In little over a year since its launch, Radio Audience Measurement (RAM), the radio listenership service from TAM Media Research, has been able to gain widespread acceptance as an industry measurement. Now, radio players are seeking expansion of RAM services beyond the four metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata – and go pan India. RAM service will be launched in Hyderabad and Chennai soon.
At present, India has around 260 FM stations, most of whom keep track of trends through their own measurement systems. The rollout of Phase III FM expansion will enable FM players to further expand their reach in Tier II and III towns.
Yea to RAM
Speaking on the need for introduction of RAM in more markets, Rana Barua, Executive Vice-President and National Head - Programming and Marketing, Radio City, said, “We certainly require RAM in newer markets based on the FM penetration and revenue potential of the cities. Classically, advertisers plan for multiple markets in their plans. Especially with RAM now being accepted as an industry measurement, like TAM, it too needs to be expanded to cover to more cities to improve its efficacy.”
He added, “We have our own robust measurement systems set up with India’s leading and most reputed agencies for monitoring listenership in non-RAM markets. These systems ensure that we periodically receive critical intelligence, which we evaluate for further action.”
Anand Chakravarthy, Senior Vice-President - Marketing, Big FM, said, “In order to keep track of trends and to know what listeners want, we organise summer training projects through which we get feedbacks from listeners. We take help from call-out research, which also helps us get feedback from our listeners. IRS is another source for us in non-RAM markets, which acts as an indicative study, though they are not designed for radio listenership.”
Harrish M Bhatia, VP - Northern Region, AROI, and COO, My FM (Synergy Media Entertainment Ltd), “We constantly conduct qualitative and quantitative checks on the brand, programming and music of My FM. We also ascertain the listenership patterns through quantitative studies. Neilsen and Hansa Research have been undertaking listenership surveys in these markets to assess the market leader and followers. These studies have thrown interesting insights not just about the media consumption pattern but also on the audience profile in these markets.”
He further said, “Although the current measurement systems are fine, having a RAM would definitely add credibility to research results and uniformity to the methodology.”
Having a different take on this, Naval Toshniwal, CEO, Tomato FM, said, “It is the local advertisers who actually speak for the station and the number of spots and extension of campaigns that they do. Participation of listeners in on-air contest and the endorsement and appreciation letters that we receive and any form of measurement that is accepted by the advertising fraternity is required, be it any market.”
Chinmay Mohanty, Marketing Head, Radio Choklate, said, “We refer through internal surveys, on-air competitions, on-ground activities and market surveys in order to check the trends, and yes, we do find the need for RAM in these markets as it will be easy for us to set our standards at the national level.”
Radio City’s Barua observed, “The advertiser response in these markets has been positive with more and more advertisers buying into the medium and also, more importantly, using the medium effectively.”
An optimistic Bhatia of My FM said, “Radio is doing well in these markets with an ever increasing listenership. As a quality source of infotainment, radio has been established in a consumer’s life in mini-metros, Tier II and III cities. Being a new medium, education on the usage of radio for advertisers and ad agencies are required, post which, once the medium delivers, given its prowess at building interactivity with the audience, radio is being received well in our markets.”
Differing a bit, Radio Choklate’s Mohanty noted, “The advertisers’ response has been lukewarm in these market and it is difficult to convince them about the medium. This is a booming advertising market and if tapped well, can do wonders for the station regarding revenue.”
Toshniwal of Tomato FM pointed out, “Locally, the advertiser response has been overwhelming right from start and it is growing by the day, though it took us some time to convince them about the medium. Corporate business is a different game, and in the absence of a measurement system in place, it is really difficult to convince the corporate advertiser about the popularity of the station. The larger-than-life image of bigger players always edges out the smaller players. However, the situation is fast changing and with a strategic approach to corporate advertisers, we have been able to break many accounts already.”
Although most players are satisfied with their current measurement systems, there is an increasing need felt for RAM or a RAM like measurement system, which would give them more credibility and help advertisers gain confidence backed by numbers.
Industry players believe that radio is seeing an increase in acceptance and its growing penetration will only further ensure a strong growth of the medium. The growth prospects of private FM stations in these markets are immense and with the local flavour and content FM stations can attract more listeners, and in turn, the advertisers.