Competition seems to be hotting up in the radio marketing segment, in 2004. This will mainly be on the back of two factors: One, companies planning to strongly focus at the rural market in order to promote their radios. And, secondly, through the frequency modular (FM) boom. As part of the strategy, industry experts too feel that since radios are considered to be the rural market’s window to the world, its the peak time for companies to implement new strategies.
To start with, Philips India Ltd which is a market leader in the segment, is planning to increase its physical reach, and, double its distribution network for ‘Philips’ radios by pentrating further in the rural market, in the year 2004. As part of its marketing strategy, the company will participate in local melas, local events, all India radio jingles, and, wall paintings.
Although this is part of Philips’ long-term strategy to promote its radios in the rural market, the short-term marketing tactics is also to cash in on the India-Pakistan Cricket Series which will enable a huge number of rural population to view and listen to the Cricket Series, Ms Richa Singh, assistance product manager, told FE.According to Ms Singh: “With the new initiatives, Philips India hopes to garner a double digit volume growth for radios, this year, as compared to the single digit growth, during the previous corres- ponding period. At present, the overall volume growth for radios is around 8 per cent.”
On the other hand, Sansui Ltd which is already selling its VCD Systems with built-in FM targeted at the rural segment, hopes to garner a volume growth of around 20 percent, this year. Said Mr Anil Khera, director - marketing, Sansui Ltd: “Slowly, and gradually, the VCD systems segment in the rural market will get shifted to the DVD systems this year. And, as part of the strategy, we hope to sell at least half a million pieces of VCD and DVD players across the country, this year, as compared to the 50,000 pices we had sold during the previous corresponding period. With the move, we feel that we should be able to achieve the respective volume growth in the rural segment, as well.”
As part of its distribution strategy, Mr Khera informed that in order to widen its distribution reach for VCD systems with built-in FM, Sansui Ltd is now planning to focus on district wise distributor to focus on the rural market. “As part of the strategy, each state will have atleast 25 to 30 distributors. These distributors will then have an independent 25 to 30 counters under their belt in each state.
At present, of the existing 6,000 dealers through which Sansui currently markets its CTVs, VCD and DVD players with built-in FM, 35 per cent of the dealers cater to the rural segment,” he explained.
Further, in an effort to capture the frequency modular (FM) boom, Philips India Ltd is also planning to introduce new range of ‘Philips’ Pocket Radios to cater to the FM cities in major metroes, in the second quarter of the year 2004. With the move, the company hopes to garner a volume growth of double digit, within a year.
Although Sansui has not rolled out pocket radios in the Indian market, the company has knocked off the cassette deck from its music systems which has an in-built FM recently. Even then, the ‘Sansui’ music syustems with built-in FM is taking off well in the Indian market, informed Mr Khera. “We are currently rolling out ‘Sansui’ lifestyle music system at the rate of 50,000 pieces per annum with built-in FM. And depending on the consumer response, we may look at expanding its volume growth, as well,” he added.
According to Ms Singh: “In a global tie-up between Philips and Nike, Philips India Ltd plans to introduce five new models of ‘Philips Nike’ wearable electronics based on the advanced technologies such as hard disc download (hdd), MP3 players, and, juke box, in the year 2004. At present, Philips intenrationally has the presence of the five new products.”
When contacted Mr Ravindra Zutshi, director - sales, Samsung India, said: “We are planning to introduce at least six to seven new models of our mini and micro audio systems with new advanced features in the year 2004. Besides, we are also planning to set-up 80 to 90 Samsung Home Theatre Systems counters within our exlcusive ‘Samsung’ counters, in the premium retail showrooms, across the country, this year. Since the basic feature of any audio system has always been FM, Samsung’s 9 cd-based audio systgems, 2 MP3 ‘Yepp’, and, one ‘CD Yepp’ audio system which can play MP3 in CD format is currently available through 8,000 dealers, 21 ‘Digitsal Homes’, and, 25 ‘Digital Plazas’, across the country.”
According to Mr Zutshi, with the new marketing intiatives, Samsung India hopes to grow its market share in the CD-based audio system.