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Radio’s future: Looking at the sunny side up

27-May-2011
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Radio’s future: Looking at the sunny side up

Radio is a growing medium, however it forms a very small share of the advertising graph. What are the ways to overcome this? Can radio emerge as a standalone medium? These are very pertinent questions that the radio industry is being asked over and over again.

With the FM Phase III round the corner, head honchos of the industry are very optimistic about the growth of the medium and its positioning vis-a-vis other mediums.

Radio as a marketing medium
Tarun Katial, CEO, Big FM, said, “Inherent qualities of radio are it is dynamic, current and topical. Radio has the ability to supersede TV and print issues as it can constantly be in touch with the listeners. The credit is to be given to the teams in totality – despite single channel all across we provide the listeners with all the flavours and cater to all tastes. We are able to serve different kinds of audiences. We have a variety.”

Prashant Panday, Executive Director & CEO, Radio Mirchi, remarked, “At the end of 10 years of being in the industry, I call it a very sexy medium- its young, its peppy and sunshine business. It lifts your senses. It’s personal. Newspapers occupy news business so it is viewed more during mornings, television similarly occupies the evening space. Rest of the day belongs to radio and internet. Next is its easy connectivity. Advertisers today have realised the importance of this medium by far.”

Radio in smaller cities
Harrish M Bhatia, CEO, MyFM, said “I think small markets have a larger scope. The space that internet has taken in metros is taken by FM in small towns. This is a very flexible medium. Due to higher power cuts in these places the listenership of radio goes up.”

Speaking on the small town viewership, Rahul Gupta, Director, Radio Mantra, said, “Radio is a newer medium in smaller markets. It is now getting to become a part of people’s daily lives. I see people in Gorakhpur wearing earphones while riding their scooters. The kind of listenership we enjoy in smaller towns is great.”

Rana Barua, Business Head, Red FM, added here, “It’s an opportunity for the industry. The habits of people change constantly for print and television. Radio is music based hence we have to go by the taste of the listeners. It’s more of a one on one medium. Smaller markets as of now are a ‘boom’ for us. The responses from these markets are overwhelming.”

Advertisers’ response towards radio
G Krishnan, Executive Director and CEO, Oye FM, said, “Many purchase managers have become media buyers and they further look for lowest rates which is not a great sign. Tendency of clients and agencies is to negotiate. They need to understand that it is not only numbers but content in itself is a substantial subject.”

Different approach towards marketing
Suman Srivastava, Founder & Innovation Artist, Marketing Unplugged, remarked, “If something like this was to happen then we have to come up with other solutions. First can be a different idea, we should aim elsewhere. We should not focus on only national advertisers but also local advertisers. Second is the DIY (do it yourself) model, for instance advertising on Google one does not need to go through tedious sales and marketing chains third idea is direct response like magazines. For any of this to happen, content integration is very important.”

This discussion took place under the aegis of the India Radio Forum (IRF) on May 26, 2011, convened by the Indian radio industry.

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