Music to ears: Radio players hopeful of reaching pre-Covid revenue this festive season

Experts say factors such as rise in consumer spending and lifting of restrictions for on-ground events are driving the growth

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Sep 19, 2022 9:00 AM  | 8 min read
radio

After a two-year lull, the radio industry is finally hoping to witness a stronger festive period this season. While the business is yet to recover fully from Covid and reach the pre-pandemic levels of revenue, experts are optimistic that this year will be good for the industry as the sector is already exhibiting significant signs of strong recovery.

According to Rahul Namjoshi, CEO-Radio Division, MY FM, this year is far better than the earlier two years as almost all categories are registering growth. “Even the stock market is at an all-time high and we're benchmarking this festive season to 2019 (pre-Covid times). I am very confident that we will be able to breach it,” he says

Talking with the same sentiment, Nisha Narayanan, Director & COO, RED FM and Magic FM, shares that overall volumes are seeing northward trends. “For Red FM, the season has started well and volumes are back in place. But due to global macro-economic factors, where inflation is also playing its role, certain categories are yet to recover,” she adds.

The radio industry has come a long way since the pandemic. The festive season of 2022, which started with Ganesh Chaturthi and will go on till Dussehra and Diwali, is expected to fuel this recovery.

Neeraj Saraswat, CRO, Fever FM, too asserts that they are optimistic about returning to pre-Covid levels this year. “With several innovative products being launched, the channel is looking at continuous engagement with its audiences,” he says.

According to Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2022, there was a 36% increase in spend on radio in 2021 (after a 44% de-growth in 2020), but radio AdEx has failed to recover fully. According to an estimate in the report, Rs 1,733 crore AdEx in 2021 takes radio back to the year 2016, when it had registered a spend of Rs.1,749 crore. In terms of share, radio AdEx, which stood at 4% in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, now stands at only 2%, which is similar to what it achieved in 2020. 

Namjoshi shares that radio AdEx witnessed a major hit owing to Covid and special rates were offered during that period to brands as support. However, in the current financial year, they are witnessing almost normal business operations across categories.

Narayanan adds, “As a matter of fact, some of our markets will surpass 2019-2020 as well. However, there is scope for betterment in larger generation markets and categories, and we are hopeful that by the time we enter Q4, the gap will be minimal.”

According to Saraswat, after two years of pandemic-induced de-growths and slow recovery, there’s definitely more buoyancy in the market and radio business is no exception. He shares that August was the first month in the last two years when they had advertising inventories under pressure in Delhi-NCR. And from the start of Navratri, they believe, this trend will continue.

Talking about the rates, Namjoshi opines, “As an industry, all private FM channels should start demanding the right price. Being the leader in our markets, we have started the process of rate correction with our business partners and are moving in the right direction of rate recovery,” he notes. 

The FICCI EY 2022 report stated that the sector’s ad volumes recovered 29% over 2020 but are still 6% behind 2019 volumes. In fact, the ad rates fell 13% on an average during that period. 

According to media experts, some players in the sector have increased their pricing while others are still giving discounts on ad rates. 

“Yes, as volumes grow, all players tend to increase their pricing, we have also increased our festive pricing. This is a normal phenomenon every year followed across the industry,” says Preeti Nihalani, COO, ENIL, Mirchi.

Advertisers, meanwhile, are still being very cautious in their approach and are keeping their purse strings tight. “This is resulting in a price war of a situation among media players, which in turn is impacting the overall revenues and also the medium in general, says Narayanan. She however adds that advertisers are also blocking premium positions or properties by paying additional amounts. “I believe a good product is capable of getting its price in spite of competition and challenges.”

Talking about volumes, Saraswat shares, “From the ad-volume perspective, this festive season will be excellent for radio. From the pricing point of view though, we are still to reach pre-Covid levels. However, we expect that owing to much higher demand during this festive season, advertisers would be willing to pay us a premium for better services and for differentiated advertising environments. We are planning a 15-20% price increase during this festive period to cater to the spike in demand.”

As per the FICCI EY report, 71% of radio ad volumes in 2021 were delivered by the top five advertising sectors including services, banking/finance/ investment, food and beverages, auto and retail. In fact, these top five sectors remained the same as 2020.  

“We are also seeing certain categories spending more aggressively than others. Categories such as retail, food & beverages, automobiles, consumer durables, ecommerce, and new-age businesses like food delivery apps, aggregator platforms and payment apps will be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the spike in demand this festive season. The real estate sector has been growing in excess of 50% compared to last year. With the sector having overcome a lot of issues post the RERA implementation and slowly regaining the buyers’ trust, it will continue to invest aggressively to launch and market newer projects. Radio being one of the most favoured hyperlocal mediums for real estate, we are looking forward to a lucrative festive season,” added Saraswat. 

Narayanan shared that some of the key categories that have been very active on radio this year include dotcom, BFSI, govt, auto, industrial, FMCG, consumer durables, org. retail, real estate, shops, education and health services. “It's truly heartening to see the revival of real estate, education & shops amongst top categories this year, confirming that radio is heading towards better revenues and growth.”

Talking about the factors that is driving growth this season, Namjoshi shared that the festive season adds up to 25-30% of revenue for all major categories. “People are at ease and looking forward to an exciting festive season after a hiatus of two years owing to Covid restrictions.”

Nihalani shared that the rise in consumer spending is one of the biggest factors driving growth during this festive season. Consumers are back in full swing after two years of subdued festivities, and hence, brands are actively deploying strategies to connect with and cater to them.

Since radio is hyperlocal, it will always be used to advertise for retail education, real estate FMCG and public services. We also see retail, lifestyle, events, real estate and education bouncing back from the pandemic as we witness the volume growing and revenue improving month on month. Also, during the festive period, all key advertisers and segments will utilise the medium's ability as it helps in fraternising with all other mediums as a multiplier for reach and frequency.”

With the restrictions lifted, radio players have also started doing their on-ground events and the non-FCT revenues contributed an average of 15% of their total revenues, according to industry reports. FICCI EY report predicts that radio advertising will grow at a CAGR of around 8% over the next three years, while non-FCT revenues could grow at 17% or more. 

“Fever FM is also coming up with innovative on-ground IPs which aim to provide distinct and matchless consumer experiences through meticulous curation of entertainment content as well as handpicked F&B options. We have an exciting line-up of events starting November and going on all the way till February. These events and IPs will offer unique opportunities for brands to reach out to targeted audiences and create mass awareness about their brand or product, create experience zones to induce interest and finally generate lead for conversions,” said Neeraj Saraswat. 

Similarly, Nihalani shared that at Mirchi, nearly one-third of revenue comes from ‘solutions’ offerings by creating digital content (audio/video), impact property, and customized multimedia solutions for the clients. 

“Now that the fear of any curbs related to the pandemic is not a big concern, our ‘solutions’ business, especially where we were offering on-ground connect with audiences to brands, has also started scaling back to pre-pandemic levels. This year, after a gap of two years, we will be hosting various on-ground events, bringing back the physical format. One of our most popular dandiya events, Rock n Dhol, is coming back with full vigour,” he said.

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ENIL buys stake in music e-learning platform Spardha

The company said that the partnership signals its interest in strategic investments to build shareholder value in the long term

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 16, 2022 9:19 AM   |   2 min read

ENIL

Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL), which operates the FM radio channel Mirchi, has acquired a significant minority stake in music e-learning startup Spardha. This is ENIL’s first external investment. The company said that this partnership signals its interest in strategic investments to build shareholder value in the long term. Also, this would make Mirchi’s own digital transformation as a mobile-first entertainment brand. 

Spardha, founded in 2020, caters to individuals with specific learning demands and addresses problems in music education. The music e-learning startup offers various courses for all age groups by curating an extensive curriculum and onboarding certified trainers for students.

Speaking about the investment, ENIL CEO Yatish Mehrishi, was quoted by media reports saying that the company is keen to explore a number of new areas and e-learning was one such space. “Over the past two decades, Mirchi has become synonymous with best-in-class music and entertainment. Even as we transform into a mobile-first entertainment brand and are busy building out our Mirchi Plus app engine, we are keen to explore a number of new areas. We can build those in-house, or we can invest outside. E-learning was one such space, that we were interested in building from a D2C standpoint, but it was best that we invest in a sector leader like Spardha, rather than build inside ENIL”, Mehrishi said.

Spardha founder-director & CEO Saurabh Srivastav expressed happiness over the partnership with Mirchi and said that Mirchi’s strong presence in the markets will help Spardha optimise its branding & marketing strategies to penetrate deeper into those international markets at a faster pace. “I feel thrilled about this new partnership with ENIL. We at Spardha strongly believe that there are multiple opportunities where Spardha & Mirchi can collaborate in the common interest of helping Spardha grow faster & improve its brand visibility in the market”, Srivastav said.

“Spardha looks to gain from Mirchi’s prowess in building strong consumer-facing brands, its deep engagement with the film & music industry as well as its ad-revenue and B2B sales ecosystem. On behalf of team Spardha, I would like to thank ENIL management for their investment in Spardha. Looking forward to an exciting & successful partnership with Mirchi”, Srivastav further added.

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ENIL Q2 revenue jumps 50% to Rs 108.5 crore

EBITDA for the quarter up 115.6% to Rs 20.96 crore

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 12, 2022 8:01 AM   |   2 min read

ENIL

Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL) has reported a 50% growth in consolidated revenue at Rs 108.5 crore in Q2 FY23 compared to Rs 72.4 crore in Q2 FY22. The company said the revenue growth was primarily driven by a 45.7% growth in radio and 57.7% in solutions.

Operating expenditure increased 40.2% to Rs 88.37 crore from Rs 63 crore. The company noted that the cost economisation initiatives continued to reap benefits as operating costs (excluding digital business and DVC) were lower than in Q2 FY20.

EBITDA for the quarter jumped 115.6% to Rs 20.96 crore from Rs 9.72 crore. The company stated that the EBITDA would have been even better if it excludes the Rs 5.8 crore investment in the digital platform. The company's net loss shrank 95.1% to Rs 50 lakh compared to Rs 10.8 crore.

ENIL has made an impairment provision of Rs 15.15 crore in its Mirchi US and Bahrain businesses on account of Covid-19, the weak global economic situation, and the business environment in most countries.

It noted that this impairment has no impact on ENIL consolidated results as losses were already booked in earlier years. Further, the company has made a provision of Rs 2.63 crore for the relevant onerous contracts in international markets which it intends to discontinue from its operations.

Commenting on the results, ENIL MD Prashant Panday said, "After two consecutive Covid-impacted years, we had a good Covid-free Q2 this year. Mirchi’s business rebounded strongly with solid growth of 50% in revenues and 186.3% in EBITDA over the last year. Mirchi’s market share has grown by nearly 4% since Q2FY20. It is heartening to note that core EBITDA is now just 7% short of the pre-pandemic year FY20. We expect strong growth from here on. Our Solutions business and the new digital platforms – the Mirchi Plus app and the MPing audio ad network – have received a warm welcome and will drive Mirchi’s growth in the coming years.”

The company said its digital platform Mirchi Plus App, which was launched in India on July 1, 2022, has received an encouraging response.

It has signed an agreement to acquire an initial stake in Spardha Learnings.

ENIL has also expanded its digital products portfolio with the launch of MPing.

As on 30th September, the company's balance sheet remains strong with cash reserves of Rs 227.1 crore.

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RAM Ratings Week 37'22 - 40'22: Fever FM rules Mumbai and Delhi charts

Big FM took the lead in Bangalore and Radio Mirchi topped in Kolkata

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 9, 2022 8:10 AM   |   1 min read

RAM

According to RAM Ratings for Week 37'22 - 40'22, Radio Mirchi has Mumbai and Kolkata charts, while Fever FM ruled in Delhi and Big FM in Bangalore.

In Mumbai with over 12.2 million listeners above the age of 12, Radio Mirchi has been reigning supreme for years topping the listenership charts. However, in this four week period, Fever FM triumphed over Mirchi, gaining 17.6% market share. Radio Mirchi was relegated to the second position with 17.3%. Red FM took the third spot with 15.2%. Listenership peaked between 10 am and 11 am.

In Delhi, in a universe of 16.5 million listeners above the age of 12, Fever FM bagged the top position with a 21.5% share. Radio Mirchi FM stayed steady with a 14.5% share, with no gain or loss.  In the third position was Punjabi Fever with a 13.2% share. Most listeners tuned in between 9 am and 10 am.

In Bangalore, Big FM took the lead with a 30.7% share. The second spot was bagged by Radio City with 27.7% share down -0.6%. The third spot was Radio Mirchi with a 15.4%. Most listeners tuned in between 7 am and 8 am.

Kolkata saw Radio Mirchi topping the charts, staying steady with a 28.3% share in a universe of 9.1 million listeners. Big FM came second with a 24.7%. Fever FM had a 13.8%. In Kolkata the listenership peaked between 9 am and 10 am.

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RAM Ratings Week 36'22-39'22: Radio Mirchi ahead in Mumbai and Kolkata

Fever FM topped in Delhi and Big FM in Bangalore

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 5, 2022 9:47 AM   |   1 min read

RAM

According to RAM Ratings for Week 36'22 - 39'22, Radio Mirchi has Mumbai and Kolkata charts, while Fever FM ruled in Delhi and Big FM in Bangalore.

Mumbai with over 12.2 million listeners above the age of 12 saw Radio Mirchi on top with 18.3% market share. Fever FM gained ground on the second spot with a 17.%6 share. Red FM took the third spot with a 15.1%. The most popular time slot was between 9 am and 10 am.

In Delhi, in a universe of 16.5 million listeners above the age of 12, Fever FM bagged the top position with a 21.5% share. Radio Mirchi FM stayed steady with a 14.4% share, with no gain or loss.  In the third position was Punjabi Fever with a 13% share. Most listeners tuned in between 9 am and 10 am.

In Bangalore, Big FM took the lead with a 30.7% share. The second spot was bagged by Radio City with 27.7% share down -0.6%. The third spot was Radio Mirchi with a 15.7%. Most listeners tuned in between 7 am and 8 am.

Kolkata saw Radio Mirchi topping the charts, staying steady with a 28.9% share in a universe of 9.1 million listeners. Big FM came second with a 24.6%. Fever FM had a 13.3%. In Kolkata the listenership peaked between 9 am and 10 am.

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Radio City's parent company records 16% revenue growth in Q2

Music Broadcast Limited's net profit nosedived by 65% to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 30 lakh

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 4, 2022 1:51 PM   |   3 min read

radio city
Music Broadcast Limited (MBL), the owner of Radio City, has posted 16% growth in revenue at Rs 48.6 crore for the quarter ended 30th September compared to Rs 42 crore in the same quarter of the last fiscal. 

Operating profit for the quarter declined 5% to Rs 8.9 crore from Rs 9.4 crore. Net profit nosedived by 65% to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 30 lakh. Total expenses increased 15% to Rs 53.3 crore from Rs 46.3 crore.

The company recorded a market share of 18% (Aircheck 15 Markets), primarily due to the refusal of low ER Clients. It added that 40% of the total clients and 37% of the new clients on the radio platform have advertised on Radio City.

During the quarter, the company's collection stood at Rs. 56.47 crore, of which the collection from the government was Rs. 5.18 crore. MBL had cash and cash equivalents of Rs 284 crore, as of September 30th, 2022.

Commenting on the results, MBL Director Shailesh Gupta said, “The return of advertising volumes witnessed over the last quarter continued in the current quarter as well, with the industry growing by 20% YoY. Our resilience through the tough times has paid off, as we stand on a strong footing both in terms of market share and a strong omnichannel presence which helps us leverage our deep networks and relationships and offer maximum value to our customers. In line with our guidance over the quarters, some of the costs saved were permanent in nature, however, some business-related costs have come back as a result of resumption in the normal course of business, which has led to a slight reduction in EBITDA Margins.

"On a sectoral level, the core sectors of Real Estate and Pharma continued to show promise, while Education came back in a big way. Finance too contributed a significant portion of the total volumes. Government and Auto were the laggards during the quarter, degrowing marginally, however, we do expect to see that turnaround in the next quarter owing to upcoming elections and the festive season spending."

The digital revenue of the company grew by 60% over Q2FY22. "On the digital front, we have achieved substantial growth, owing to our strong presence and reach across multiple platforms and leveraging our incredible in-house talent to deliver high-quality content and greater engagement with our audiences. This is in line with our ‘Radigitalization’ strategy i.e., digital integrations with Radio at its core, and we see sustainable benefits accruing over time," he said.

MBL garnered 35% of the revenue from Created Business - Properties, Proactive pitches, Digital, Satellite & Special days. "With new revenue efforts accounting for 35% of revenue this quarter, they have begun to represent a sizable component of our overall top line and exhibit every indication of being sustainable and continuing to support steady growth moving forward. As of September 30, 2022, the company has cash reserves totaling Rs. 284 crores, staying true to its basic principles of maintaining a strong liquidity position as a war chest to weather any storm and grasp new opportunities," Gupta said.

Regarding the bonus issue of the non-convertible non-cumulative redeemable preference shares, Gupta said that the meeting of the Equity Shareholders and Unsecured Creditors of the Company was held on Thursday, June 23, 2022, wherein the Shareholders and Unsecured Creditors have approved the scheme and thereafter the Company has filed the petition with NCLT for further course of action. We will keep you posted on the developments as they unfold.

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RAM Ratings Week 35'22-38'22: Radio Mirchi tops in Mumbai and Kolkata

Fever FM stayed ahead in Delhi and Big FM in Bangalore

By exchange4media Staff | Oct 28, 2022 1:45 PM   |   2 min read

ram

According to RAM Ratings for Week 35'22 - 38'22, Radio Mirchi has Mumbai and Kolkata charts, while Fever FM ruled in Delhi and Big FM in Bangalore.

Mumbai with over 12.2 million listeners above the age of 12 saw Radio Mirchi on top with 18.9% market share, sliding down -0.6%. Fever FM gained ground on the second spot with a 17.3% share, up 2.6 from previous week. Red FM took the third spot with a 15.4 per cent share and a 0.6% gain. The most popular time slot was between 9 am and 10 am.

In Delhi, in a universe of 16.5 million listeners above the age of 12, Fever FM bagged the top position with a 21.8% share without any losses or gains from the prior 4 weeks. Radio Mirchi FM stayed steady with a 14.4% share, with no gain or loss.  In the third position was Punjabi Fever with a 12.9% with a -0.5% loss. Most listeners tuned in between 9 am and 10 am.

In Bangalore, Big FM took the lead with a 30.6% share, up 0.3% from the prior 4 weeks. The second spot was bagged by Radio City with 27.8% share down -0.5%. The third spot was Radio Mirchi with a 15.7% up 0.3%. Most listeners tuned in between 7 am and 8 am.

Kolkata saw Radio Mirchi topping the charts, staying steady with a 28.4% share in a universe of 9.1 million listeners. Big FM came second with a 24.7% with a 0.8% gain. Fever FM had a 13.7%, losing -0.4% from the 4 weeks prior. In Kolkata the listenership peaked between 9 am and 10 am.

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RAM Ratings Week 34'22 - 37'22: Radio Mirchi tops in Mumbai and Kolkata

Fever FM stayed ahead in Delhi and Big FM in Bangalore between 21st August and 17th September 2022

By exchange4media Staff | Oct 22, 2022 8:32 AM   |   2 min read

RAM

RAM Ratings for Week 34'22 - 37'22 is out. Radio Mirchi has maintained its dream run on the Mumbai and Kolkata charts, while Fever FM ruled in Delhi and Big FM in Bangalore.

Mumbai with over 12.2 million listeners above the age of 12 saw Radio Mirchi on top with 19% market share, sliding down from its previous score with a 1.0% loss. Fever FM gained ground on the second spot with a 16.6% share, up 2.4 from previous week. Red FM took the third spot with a 15.5 per cent share and a 0.9% gain. The most popular time slot was between 9 am and 10 am.

In Delhi, in a universe of 16.5 million listeners above the age of 12, Fever FM bagged the top position with a 21.8% share without any losses or gains from the prior 4 weeks. The second spot was taken by Radio Mirchi FM with a 14.2% share, sliding down 0.3%.  In the third position was Punjabi Fever with a 13.2% with a 0.1% loss. Most listeners tuned in between 9 am and 10 am.

In Bangalore, Big FM took the lead with a 30.4% share, down 0.1% from the prior 4 weeks. The second spot was bagged by Radio City with 28%, down from the 28.3% share it had. The third spot was Radio Mirchi with a 15.7 per cent share, gaining 0.4%. Most listeners tuned in between 7 am and 8 am.

Kolkata saw Radio Mirchi topping the charts with a 28.4% share with a 0.3% gain in a universe of 9.1 million listeners. Big FM came second with a 24.6 per cent share with a 1.0% gain. Fever FM had a 13.8 per cent share, losing 0.3% from the 4 weeks prior. In Kolkata the listenership peaked between 9 am and 10 am.

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