Radio Audience Measurement (RAM), the radio listenership service from TAM Media Research, is over a year old now. The radio industry, barring a few exceptions, is already referring to the data closely, and the advertiser fraternity is using what they can from the data for guidance in making key media decisions.
For a long time, Mumbai has shown a set order for the FM players here, and some set perceptions are already formed. Data shows that action in the space is heating up further. It is yet quite early to state whether recent numbers have been a flash in the pan or the beginning of new trends. exchange4media takes a close look at the competitive dynamics in FM radio in Mumbai.
RAM data shows that for the target all 12-plus in the Mumbai market, for all places of listening, Red FM has been a clear dominant player when the share percentage data for the various stations is seen. Data for the last 12 weeks (weeks 30 to 42) show that Red FM, which has been an undisputed leader for quite some time, has some intense competition to battle.
Big FM and Radio City are giving Red FM a tough time for the top slot. The two stations have shared and Big FM has even replaced Red FM once in the top slot in the last three weeks. Not that a three-week data changes trends, but the point to note is that in the recent weeks, the difference between the three stations is not much.
Red FM has seen a consistent lead, but the top rung in Mumbai sees a neck-and-neck fight between these three FM players.
The next line of fight sees Radio Mirchi largely move between the number four and number five slots. There are the occasional weeks when it gets into the top three as well. Closely competing with Mirchi is none other than is AIR FM2 Gold. However, AIR FM2 Gold has seen some drop in its listenership in the last few weeks, and now looks settled on the fifth slot. The number six position is taken by Radio One that has more or less held on to its numbers without showing any major gains or drops.
The last rung of stations in the FM space in Mumbai comprises private players Fever FM and Meow FM and a series of government channels that include AIR FM1 Rainbow, Vividh Bharti and Akashavani. Fever FM stays ahead of the rest in this rung followed by the government stations and Meow FM.
Players like Radio Mirchi have yet not let go of the apprehensions that they had at the time of RAM launch a year back. Voicing similar views again, Nandan Srinath, COO, Radio Mirchi, said, “RAM is not very high in accuracy in our minds. As far as IRS is concerned we are the number one player in Mumbai.”
The long running number one player according to data – Red FM – believes that there is a clear formation of players in Mumbai, and that is not set to change. Anuj Singh, National Marketing Director and Station Head, Mumbai, Red FM, said, “Very clearly most stations have their strengths as per as the city. There is no doubt that four players are doing well in Mumbai, and there is tough competition but we are the clear number ones here. I see this formation to stay, as Mumbai is a very critical market, and every one is continually evolving to do better than the others.”
Himanshu Shekhar, Regional Director, Big FM, on the other hand, said, “The big point here is that Big FM has come from the rear, and has done well for itself in the last three weeks continuously. For any change in trends or set patterns to happen, there would be a point of beginning – the past would always show the route to the future. People should take cognizance of that.”
For Red FM, the last three weeks don’t make a difference. Singh said, “There are different parameters in which stations can score. If I had to throw a number here -- we have been number one with a substantial lead in the cumulative listenership numbers in the last three weeks. Media planners or clients don’t look at that data like that. The idea is to see trends and consistency over a significant period of time.”
Shekhar also said that this had created more options for advertisers. He observed, “From a one-player domination market scenario, now there is another very close competitor and two options that are doing well. This gives advertisers also more choices, and creates opportunities for everyone.”
Ashit Kukian, Executive Vice President and National Sales Head, Radio City, said, “All our efforts -- from all aspects to our content and all other activities -- are clearly catered to the SEC A and B audience, which is our core TG. We work very hard with our own research teams to identify the need gaps for this TG. This focus is one reason why we have reached this position, and we believe that we will continue to do better in times to come.”
Radio One, too, stated that they focussed specifically on the SEC A and B TGs. The station’s Programming Head Vehrnon Ibrahim, explained that they were “the number one player in Mumbai for this TG”.