While to a layman all South Indian languages might sound alike, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam are four distinct languages with distinct forms of entertainment. Because of the awareness and pride associated with these languages, South market for private FM industry has evolved as an economy with completely different dynamics.
“Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai are just after Mumbai and Delhi – they are ahead of many northern metros such as Jaipur, Ahmedabad or Pune or even Kolkata – in terms of spending power. The only difference is in language – it is Tamil in Tamil Nadu, Kannada in Karnataka, Telugu in Hyderabad and Malayalam in Trivandrum, thanks to a vibrant and strong film industry,” said GG Jayanta, National Marketing Head, ENIL, explaining the strength and diversity of the market.
With a huge chunk of TG and hence, RoI generated from the South, marketers can no longer afford to neglect the medium. exchange4media maps the South market to understand the strength of the highly evolved listeners that can be tapped.
Within South India, there are various dissections and each individual part has different traits, thus making south a very content-rich market. Also, the TG in this part of the country looks at radio more as a companion than a mere form of entertainment, and hence requires much more rooted content.
Prem Kumar, COO, Chennai Life explained that the content strategy in South is not very different from that in metros or other tier II and III cities. “Like it is Hindi in other parts of India, it is in different languages in South.”
However, the need for serious programming is higher in south. Chennai Live offers an array of options in talk radio, with shows on various topics. Also, due to the educated, musically inclined and aware audience in South, most stations offer infotainment so as to keep the listeners tuned in.
Music consumption pattern down South differs significantly from that in other markets. “All Southern markets are very dynamic in nature when it comes to the gap between movie music release and the actual movie release, which in Bollywood is typically 4-6 weeks; so one has to be very careful on when to insert a new song in the database. Too early and it fatigues out, too late and you lose out on its popularity,” explained Kartik Kalla, National Programming Head, Radio City.
The importance of on-air and on-ground activities is also extremely high in South as UGC (User Generated Content) plays an important role. Listeners in the Southern markets are fond of interacting with RJs and tune into such activities with interest. Thus, marketers have a good scope in terms of reaching out to their TG through games and contests.
Listeners in South are well connected with radio as a medium and hence, extremely active in terms of content they wish to listen to. The audience is also culturally aware and highly interactive, thus creating the need for local engaging content.
“Expectations of TG in South are high in terms of customised content,” said B Surender, COO – South, Red FM. “They connect to players who reflect the culture in their music or non-music formats.” Surender pointed out that high intensity campaigns which are promoted across terrestrial and digital spaces pick up well in South.
Suresh Sanyasi, National Sales Director, Radio Indigo explained that listeners are still conservative in terms spending money and thus, spend only if the brand has managed to create the trust level. “Listeners in South are sensitive. They make emotional connect and look at qualitative things. They are also well informed and have higher general awareness.”
Lifestyle, which includes high-end restaurants, hotels and readymade garments, telecom, jewelry, real estate, education, and e-commerce are some of the leading spenders in the private FM space in south. Seventy five per cent AdEx is received from local players and remaining from national brands. According to experts, there is lot more space and potential in the Southern markets that can help marketers attract new TG in a clutter-free environment.
If invested with the right sensibilities, marketers can benefit immensely. One important aspect, however, is that what works in one particular South market may not work in all, explained Ashwin Padmanabhan, Business Head, Big FM. “The different nature of each market makes South a unique market. Thus, marketers should know that what works in Bangalore might not work in Tamil Nadu.”
There is a huge gold mine down South. All marketers have to do is keep in mind the need for differently sequenced content, understand the highly interactive and aware listeners and nail the uniqueness of each market.