Radio sector hopeful of turn in biz sentiment during festive period

Though business has picked up, the private FM industry expects festive ad spends to be subdued compared to 2016

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: Oct 17, 2017 8:31 AM

The radio sector, like all sectors, saw a muted first half of the year and even though sentiments seem to be picking up now, looks like the industry will fail to match up to the level of growth witnessed during last year's festive season.

Speaking to exchange4media, Abraham Thomas, CEO of Radio City, said that the industry has experienced growth volumes of around 15 per cent over the last few weeks.

“The onset of the festive cheer has definitely seen confidence being infused in brands across categories and the same is being reflected in the media ad spends. Last year, festive time generated significant momentum with the industry growing at close to 35 per cent as per Aircheck in 15 markets. However, this year the after effects of demonetisation, RERA and GST, besides muting the growth have also reduced the duration of the festive season to just a few weeks. We remain hopeful that the upward trend will continue for the remaining festive season and for the second half of the year,” he further said.

Industry observers and CEO expressed hope that this upswing in ad spends would continue into the last couple of months of the year too.

“The festival season in September and October has been a beacon of optimism for us at Radio One and we have seen 25 per cent growth in revenues from prior months. However, November will be the acid test to know if there is a sustainable revival,” opined Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD at Radio One.

Sharad Lunia, Founder of, an online platform for trading ad spots that specialises in regional and local advertising, was of the opinion that national advertisers prefer to use radio as a part of integrated campaigns, especially at a local and regional level, due to its forte as a recall medium and since it becomes more cost-effective than running print or TV ads every day.

Apart from the fact that the industry is still reeling from policy changes like GST, the festive period begun much earlier this year than previous years. This means that advertisers did not get enough time to adjust to the ramifications of GST.

Agreeing that sentiment has picked up gradually, Praveen Malhotra, CBO at BIG FM, suggested that the radio industry could expect a better picture by the end of the year. “Compared to last year, this year's festive ad spends figures might not look as promising since the festive periods have overlapped. This has, of course, reduced the number of days in hand and the inventory is being planned by the advertisers accordingly. At this point in the year, we can expect the figures to increase by a decent percentage if not more. However, since the momentum is picking up among advertisers and audiences, at this time, it indicates that the year could probably end on a good note for ad spends,” she added.

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