`Drive-Time' as opposed to television's longstanding `prime-time,' will rock the Mumbai by month-end, as the first of five private FM radio broadcasters holding licences for Mumbai, go on-air.
The first to take off will be Millenium Broadcast, promoted by the Salgaocar group. Followed by Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), Mid-Day Multimedia (both of whom plan to start broadcasting by May 1), Music Broadcast India Pvt Ltd (MBIL) and Living Media.
FM licences were auctioned in March 2000. Ten players got licences to set up 37 FM stations in 19 cities with a deadline of December 29, 2001. But due to delay in launching services, the Government set new deadlines, April 30, 2002 for Mumbai and August 31, 2002 for other metros.
A recent FICCI-Andersen report attributed the delay to some players dropping out (high licence fees, stiff conditions, high capital cost and nascent radio market entailing development costs), thereby hiking the investment burden of other consortium members.
Currently, `Radio City' from MBIL is operational in Bangalore, while ENIL has launched its `Radio Mirchi' in Ahmedabad and Indore. Millenium Broadcast's FM broadcast is branded `Win 94.6', seemingly a trend ushered in by Mid-Day's choice of `Go 92.5' for its planned service. The numbers refer to assigned frequencies, such naming a habit with broadcasters abroad too.
Unlike private FM's earlier avatar, broadcast this time is round-the-clock and facilities, from studio to broadcast, fully involve private infrastructure.
Win 94.6 will cover a radius of 120 km, targeting 5 million potential listeners around Mumbai. With drive-time spanning 7-11 AM and 5-9 PM and a 24 hour-broadcast cycle, it is looking at overall revenues of Rs 15 crore to break-even in 18-24 months' time.
Source: Business Line