There have been strong speculations about SFM set to be rebranded as Red FM. exchange4media has not received any official confirmation in this regard from either Red FM or SFM despite repeated attempts.
SFM, a part of Sun TV’s subsidiary, South Asia FM, has around 45 FM stations across the country with a very strong presence in South India. Red FM, on the other hand, is present in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
It may be recalled that Sun TV Network had taken a 48.9 per cent stake in Red FM way back in 2007, which is said to have provided a common advertising sales platform for the two FM players. ValueLabs, a Hyderabad-based IT company, NDTV and Astro Group hold minority stakes in Red FM. The strategic alliance with Red FM was also aimed to further its FM radio business.
Since SFM is seen as a stronger brand in the South, will rebranding to Red FM make sense from the Southern viewpoint? exchange4media.com spoke to a few media planners to find out more.
According to Sandeep Lakhina, COO (South Asia), Starcom Worldwide, “Since SFM is a very strong brand in the South, so definitely a rebranding to Red FM will have a positive impact and add value to the synergy. While radio is usually a local medium for clients, however, having a national reach particularly where it has a strong presence certainly helps, therefore, unifying of the brands may have an adverse effect.”
Sanjay Sharma, Director, Synergy, observed, “Red FM is known in the metros – Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata – and having an extra 45 stations reach, especially in SFM strongholds mainly in the South, makes absolute sense for rebranding to Red FM.”
Kunal Jamuar, GM, Madison Media, noted, “I don’t see rebranding to Red FM making a huge impact as there is no station loyalty, but song loyalty, among the listeners. However, if there is a change in the content, then we can expect a strong possibility, especially in terms of attracting new listeners, but even from advertising point of view, I don’t see much of an impact, since the two have been in partnership for a long time now.”
If true, then possibly it would be a first-of-its-kind, wherein an FM station has a complete transition into another brand name. This could well become one of the biggest consolidations in the FM space so far, and that too before the Phase III rollout. Media planners have already given the thumbs up to the rebranding as they see it having a positive impact, particularly from the client’s perspective, keeping in mind the wider reach the FM station will now possess.