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Phase III biggest miss of the year: Hitesh Sharma

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Phase III biggest miss of the year: Hitesh Sharma

If it weren’t for the delay in phase III, radio players would have faced almost no other barriers, because when we connect the dots, all the setbacks 2012 witnessed were related to the prolonged delay of the auctions.

“2012 has been a mixed year for the radio Industry. The biggest disappointment has been the delay in phase III. Industry is still operating with the capacity that got created in 2006-07. This is strange where the world is looking for new ways of expanding but radio is constrained by old world rules,” said Hitesh Sharma, Chief Operating Officer, ENIL.

Sharma informed exchange4media that in spite of the unstable market situation and no dramatic changes in 2012, the radio station has seen growth of almost 11-12 per cent, similar to that in 2011. He pointed out that in spite of a tough year there were a number of trends that stood out enhancing the position of radio as a media tool in the marketing pie.

Industry trends
“Listenership has stabilised to around 105 million in 2012 as per the latest IRS. We see a significant increase in radio consumption through mobile phones. It has an important bearing on programming as it is that much easier for a listener to shift to another station,” added Sharma.

Increasing consumption of radio though mobile phones has helped radio players provide a much extensive package to advertisers now, for it gives them a chance to leverage the young tech-savvy TG. Sharma explained that in the milieu of such listenership trends advertisers are no longer interested in plain vanilla FCT (free commercial time) advertising products. To survive the economic environment and leverage listenership, clients now look for more comprehensive solutions.

Consumption of radio through mobile has also opened the domain to the entire smartphone eco-system, allowing mobile marketers and brands to leverage the opportunities radio provides. 

“Our approach to provide solutions to clients and offer FCT plus has yielded significant results. We have dedicated a creative solution team in three of the biggest markets to support our sales efforts. 2012 has firmly established that innovation and solution-based approach will yield result,” Sharma explained.

Radio Mirchi did a 20-market launch of Samsung Mobile for its Champ Delux model. The activity involved taking the product to the youth and explaining its features to them (core TG) through radio as well as on-ground activation, thus giving the client a complete package.

Highs and lows
To fill the gaps created by phase III, Radio Mirchi tried to create variations through internet and on-ground activations. The network launched two new online portals – Club Mirchi and Mirchi Mix. To give the right kind of visibility, it also organised on-ground activations such as ‘Get Active’, a wellness exhibition in Delhi and Bangalore and ‘Speed up Mumbai’ which was organised during the Lewis Hamilton visit to Mumbai.

While growth in India was not as expected, Radio Mirchi garnered popularity in UAE making it for the 'Masala Awards’ among top three Asian stations in UAE.

Road ahead
Sharma explained that they have certain hopes from the environment for steady growth. They expect government to be bullish on reforms such as FDI so that the industry can look at a conducive environment for growth. He further said that in order to grow, radio players have no other option but to more consumer-centric and nimble.

Thus, with government support, if phase III rolls out fine and also other reforms are put in to actions, then 2013 can be the catalyst in creating a new era for the radio fraternity.

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