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There’s an urgent need to de-commoditise radio: GroupM’s Vikram Sakhuja

20-May-2010
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There’s an urgent need to de-commoditise radio: GroupM’s Vikram Sakhuja

The India Radio Forum 2010, held in Mumbai on May 19, brought the radio industry under the scanner and addressed issues ranging from effectiveness of the radio medium, pricing and frequency planning to the growth drivers and opportunities. Vikram Sakhuja and Abdul Khan threw more light on the radio industry in their special addresses.

Holding fort on the first session of the day was Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, South Asia, GroupM, who spoke on ‘Is radio playing on your mind?’ He commenced his addressed by citing some statistics – radio has grown 36 per cent CAGR since 2002 and has grown from 2.2 per cent to 4.4 per cent of Adex.

He went on to talk about why people used radio and spoke about some pointers such as radio was a frequency medium, it was as much an intimate and intrusive medium as it was an interactive medium. “Radio is fighting desperately for its share,” he added.

Sakhuja further noted that the radio medium was being positioned as a frequency medium or a support to activation. He stressed, “There is an urgent need to de-commoditise radio. Reach/ frequency planning will help build up across stations and dayparts and it will increase accountability on implementation.” He also wondered whether radio could be made a standalone medium for continuous brand plans.

“The factor of pricing and efficiency should also be considered when it comes to radio as radio spots cost as much as national TV spots do. Some steps which can help grow this medium include de-commoditising the inventory by encouraging use of RAM and repositioning radio not as a frequency, but a standalone medium, capable of delivering reach,” he concluded.

Abdul Khan, Advisor to MD and Senior VP, Tata Teleservices, spoke on ‘Making Waves - Towards, 2012’. He started out by saying that existing media structures were collapsing and that mass marketing and mass media symbiosis would erode further. “We are constantly moving towards a new digital world, but it will not entirely replace the old world,” he said.

Khan further said, “It is estimated that radio will be a Rs 1,200-crore industry by 2010. With 750,000 villages in India, radio can be a welcome addition to VAS (Value Added Services), where voice is a primary access mode.”

He felt that radio should also offer an enhanced digital experience and should have a makeover of its business model and be willing to experiment. “Radio should create more consumer touch points. Moreover, the radio industry needs to create and nurture talent and should offer more power to the listener,” Khan emphasised while concluding his address.

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