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The Meltdown: Radio players safe for now, but keep a cautious eye on market

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The Meltdown: Radio players safe for now, but keep a cautious eye on market

While the Indian radio industry remains largely buffered from the ongoing global economic crisis, the radio players are not breathing easy and are keeping a hawk’s eye on the market developments.

Speaking on the impact of global economic recession on the radio industry, Nandan Srinath, COO, Radio Mirchi, said, “The impact of the global recession on radio is yet to be seen. We are keeping an eye on the markets, however, I don’t think there will be too much of an impact on radio as the business is still small. There won’t be any slowdown in the growth of the industry.”

Himanshu Shekhar, Regional Head - North and West, Big FM, said, “As of now, we are not feeling the effects of the global economic slowdown, although we are conscious of the effects, which we believe will hit us in the near future.”

Ashit Kukian, Executive Vice President and National Head – Sales, Radio City, felt that it was too early to comment on the impact of the global economic slowdown on the radio industry. “The industry’s performance during the festive season has shown that it has not seen much of a slowdown as yet, rather it has seen a substantial growth compared to last year. However, the third quarter results will give a clearer picture about the growth of the industry,” he added.

Kukian further said, “Radio is a cost-efficient medium. During economic slowdown, advertisers who have limited resources will start using mediums that have greater efficiency. Innovations in radio advertising, which are beyond the obvious yet very relevant to the listener, create an excitement among the audience with a superlative impact on the advertiser’s business.”

Harrish Bhatia, COO, My FM (Synergy Media Entertainment Ltd), said, “With the dampened consumer spirits, the retail market is affected. Other media like television and print are expected to be affected much more than radio, which the advertisers are beginning to see as the most cost effective medium. An advertiser normally goes for the safest best in such times and radio should take advantage and deliver better to advertisers and prove its efficacy as the most cost efficient medium.”

Media agencies are, however, divided on the issue. While one school of thought believes that it is the digital media that will benefit the most from the current economic crisis, another school of thought is of the opinion that the industry has not been affected by the slowdown.

Divya Radhakrishnan, President, TME, remarked, “Radio, like any other medium, will be affected in the economic slowdown, and one of the reasons is that most of its advertising revenues come from retail advertisers. Retail, along with the financial sector has been the worst affected in this slowdown.”

Sudha Natrajan, COO and Joint President, Lintas Media Group, was of the opinion that if any media in India was bound to benefit from this global economic turmoil, it was digital media. Radio, on the other hand, would not stand to gain much from this slowdown, she added.

Sandeep Lakhina, Managing Director, India - West & South, Starcom, noted, “As of now, the radio industry has not been affected by the slowdown. However, the industry may feel the heat sometime later, but it will not be a major one. Radio will not be a major beneficiary from this global economic crisis either.”

Brining in a note of optimism in these glum times, Sunil Kumar, Managing Director, Big River Radio, said, “Radio’s time is now. The global economic crisis has not affected the retail market, hence it will continue to advertise on radio perhaps even more. It is the large corporate houses that are being affected and as a result, they are looking at low risk spending. Some may move away from television and print towards radio, hence radio stands to gain in this entire phenomenon.”

With the global economic crisis showing no signs of abating any soon, the industry is taking various steps to cut costs. At the moment, radio remains in the safe zone and it is now for the radio players to build on this advantage. Who knows what innovations and initiatives one can see in coming times from radio.

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