The Indian Entertainment and Media Outlook 2009 from PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Indian radio industry has projected it to grow by 18 per cent over the next five years, reaching Rs 19 billion in 2013 from the Rs 8.3 billion in 2008. The Indian E&M Outlook 2009 also projects the share of the Indian radio industry in the advertising pie to go up from 3.8 per cent in 2008 to 5.2 per cent in 2013.
As India celebrates her 62nd Independence Day on Saturday, August 15, 2009, exchange4media speaks to Indian radio industry honchos to find out the one freedom the industry would like to celebrate this Independence Day. An exclusive dipstick survey.
Independent India’s independent radio?
Harrish M Bhatia, COO, My FM:
“I think the one freedom that we are beginning to see is the freedom from advertisers’ bias. The advertising fraternity has really begun to appreciate the medium of radio and we have seen extensive advertising in the last few months. Radio has finally been able to redeem itself as an advertising medium. It’s definitely a reason to celebrate.”
Monica Nayyar Patnaik, Director, Eastern Media Ltd:
“The industry as a whole has benefited with the FDI allowed in radio. Being allowed to broadcast political ads was also a good move. The decision to demerge from the parent companies allows autonomy for radio stations, and of course freedom of expression with our listeners. Radio Choklate has a superlative local connect. We know what the public likes and its sentiments, especially on Independence Day. On our radio, we would celebrate that ‘Reflection’ of the freedom of expression that our listener expects and celebrates.”
Neeraj Chaturvedi, National Marketing Head, Fever FM:
“The one freedom we would be celebrating is the medium itself, as it is a medium close to the people. This medium speaks on a one-on-one basis, it speaks to its listeners as a friend. Radio connects to the city like no other medium does.”
Tapas Sen, Chief Programming Officer, Radio Mirchi:
“The two things we at Radio Mirchi will be celebrating this Independence Day are: firstly, being the No. 1 FM station across all RAM markets – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore for around 6-7 weeks, and secondly, the freedom to provide emotional succor to millions across the country, especially in this moment of crisis through very sensitive programming and that too without agitation of any kind.”
Nirupam Sonu, Senior Vice President – Programming, Big FM:
“To use the power of the medium and our network of 45 stations to reach out to millions of people each day, across the length and breadth of the country and entertain them with the best music mix, coupled with information that enriches their lives. In short, it is the freedom to use the medium effectively to entertain India.”
Sunil Kumar, MD, Big River Radio:
“Freedom from excessive government control of the medium, Freedom from the ridiculously low rates that media agencies pay and Freedom from similarity of formats among radio stations.”
Indushekhar Sinha, Head Business Development, BBC World Service:
“Freedom to experiment is one freedom we would like to celebrate this Independence Day. It’s all about providing an ‘intimate connect’. In this age, where one scrambles for space and craves for privacy, Radio obliges and agrees to be a personal possession.”
Raj Gopal Iyer, Founder, Blue Ocean Media and Consulting:
“Freedom to be one to one with the listeners in every city/ town and be able to communicate with the people real time and be the medium to provide various forms of entertainment, information, education, tips, news, sports updates, etc., and in the bargain help build brands. The power of the medium, which is truly ‘the theatre of mind’ is the core essence to be celebrated this Independence Day.”
Reefat Rasool, Founder, Z&A Production:
“Well, I would want to celebrate this Independence Day with the thought that radio has given ‘voice’ to the voiceless masses, the freedom of radio being omnipresent, yet non-intrusive. Affordability, portability, and access indoors and outdoors give radio a clear edge over other media.”
While the industry players have different reasons to celebrate freedom, when it comes to the freedom that the industry really longs for, it still remains the freedom to air news and current affairs, multiple frequencies, infrastructure costs, and especially resolution of the long pending music royalty issue, which many in the radio industry prefer to be revenue based.