Radio: Reimagining the new dawn of audio entertainment

Guest Column: Abraham Thomas, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited, shares how pandemic has helped radio broadened its vision in terms of offerings to its listeners, clients & advertisers

e4m by Abraham Thomas
Updated: Dec 31, 2020 2:05 PM
Abraham Thomas - Reliance Broadcast Network Limited

Over the years, with technology evolving and digitalization booming, the one medium that has survived and remained relevant to the digitally-connected audience has been audio communication. Right from being a source of information and keeping up with the day-to-day news, to now turning into a complete audio entertainment package, radio is the one medium that has played a huge role in the country’s communication industry.

As the world grapples with the pandemic, radio, being a free-to-consume medium, through its purpose-driven campaigns and programming, sees itself bring people closer than before by spreading positivity and creating a sense of community. While the industry faced many barriers this year due to the on-going crisis and with the world in a state of constant flux, radio emerged as a winner with people tuning in for their daily dose of information and entertainment. Adding another feather to its cap, Radio also busted the age-old myth about its popularity amongst millennials as it had teens grooving to its tunes, leading to a remarkable rise in listenership and engagement that is substantiated by reports released throughout the year. The pandemic also helped radio to relook at their offerings and broadened their vision in terms of offerings to their listeners, clients and advertisers.

The Digital Influx

Partnering with popular audio platforms, radio stations have curated a host of campaigns and activities over the past few months. This creation of multiple touchpoints for the audience has led to an expansion in customer engagement. This was in lieu of the shift in the consumption behaviour amongst the listeners owing to the growth in the industry.

On an organizational level, we partnered with multiple audio platforms like Spotify & aawaz.com for our marquee properties. Associating with these audio platforms sparked the idea of the perfect amalgamation of radio and digital which gave rise to a host of opportunities to distribute content to a global audience.

We also forayed into the space of web radio with the launch of BRO – BIG Radio Online, curating podcasts for the on-the-go audience. The platform comprises a host of inspiring shows spanning contemporary genres that the youth love to indulge in. Our other platform buyadsonbigfm.com enables advertisers to operate seamlessly by enabling them to book ads at the mere click of a button.

Crystal Gazing into 2021

As one looks at the rapid strides made by the country on digital adoption owing to the pandemic, the transformation of embracing digitalization has given the medium a new direction and opened up possibilities for a host of digital-led services and offerings. We believe that 2021 will witness radio venturing into newer areas and expanding their wings. Already established as a leading audio entertainment player, it is certain that the radio industry will expand the platform by taking audio a notch higher that harnesses the power of audio.

Being a holistic audio entertainment platform ourselves, we at BIG are also thriving forward to drive engagement through newer listener touchpoints in the digital audio space like chat bots, driving deeper listener engagement via content gamification, and driving deeper value for our advertisers through social commerce. With RJs being huge influencers, we also see advocacy marketing as a major trend in the coming year.

Establishing itself as an audio entertainment platform and providing thought-provoking content, the aspect of storytelling will be a much grander experience for brands and audiences. Through smart speaker solutions, we are looking at a never-witnessed-before experience for consumers across the country.

The Indian radio industry has not only managed to survive amidst the pandemic but has shone in this adverse situation which is certainly no small feat! While this is just a start, we are certain that the industry will foray into more avenues and break through the shackles, soaring high into the audio entertainment space. With new collaborations and content format in the pipeline, the market size of the industry was projected to be around 44.5 billion rupees by the financial year 2024, (as per a survey by Statista) thus opening up more opportunities for private and public broadcasting networks to step in the digital age and set the ball rolling.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

 

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