exchange4media’s premier awards property Golden Mikes, which recognises the best work in radio advertising, is back with its fifth edition. This year, the jury is being chaired by Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO (South Asia) of Dentsu Aegis Network and Chairman of Posterscope and psLive (Asia Pacific).
We caught up with him to get his views on the radio industry, which is poised for interesting times ahead in 2015.
What do you think will be the impact of Phase III auctions?
The future of radio is bright. The more licences that come in with Phase III and the deeper radio penetrates in India, it will keep becoming a more important medium. It needs to keep reinventing itself. If it manages to do so, I see a very bright future for it.
Radio still forms a very small part of the overall ad spend pie. Is this likely to change?
In proportion, I think it will increase marginally. But we have seen radio actually losing share in the overall market. I think this will get arrested and there will be an upward trend, if at all.
How do you see the radio advertising industry growing in 2015?
We expect the market to grow overall in the range of 8-10 per cent in 2015. Our estimation is that radio should probably be in line with that. However, this could change substantially if the Phase III auctions happen soon, along with deeper penetration in markets. If radio operators are able to leverage this properly, it could make a big difference.
Since most new frequencies are in Tier-III cities, will business expectations be dampened?
More and more growth is going to come from tier II or III towns in India. Radio is perhaps the best medium to reach this audience and so for many brands this could increase the relevance of the medium. Of course, it also depends on how soon the auctions take place, how the actual content rolls out in these parts of the country. But if it does happen, I see it becoming more important.
What is the main hurdle in radio advertising?
Radio, in a way, is a blind medium. So, if you use it in a mundane manner, it has a lot of negatives. On the other hand, if you turn it around, the results can be great. The key is how you can make it interactive. Today’s audience is young. They spend more time outdoors and are mobile-savvy. So, the more interactive you are able to make radio, the more it will appeal to the younger generation. This is going to be the key forward. Instead of being a one-way broadcast, if it can become a dialogue with the listener, it will make a substantial difference to the medium.
What are the main sectors that will drive radio advertising in 2015?
Radio is important for anything that is topical -- something that you want to remind people of, especially when they are on the move. A lot of social, government, financial-related advertising is what will continue to happen on radio. In fact, the FMCG sector has also used radio very well in the past. It is not the medium but how you use the medium is critical and some people are able to do it better than others.
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