Radio is powerful but it is not looked upon as a serious medium: Nisha Narayan, Red FM

Nisha Narayan, COO & Director, RED FM & Redtro and CEO, Digital Radio (Mumbai) Broadcasting Ltd, shares her insights on how radio is a powerful medium in terms of advertising and what can be done to take it to the next level

e4m by Anam Khan
Published: Jan 23, 2018 8:53 AM  | 5 min read

Despite of all the ups and downs that  radio experienced in 2017, Red FM has recently emerged as one of the prominent players in India by launching it’s non- music mobile app which aggregates audio and video snackable content from across Red FM networks.
In an interaction with exchange4media, Nisha Narayan, COO & Director, RED FM & Redtro and CEO, Digital Radio (Mumbai) Broadcasting Ltd, shares her insights on how radio is a powerful medium in terms of advertising. Talking about the emergence of digital platforms, Narayan said, "Radio needs to grow and keep innovating itself. Today as a marketer it’s not just the fight against your competitors but against technology as well." Excerpts:

Tell us about your newly launched Redfm app. How are you looking forward to engage with your consumers and increase revenue?

As far as the Redfm app is concerned, we are providing a lot of audio content and video content which is non-music. I would like to use the word snackable content which is probably a key word for the content we offer here. Primarily, I also think the way people consume content on the app and the duration of it, they prefer snackable stuff which is easy, fun, and crispy. Now that’s what we have been trying to do. A lot of our key properties and initiatives are on the app but as I said it is non-music and snackable.
Talking about revenue I will say that this is just part of the whole revenue. Radio, if it needs to grow, has to go beyond FCT. So while FCT is the bread and butter and gives you the larger share of business, what we need to look at today is non-traditional sources of revenues and one of the biggest drivers in media industry today is the digital space. So we have to be present there, not by just an app but through social media and a lot of digital initiatives. When all of this is put together, one hopes to drive revenue from the digital stream as well.
How is radio coming to terms with the growth of digital platforms?

So, this reminds me of how often I have been asked ‘Has radio died down with the growth of digital platforms?’ Well that’s not really the case. What we need to do today is constantly re-invent ourselves especially the content and what we deliver.
Now the good part about radio is that we are LIVE, immediate and very local. On the other hand, digital cannot be as regional as radio. So whether it is Gujarat, Assam or Lucknow, we are talking Live to the locals and we can be most interactive. The medium is really powerful. What we really need to do is challenge ourselves and come up with innovative content and not just look at ourselves as a radio station but as a brand which we can extend outside which Redfm has been doing in the form of concerts and events.

How was the year 2017 for radio?

It’s been tough. We had our share of ups and downs. But talking about the positive side of it, there have been newer categories which looked at radio as an option which was not the case earlier. Traditional categories have sort of stagnated but newer categories have come up and I think that’s good. As a marketer, I wish the year would have been better, but we are hopeful for the new financial year.

Do we see digital radio becoming a trend in India too?

It’s an eventuality. Now here we have two sub categories- Digital online and Digitization. So digitization is a long process, we’ve got FM technology, the world has gone digital, our transmitters are FM technology so how that’s going to change is a policy led matter which will take it’s on cause and we don’t see anything happening from that point of view very quickly. Now talking about the digital radio space, which is the online space, there will be a lot of players who will start with radio and music being available and that will depend on the kind of content delivered.
What are the trends in ad spends that radio is witnessing currently?

Today we are an advertising driven model and all mediums co-exist whether it is radio, television, digital media platforms. Talking about Radio in particular, it survives on advertising and the good part is because the content has been great and popularity high, rates in radio are sometimes much higher than some national channels as well. That is only because of radio being a much stronger product. As an advertiser, if you want to do campaigns, radio will go with print as well as with television. Radio is powerful media but is not looked upon as a serious medium because of certain policy restrictions. 

What are you looking forward to achieve in 2018?

Our first and foremost plan will be building more innovations. Unfortunately in radio we have not done the KBCs and Roadies as an industry. I think as a leader brand we hope to do such events. The year focus is to stabilise the new markets which we have just gotten into like Chandigarh, Surat and newer stations in Amritsar, Srinagar. So stabilizing and growing those markets will be our key target. And once we’ll be done launching our new stations, our network will be much bigger, that of  77 stations. So that’s a lot to handle.

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