Radio industry positive about festive season spurring revival

Industry leaders share how the sector is picking up and prepping for the festivals, their plans for the season, and the growth they are expecting

e4m by Rasika Kiran Upasani
Published: Sep 8, 2021 8:59 AM  | 5 min read

With the country embracing the ‘new normal' and the authorities easing lockdown restrictions, the radio industry is all set to bounce back from the unfortunate second wave of Covid and the long hiatus enforced by the pandemic.

There is a quick rebound the sector saw after the markets opened post the second wave and also with more and more people getting vaccinated. This has positively impacted revenues for both radio and digital platforms. With a positive sentiment around, most industry players are confident that the festivals could be the saving grace for the industry. 

We spoke to the radio industry observers and leaders on how the sector is picking up and prepping for the festivals, their plans for the season, and the growth they are expecting.

According to B Surendar, COO and Director RED FM Network, revenue prospects are looking a lot more upbeat for the radio industry as we move towards the peak festival season this year. He said, "Thanks to the fast-improving market sentiments in Q2 of this financial year, revenue prospects are looking a lot more upbeat for the radio industry as we move towards the peak festival season this year. Though the impact of the second wave on Q1 business was severe, the recovery was swifter this year as compared to the previous one. The turnaround in the month of August'21, in particular, has raised our expectations and we are hopeful that things will only get better in the next 2-3 crucial months. Given the vaccination efforts and lack of significant new variants in India, one sincerely hopes that there will be no substantial Covid wave/surge going forward. Industry stakeholders are much better prepared now to handle lesser bumps and blocks that may be caused by the pandemic.”

“As a part of the service industry, it goes without saying that media industry fortunes are directly linked to the health of the overall economy. And our economy seems to be steadily bouncing back as GST revenues improve, and markets, establishments reopen across the country except for a few pockets. Consequently, a lot of industry categories that advertise on the radio locally and nationally like Dotcom, Consumer Durables, Pharma, Real Estate, FMCG, Auto, Retail, etc. are getting more active as they are witnessing a revival in their own business. We, at Red FM network, are working towards reaching the FY 19-20 revenue levels in the next few months. Our inventories in most markets across the country are moving up fast impacting our yields positively. It's great to see metro cities that were affected the most during the pandemic play an important role in the recovery process. Our value and volume growth are more than 50% so far and can get better hopefully as we move forward!” he continued.

According to Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City, the increase in revenues in the first 2 months of this quarter, over the previous year definitely indicates that the festive season would be bigger than what we witnessed last year. He said, "With innovation and efforts invested in expanding our digital outreach, we expect a rise in the consumption of syndicated content across audio platforms. The resumption of sporting events at national and international levels signals that normalcy is on the horizon. With things gradually returning to routine, we are confident to see a positive outlook in our reach and relevance that would subsequently increase advertising revenue. With festivals around the corner and events such as the IPL and the World Cup, will certainly help to witness a surge in both volume intake and increased revenues.”

Preeti Nihalani, Chief Business and Revenue Officer, Mirchi, added, “There is a quick rebound in radio volumes as markets opened up after the second wave. In fact, in August, it was higher than the pre-Covid year, and early signs of September also indicate the same. 

All through the pandemic, radio remained a trusted choice for listeners, for information as well as for entertainment. Therefore, advertisers have retained spends on the radio. With consumers coming back to the market, brands do not want to lose out on the momentum and are keen on maximizing their share of voice. Mirchi’s recovery is further strengthened by our ‘Solutions and Digital’ portfolio available for brands. Our Solutions for brands go beyond radio and include digital, videos, social media, on-ground and so on."

According to Asheesh Chatterjee, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Business Officer, BIG FM, the festive season is considered an auspicious time across all demographics. Marketers leverage this opportunity as there is a significant surge in ad volumes. He explained, “This year, we are hoping for good double-digit growth during the festive season over the last year. With many people getting vaccinated, normalcy returning and consumers indulging in pent-up buying, we are looking forward to brands associating with radio even more. For the larger advertising community, radio is a preferred partner owing to its mass local reach, high engagement and credibility. It is perhaps the only medium that offers personalization and customization as per the brand’s need based on geographical and local factors. Sectors like Automobile, Retail, FMCD, E-commerce, Edu-tech, Gaming, etc. are becoming prominent spenders on the radio. Even emerging brands that are looking at a wider localized reach are leveraging the strengths of the medium. The digital acceleration is further boosting the advertisers to partner with us. As a medium, we are quite optimistic about the festive quarter.”

According to Naveen Sreenivasan, Head Media Solutions TRD, Mathrubhumi Group “For Kerala market, our major festival was Onam where we had experienced a considerable growth vis-a-vis last financial year. The economic conditions look better and we see momentum picking up and revival of the radio sector". 

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