"Radio will benefit from revenues flowing in from TV and print"
With the upcoming inventory cap on television & real estate clients reducing their print spends, radio is the direct beneficiary, says Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD & CEO, Radio One
Though the year 2013 hasn’t had too many surprises or major disappointments for radio broadcasters so far, the sluggish economy, current political situation in the country and the ratings row in the broadcast industry have created some ripples.
Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD and CEO, Radio One speaks with exchange4media about the future of radio in India in light of the current economic situation, Radio One’s Q1 performance, and the brand's Phase III expansion. Excerpts:
Given the current economic and political scenario, how do you envisage the future of radio in India?
Radio will benefit from revenues flowing in from television and print, as no other medium gives you a local and economical connect. With the upcoming inventory cap on television and even real estate clients reducing their print spends, radio is the direct beneficiary. Lots of clients, who are using pure digital promotion, are also realising that connecting radio to ‘amplify’ hits on their digital properties is a great idea. Elections will also add to the radio pie for sure. The sluggish economy, coupled with a weakening rupee, will make all clients re-look at large spends in television and print and use radio to create both, impact and sustenance locally. BTL budgets, including outdoor, also see a diversion to radio, which is excellent.
Phase III is expected to change the radio landscape completely? Does Radio One have any expansion plans?
The Government needs to extend the Phase I licenses that will expire in 2014-15 on an average price formula, including the vacant bids, so that all players are confident of their existing businesses before Phase III becomes a reality. Phase III will be a huge boon for C and D towns and will spread radio all across this country. This will make radio command 10 per cent of the advertising pie, given that overhead in print and television will make downward price revision impossible.
How has Q1 FY2013-14 been for Radio One?
We have had the best quarter ever in terms of revenue, EBIDTA, PBT and cash generated by the business. All key business parameters see high double-digit growth. Our team has met all targets in all seven stations.
What are the challenges faced by Radio One?
The largest challenge that we at Radio One face is market expansion, and clients and agencies have supported us in this. The regulatory challenge is where the Government has slowed down Phase III with changes at the secretary level. We hope the Minister of Information & Broadcasting is going to take Phase III seriously, as committed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his Budget speech.
Are there any innovative programming initiatives in the pipeline?
We have a lot of exciting initiatives in the content space that will keep listeners engaged, while advertisers will get the value that they cannot get from any other radio station.
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