With the Radio Audience Measurement (RAM, the radio data arm of TAM Media Research) going live, radio stations and agencies now have access to weekly radio data for the cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. A first for radio measurement in India, RAM is seen as a progressive step by many stations with the exception of some players such as Radio Mirchi.
Established players like Radio City and Red FM, and big names like Big FM have shown their support towards RAM. However, Radio Mirchi hasn’t subscribed to the data as it has been opposing the Diary Methodology that RAM uses.
RAM’s first findings for October 2007 do put in question Radio Mirchi’s leadership position in specific markets. However, overall it has very positive numbers for Radio Mirchi, making it the number one player on various parameters.
Nonetheless, Prashant Panday, CEO, Radio Mirchi, pointed out various aspects of the data that the station didn’t agree with. He said, “The high share that every radio station has seen suggests clearly that this is weekly research where listeners feel safe in stating that they have heard every station in the last week. Going by this logic, all the radio stations deliver far more audiences than what even cricket does!”
“Every other research has indicated that Delhi traditionally is a far bigger market than Mumbai for radio listeners – RAM is showing more listeners in Mumbai. This research is 83 per cent inaccurate. I totally disagree with the rankings it has thrown. I even don’t believe that 85 per cent of Delhi is listening to Radio Mirchi,” stated Panday.
Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City, on the other hand, said, “RAM is a huge step forward for the entire industry. RAM will provide the much needed impetus to radio by way of providing a robust and credible measurement system, which will demonstrate to advertisers the potential of their investments. With the depth and granularity that this current data can provide, media planners will now have the opportunity to match their specific groups and advertisers to radio stations and fundamentally grow the radio pie. This is the single most important step which the radio industry has taken to increase its overall revenues.”
Big FM COO Tarun Katial agreed with her. He said, “Every medium is moving towards measurement right now, and timely measurement, and not something that comes in three or six months. RAM data allows a station to plot its content, marketing and other strategies. Also, advertisers are increasing their advertising budgets – they want to know that there are measurable returns from the medium they are investing in. RAM will facilitate exactly that.”
Panday conversely stated that the Diary Methodology was something that everyone was getting out of, and that RAM should have adopted another methodology. It should be noted here that RAM’s L V Krishnan (CEO, TAM Media Research) had stated earlier that RAM would gradually move to the electronic peoplemeter methodology, and that one of the reasons to not employ this methodology already was the funds required.
The RAM methodology debate is sure to continue for a while. However, the data would be updated week-on-week. It is not long before we find out the impact of RAM on the Indian radio industry.