Red FM aims to get more interactive; eyes 20 pc market share in small towns

Following the rebranding of SFM as Red FM towards the latter half of 2009, a lot has changed for the FM station – be it in terms of listenership, advertisers’ response or even the attitude change in the rebranded station. Nisha Narayanan, Senior VP - Programming and Projects, Red FM, shares more on the FM player’s plans for the year ahead.

e4m by Robin Thomas
Published: Feb 10, 2010 6:53 AM  | 3 min read
Red FM aims to get more interactive; eyes 20 pc market share in small towns

According to IRS 2009 R2 data, Red FM witnessed an increase in listenership in various stations as compared to IRS 2009 R1, when it was under the SFM brand name. One of the reasons for this increase in listenership is credited to the entire rebranding of SFM as Red FM. Currently, Red FM has 48 networks across India from mere three FM stations – Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

The FM radio industry in India was not untouched by the impact of the economic slowdown. To counter this, SFM, a part of Sun TV’s subsidiary, South Asia FM, which had 45 FM stations across the country with a very strong presence in South India, decided to rebrand itself as Red FM, which was already strong in metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, thus taking the number of stations to 48 across India.

It is also learnt that because of the rebranding exercise, today Red FM holds a market share of approximately 20 per cent in in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, and aims to achieve the same in the rest of the markets as well.

It may be recalled that Sun TV Network had taken a 48.9 per cent stake in Red FM in 2007, which provided a common advertising sales platform to both Red FM and SFM.

In conversation with exchange4media, Nisha Narayanan, Senior Vice President, Programming and Projects, Red FM, explained, “In a scenario where we were stuck with the economic slowdown, the way forward was to leverage on an existing brand with whom we had a sales and marketing tie-up and try and use that mileage to build our programming, listenership and also our advertising. Today, I believe we have approximately 20 per cent market share in the Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata markets, and now we are almost reaching 20 per cent for other markets as well. This is because of the entire rebranding exercise.”

“So, definitely after the re-launch we had a huge response from advertisers. By changing the name immediately, the aspirational value and the likability of the station went up. From ‘SFM Jhoomo Jhamke Jhoomo’, which was more of a music positioning, to the re-launch into ‘Bajaate Raho!’, which is our ‘Station for Expression’, I think has emerged louder,” she added.

One of the advantages of the entire rebranding exercise resulted in changing the entire attitude of the FM station as a result, an increase in listenership, which is said to have more than doubled locally, and the clients became enthusiastic because the FM station is present across the country, and also the fact that the FM station is able to deliver a certain quality and content that a listener or even an advertiser expects.

While Red FM is said to be very strong among retail advertisers in terms of revenue generation, the Red FM ad revenues are evenly split between both national and retail advertising. Going forward, Red FM aims to be as interactive and as local as possible.

Red FM is owned by Arjun Rao and Usha Reddy, with minority interest held by South Asia FM Ltd, a subsidiary of Sun TV Network Ltd. It was launched in 2002 and first started round the clock operations in Mumbai, followed by Delhi and Kolkata in 2003.

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