takers with considerable amounts being spent even by local advertisers.

Q. According to a report, urbanised areas will have more population, especially in Kerala. How has this impacted the radio ecosystem? How are you dealing with the change in terms of content and marketing?

Kerala actually has very little rural area. Density of population is very high and hence, it is ideal for radio. The last Census has identified towns around key cities forming the UA (Urban Agglomeration). We consciously focus on the UA, in addition to the CBD in terms of content and communication.

Q. Radio Mango has always had mass content since its inception. Is there any innovation that we could expect from the group?

We take pride in creating innovative content on a regular basis. Many of our on-air and on-ground properties have won national and international awards. We will shortly be unveiling a path-breaking product that will create a new revenue stream.

Q. Please mention about some of your regular clients.

We are proud to be associated with some leading clients such as Idea Cellular, Yamaha Motors, Bismi, Vodafone, Kalyan Silks, and Lakshmi Silks, among others. These clients have been hugely supportive of our creative ideas and events.

Q. How has the advertising activity been across radio in 2013?

We’ve had a fabulous year so far, with revenues showing impressive growth compared to last year. We’ve had several national advertisers debuting with us this year. Overall, the market has also been trending very positively.

Q. How well have you differentiates the content from your competitors?

With film music being accessible to all, the key differentiator for us is our non-music content. We take pride in our station being the most uncluttered in terms of imaging elements, productions, and even commercials.

Q. How much importance have you given to digital media? How do you integrate digital with your terrestrial radio station? What are your views on mobile presence of radio stations?

We are very serious about of our digital presence. We engage with our listeners on a constant basis on most social networking sites. Facebook and Twitter offer the best two-way communication with our audience, apart from the traditional phone and text.

There is a huge shift in the way radio is being consumed across the country. Mobile phone has replaced all other devices in bringing radio to the consumer. This also means that radio stations have started looking at the mobile phone as more than a FM receiver. More and more radio stations have started developing tailor-made apps to engage their audience wherever they are.

Q. Please share five things that marketers should keep in mind while investing on radio in the South.

1. The size of the pie isn’t all that large. There are only three main markets that have revenue potential. Entering the market at high cost will be suicidal.
2. The key markets have at least two powerful local networks, each of which are well entrenched.
3. The average spot rates in the main cities in Kerala are similar to that in most A or A+ cities in India. So plan wisely.
4. Malayalees tend to be fiercely brand loyal.
5. One size does not fit all. Concepts and communication created in one part of the country might not work here. Think local and act local, even if you are a national player.

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