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Harshad Jain

Business Head – Radio and Entertainment | 22 May 2012

There have been a lot of conventional companies and categories advertising on radio. Sports has become a very big category – whether it is IPL or any other major sports activities. Also, petroleum companies such as BPCL and Reliance have joined the radio bandwagon. Moreover, car rentals and a lot of service related products are looking at radio. All this clearly points that radio is fast becoming a medium of choice.

Harshad Jain joined Fever FM (part of HT Media) as Business Head in October 2011 and is looking after the radio and entertainment business.

Jain has 20 years of sales, marketing and businesses experience with companies such as PepsiCo, WorldSpace and Airtel , to name a few. He is now one of the youngest business heads within the group.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Suraj Ramnath, Jain speaks about new trends in the radio space, radio advertising, potential for growth of niche channels and more...

Q. How can radio become a major platform for marketers to advertise their brands?

Marketers have to look at the cost of reach. In cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, there are close to 13-14 million consumers on a weekly basis, and touching these many consumers requires a certain level of reach. For any marketing company, both at the national and local level, radio is the most price-effective medium and it provides the most effective reach.

Q. What are the new trends you are witnessing in radio?

If you look at the history of radio listenership, it used to be more of ‘at home’ media through a transistor. But if we look at the current key trends in the radio industry, with the advent of mobile phones, radio is all about listening on the go. Secondly, radio listenership has seen a steep growth in the last couple of years. A company such as Fever FM has close to nine million listeners in Delhi at a weekly level, which is a large number. This is fundamentally being driven by the availability of affordable mobile phones and FM radio being enabled in most cars.

Another trend seen is the significant growth in female listenership, mainly housewives, in metro markets. This apart, today radio is not just about music, but is moving towards a category which I would call – music plus. Radio drama and humour is also being appreciated.

Q. Have you seen any major brand category entering the advertising space in radio of late?

There have been a lot of conventional companies and categories advertising on radio. Sports has become a very big category – whether it is IPL or any other major sports activities. Also, petroleum companies such as BPCL and Reliance have also joined the radio bandwagon. Moreover, car rentals and a lot of service related products have also got on to radio. All these clearly point out that radio is fast becoming a medium of choice.

Q. How do you foresee the radio industry five years from now?

If we look at how the radio industry was five years ago and where it stands today, I feel radio will be omnipresent at some stage in the future, where there will be more penetration and a higher number of listeners. Secondly, there will be a lot of differentiation in content with the growing usage of mobile. India has got around 960 million mobile connections, of which around 600-odd million mobiles are radio-enabled. Clearly, over the next five years, radio is going to become a part of every listener or consumer.

Q. What are the major programming and marketing initiatives undertaken by Fever FM recently?

We started the year with innovative consumer promotions that were done for Airtel, which included ‘Resolution ka solution’. Every New Year, people talk about their resolutions, we integrated that in a big way with Airtel.

We also launched a radio drama called ‘Gandhi’.

We are also the strategic partners for Indian Premier League (IPL) teams Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.

Q. What are your expectations from 2012?

Last year was good for us. We exited the year with great momentum and wish to carry that momentum through this year as well. We believe that the current financial year will be very important for Fever FM and we are bullish about our growth.

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