Festive season - an antidote for the revival of radio industry?

Radio leaders shared factors responsible for the revival of the sector, which included industry-focused strategy, customer-centric approach, and the Covid-vaccination drive by the government

e4m by Rasika Kiran Upasani
Updated: Dec 31, 2021 9:47 AM  | 5 min read

In India, businesses experience tremendous growth of 40-45% during the festive season. This festive season, sectors like real estate, retail (textile/apparel, jewellery, furniture/home décor, shopping), medical services, BFSI, and education brought some respite to the radio industry from the early days of the pandemic. 

e4m spoke to radio industry experts to discuss revenue growth they witnessed during the festive season and the brands that contributed to their success stories.

B Surendar, COO and Director, Red FM, sharing his perspective, said, “Let me put it this way. If we split the current financial year till now into the first four months and the next four, then there is surely a big difference. While the first four months saw a dip in revenues impacted by the swift but severe and widespread impact of the Covid second wave, the past four months have been a story of a great revival. In fact, we have generated more volumes as compared to the pre-pandemic year, while the yield aspect has scope for improvement.”

Asheesh Chatterjee, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Business Officer, BIG FM stated, “The festive season of 2021 has definitely given a boost to the sector. As a medium, radio witnessed a significant trajectory of close to 20% growth over 2020. It is noteworthy to see that in comparison to the pre-pandemic period as well, this festive season had a superior outcome, with 2021 volume experiencing a double digital growth over 2019. On the market share front, BIG FM is a market leader with an average of 22% volume share in Oct-Nov FY 22, surpassing its last year market share figure as well during the same period. This growth is attributed to our industry-focused strategy and customer-centric approach to tap both, our large and long-tail customers. Not only that, our market share is growing significantly in both metros and emerging markets.”

Naveen Sreenivasan, Head TRD, Media Solutions. (TRD) shared his perspective from Kerala’s point of view. Kerala experienced a good surge in the revenue figures as compared to 2020. “The festive season in Kerala begins with ONAM. This year, Kerala experienced a vibrant 2021. The festive season targeted various audience engagements and initiatives across our verticals to help brands connect with Kerala, resulting in capitalizing on the festival business opportunity.”

Further discussing how the sector gets a boost during the festive season, B Surendar stated, “Festivals have always boosted consumer spending in India as the country is more driven by sentiments than anything else. However, this year, there was a pent up demand for goods and services which led to frantic buying, after the Covid threat receded.”

Chatterjee remarked, “Festive season saw a huge pent up in consumer demand, for several reasons. With India’s Covid-19 vaccine doses crossing the 100-crore mark, people are now stepping out to explore places and get back to socializing like old times. For radio, this resulted in advertisers going all out on their marketing activities to get a share of the consumer’s spending pie. We are now targeting 30% growth in the coming quarters.”

Sreenivasan shared, “It was a breather, with continuous lockdowns and pandemic restrictions in place, the entire media industry was facing a downfall and a revival was needed to shape things up. The commencement of festive season, and govt. taking various initiatives to ensure the pandemic is in control, and encouraging industries to open up during the festivities, has in turn led to a much-needed boost for the industry along with an upsurge in sales figures.”

Brand activities and main spenders:

B Surendar shared his insights of the brand activity and main spenders during the festive season. “There is a lot of positive news for the Radio industry. Other than those already active, a lot of brands that had held back on their radio spends, have put their faith back on the medium along with a few new entrants. From the perspective of industry categories, retail verticals such as real estate and education have bounced back strongly post lockdown relaxations. Additionally, BFSI, FMCG, Local Govt, PSU’s, health and pharmaceuticals, etc. have also made a comeback. Going forward, the auto industry, which had held back ad spends due to the chip shortage issue and election related campaigns, are expected to add further momentum to the recent growth in radio revenues, provided we continue to keep the third Covid wave at bay through aggressive and proactive vaccination.”

Chatterjee shared that categories like real estate, retail (textile/apparel, jewellery, furniture/home décor, shopping), medical services, BFSI and education were the driving force in spending the most on the radio during the festive season. He added, “At BIG FM, we saw a rise in both local and national brands who leveraged from the festive season and drove awareness, boosted sales through offers/discounts, and tapped into the power of content for connecting with the customers. Other categories that also witnessed higher spends were Public Service ads, FMCG (Food Products), two-wheelers, travel and tourism, and medicinal products, amongst others. Our digital offerings such as BRO - BIG Radio Online and the recently launched BIG Living have opened the space for new categories of advertisers in the digital space. Our offering Buyadsonbigfm.com, a one-stop destination for the long tail of advertisers to create solutions, packages, buy spots and make payment at the mere click of a button has also been a game changer for us.”

Sreenivasan stated, “With restricted on ground activations for brands, there were several unique activities conducted. To name a few are ‘OTP', (Onathin Tharaam Panam), Bhagyavan, various retail, FMCG, jewellery, home appliances and automobile brands associated with us for that.” 

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