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Wishlist 2009: Music royalty issue, Phase III rollout, news on radio high on FM players’ agenda

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Wishlist 2009: Music royalty issue, Phase III rollout, news on radio high on FM players’ agenda

2009 has set in and with begin the implementation of plans for the year ahead. exchange4media undertook a dipstick study recently to find out what all rank high on the FM players’ wishlist this year. The year promises to be an action-packed one for the industry with quite a few important developments lined up. These include the rollout of Phase III of FM expansion, news from multiple sources, multiple frequencies and the resolution of the music royalty issue, among others.

A total of 12 FM stations were part of this survey, which involved – Red FM, Big FM, Radio City, Fever FM, My FM, Friends FM, Tomato FM, Radio Choklate, Radio Indigo, Radio Mango, Club FM, and Big River Radio, a consulting firm specialising in setting up and management of radio stations.

Key findings

According to the findings, 50 per cent of the respondents wished that the issue of music royalties be solved first and foremost, and only then the rollout of the Phase III FM expansion. 41.66 per cent of the FM players voted for news from multiple sources and multiple frequencies, while only 8.33 per cent wished for the Phase III rollout as soon as possible.

What they see

Nevertheless, Phase III policy is the most awaited in the industry. However, there is a section in the industry that believes that unless the music royalty issue is solved, it would be unwise to participate in the Phase III bidding. Some have even said that music royalties are bleeding the Indian radio industry, particularly those in smaller towns.

According to Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City, and President, AROI, “The 10 most important trends to look out for in 2009 in radio are increased spends on radio, broadcast of news, sports and current affairs on private FM, albeit with telecasts being tightly controlled, consolidation between players via mergers and strategic sales alliances, increased niche offerings to the listener with multiple frequency ownership allowed in Phase III, further growth in the reach of radio spurred by a variety of niche offerings, segmentation of audiences as evolving listeners identify with and develop stickiness for specific stations, rise in levels of listener engagement, stability in people movement as stations build capabilities around their long term talent, the music industry hopefully working in conjunction with the radio industry, and the advertiser focusing on the fantastic ROI of radio vis-à-vis being fixated with reducing ER (effective rate).”

Harrish M Bhatia, COO, My FM, and VP - Northern Region, AROI, said, “All three of them are critical and important to the growth of radio industry. I wish to see the radio industry grow in stature as an important means of communication, not just for the marketers but also for the media planner. And I wish that the radio industry advertising pie grows in the coming year. And as an industry player, we will put our heart and soul to achieve it. This will require focused working with lot of intensity, passion and purpose.”

Shreyams Kumar, Director, Electronics Media, Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Co, observed, “Phase III rollout, allowing news from multiple sources, multiple frequencies and the music royalty issues are all very important for us. I am looking forward to a great 2009 and not let the economic slowdown hit us. We will come out unscathed.”

Sunil Kumar, MD, Big River Radio, noted, “Let there be a lot many radio stations in 2009, because the more force we are, the more power will we have to compel the Government to do what we want. The more stations we are, the greater force we have and, therefore, more money for radio.”

Naval Toshniwal, CEO, Tomato FM, pointed out, “Music royalty is eating up our entire revenue pie, making radio a very unfeasible medium, even leading to lack of manpower and infrastructure. Our entire business dynamics depends on the music royalty issue, therefore, it becomes important to solve this issue first as it will only help the industry grow faster.”

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