‘Digital media will emerge as radio’s biggest challenge’

What happened in 2015? What's next, in 2016? Here's what Red FM's Nisha Narayanan and Viacom18's Ferzad Palia had to say (part three)

Jan 14, 2016 03:04:00 PM | Article | Campaign India Team

We asked 25 respondents  from advertising, media, marketing and PR to tell us what they will remember 2015 by, and the trends they expect to see in 2016.
Read on for peer predictions – on agencies, long format films, the 30-seconder, digital, mobile, e-commerce, technology, people...  Here's part three.
‘Digital media will emerge as radio’s biggest challenge’
Nisha Narayanan
Looking back on the bygone year, the first thing I remember is the phase III FM auction, which fillips to the expansion of radio services in the country across 294 cities and 835 channels. After 9.5 years, the radio industry saw a boost in 2015 with the radio auctions. The phase III auction is indeed very important for the development of the radio industry as this expansion will enable radio to reach out to smaller towns and cities; and thereby will provide quality information to the audiences and more penetration to marketers. 
Radio will be more ‘visible’ and ‘widely used’. When I say that I mean that in 2016 you will not see radio as only on-air media but a full package of the 360-degree offering – be it ATL, BTL or digital. One can expect to see radio players reaching audiences using activations, concerts and events and digital offerings. All this will naturally benefit the advertisers also as they will get multiple complementing platforms to offer robust media reach.
Of course, as industry we should be ready to see fierce competition with each other – and with other mediums too. Digital media will emerge as the biggest challenge with 4G launch and it may impact the music space. However, radio is not just about music; it’s also about content and variety plus free to use on the go unlike data that costs for downloads.
‘I see phase 3 of digitisation helping the English genre greatly’
Ferzad Palia
EVP and GM – English entertainment, Viacom18
2015 has been a landmark year for us. A few highlights: First, the launch of Colors Infinity and Colors Infinity HD. Add to that the first edition of The Stage. Next, we refreshed Comedy Central completely. A brand new look, brand new content and a brand new philosophy – ‘Your Happy Place’. We also upgraded the channel to High Definition. This has changed the game for the brand. We celebrated 10 glorious years of Vh1 in India. We continue to take the brand to the smaller markets as English music and lifestyle grow remarkably well across the country. 
I see phase 3 of digitisation helping the English genre greatly. There is a great appetite for this content in the smaller markets. With dependence on analogue now set to be history, the genre will see a whole new set of viewers being added to the category. And there will also be more local English language productions given the success of The Stage.
(Part of a feature that first appeared in the 8 January 2016 issue of Campaign India.)