"Creativity, variety & choice of content are key for digital radio"

I love it when a business solves an industry problem & flourishes rather than just being an opportunistic idea, says Anil Srivatsa, CEO & Co-Founder, Radiowalla Network

e4m by Saloni Surti
Published: Jul 31, 2013 7:26 AM  | 3 min read
"Creativity, variety & choice of content are key for digital radio"

There is a ‘Pavwalla’, ‘Doodhwalla’, ‘Paperwalla’ and hence, there has to be a ‘Radiowalla’, is the opinion of the creators of the ‘Radio As a Service’ (RaaS) – ‘Radiowalla Network. The online portal was one of the first approaches to digital radio in the country. Digital radio is not the future anymore and mainstream players entering the space change the dynamics completely.

Anil Srivatsa, CEO and Co-Founder, Radiowalla Network chats with exchange4media about the digital radio landscape, Radiowalla’s competition, advertiser approach and the road ahead. Excerpts…

With terrestrial radio stations launching online streams, do you think Radiowalla’s traction has been affected?
This is good news. They have validated our presence and recognised our first-to-market advantage. However, we are not in competition with terrestrial radio stations, we are complimentary to their presence. Our RaaS (Radio As a Service) offering is designed to enable terrestrial channels to get a presence online ASAP in a very affordable manner. Besides, online is a level playing field and we are confident of what we are doing. We currently run over 34 radio stations and have the infrastructure to grow. We reach about 300 million shoppers annually via our in-store radio network. This network is a unique advantage that is not easily replicable. With this additional media inventory, we believe we will make interesting bed fellows with any FM station group.

What are the challenges faced in digital radio streaming?
I think what keeps me awake at night on this front is music licensing. Besides this, the only challenge is one’s own limitations.

How does monetisation work at Radiowalla? Are advertisers warming up to this form of radio now?
There are two types of inventory that we have available to advertisers. One via our in-store retail network and the other via our proprietary and licensed programmed content on the B2C platform, Radiowalla.in. Both these platforms have a total of five streams of revenue, so the dependence on any one is missing and combined there is a good business model in place. I love it when a business solves an industry problem and flourishes rather than just being an opportunistic idea. We are seeing keen demonstrated interest on both accounts as this sort of media has never been available on this scale before in this country. It will take some learning and we are willing to educate and learn more ourselves.

How has the Radiowalla mobile app been performing?
We are in the last phase of beta testing the app services and have fine-tuned the apps. We should be launching version 2.0 of the app shortly and once we have gathered the data we are looking for, we will make a concerted push to market it.

Are there any new innovations or content formats in the pipeline?
Innovation and differentiation are terms used in the terrestrial world. In our world it is creativity, variety, choice of content. We have launched some unique channels on the platform like Munchkin Radio – a kids’ radio format that a parent can expose their toddlers to. A channel full of learning, discovery and fun. We also have Art of Living radio performing well as a pay channel. Soon we will announce the launch of Qradio for the LGBT community. Many more shows are in the pipeline.

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