The FM market in Kolkata has been seeing a steady order for sometime now, at least in terms of numbers. The 13-week steady trend begins from week 31 and continues in the current week 43 as per TAM Media Research’s Radio Audience Measurement (RAM). Radio Mirchi is the No. 1 FM station in Kolkata, followed by Big FM, Friends FM and Red FM.
(Going by all people 12 plus, all places of listening, whole week) Radio Mirchi is leading the pack with a market share of 22 per cent in the week 43, followed by Big FM with a 19 per cent. Friends FM, which plays both Bengali and Hindi songs, is comfortably placed at No. 3 with a share of 14 per cent in the market, while Red FM is at No. 4.
Going by these trends, Fever FM, Amaar FM and Meow FM of Kolkata have been closely competing against each other for the fifth slot. However, the week 43 ended with Amaar FM in the fifth slot with a market share of 8 per cent; Fever FM and Meow FM are next with a market share of 7 per cent.
The top four slots of the Kolkata market is more or less retained by the same set of radio stations. Radio Mirchi has managed to stay at the top for quite some time now, and so has Big FM, which has maintained its second position, barring in week 31, which has both Radio Mirchi and Big FM holding 20 per cent share of the market. Even Friends FM and Red FM have retained these slots.
Going by the current trends, it is a fight for the fifth slot that has already heated between Fever FM, Amaar FM and Meow FM. The bottom rung in the Kolkata market are mainly a collection of government stations with AIR FM1 Rainbow holding a market share of 5 per cent in the current week 43; AIR FM2 Gold is next with a market share of 4 per cent; Akashavani in Kolkata and Power FM both hold a market share of 2 per cent; while Vividh Bharti holds a mere 1 per cent share of the market in Kolkata.
Although RAM was in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore a year back, for the Kolkata market RAM has been a new experience. Four months on, radio players say post RAM they are now strongly backed by numbers and advertisers have only been reassured of their confidence in this medium.
Kolkata, post RAM
Sharing his views with exchange4media, Abraham Thomas, COO, Red FM, said, “RAM has been a valuable source of information and insight for us. The weekly information thrown up helps us monitor and evaluate specific aspects of programming on a weekly basis. It also lends credibility and accountability to our sales pitch to clients because the fact is that eventually planners buy on basis of reach and cost per million. Therefore, measurement is most critical in driving revenue in the medium and we are all for measurement and a common currency.”
He added, “In Kolkata, the top three players are all bunched together. Red FM, which is at No. 3 in Kolkata according to cume, is the advertisers’ favourite as it is the most differentiated brand with its Bajaate Raho! attitude, and also because the advertisers have nothing to choose from the rest.”
Himanshu Shekhar, Regional Head North and West, Big FM, commented, “RAM has definitely strengthened Big FM. However, in the absence of RAM, advertising was done on a perception basis. RAM actually brought objectivity in evaluating the radio station in Kolkata and that in turn has helped the whole industry. Just as money is important for any individual, so also numbers are important for radio stations because numbers convert into revenue.”
“We are very happy with RAM as it has helped us increase our sales, especially the local retail sales. It has also helped us evaluate our programming,” Amritendu Roy, Business Head, Friends FM, said, adding, “In terms of revenue, we have seen a substantial growth post RAM. Though we were popular even before RAM was introduced in Kolkata, with the introduction of RAM, we are now strongly backed by numbers. Today, the advertisers get more confidence on where they are investing their money in radio.”
The numbers game
Rajneesh Chaturvedi, National Director - India, MEC Access, opined, “The local clients for radio constitute a very high proportion of the total pie of the advertising clients. Since this listenership data is slightly new not many have access to the data except for the top agencies. Numbers do help radio stations, however, it is content and presentation that are the differentiating factors that help drive up the numbers.”
Sandeep Lakhina, Managing Director, India - West and South, Starcom Worldwide, said, “By and large numbers are important for any radio station, and wherever the data is available, it gives you an additional leg to ratify ones decision. I believe it is the kind of content they provide and the marketing they do that also play an important role in the success of any radio station and like any other category these brands are trying to create a differentiation in the minds of consumers.”
Chandradeep Mitra, President and Head, Mudra Max, added, “Yes, numbers are important for advertisers, but we don’t look at one week’s numbers, instead we look at trends and as long as RAM data is available, it has the biggest influence on our decisions. For a radio station to differentiate itself from the rest, the most important factor, I believe, is the product. The second most important factor would be marketing, and the third factor is loyalty.”
See graph given below
RAM Rambling: Big FM emerges clear leader in Bangalore
RAM Rambling: Tough fight for the top slot in Mumbai