FICCI Frames 2013: Radio's ‘understated’ growth story

Excerpts from a discussion on growth of the medium, and overcoming challenges posed by the regulatory framework

FICCI Frames 2013: Radio's ‘understated’ growth story

On day two of FICCI Frames 2013, a panel discussion on radio moderated by Prashant Panday, CEO and executive director, ENIL, provided the platform for industry reps to talk about its growth story over the last few years.

Observing that the growth figure (around 10.5 per cent) according to the FICCI-KPMG report was below its actual growth of 14 to 15 per cent in 2012, Panday set the tone for the discussion.

Sharing a similar point of view, Harrish Bhatia, CEO, My FM, said, “We witnessed a revenue growth of over 25 per cent. The factors attributing to the growth included focusing on growing India that is non-metros. While most brands have been moving from big towns to small, we have done the opposite. I feel by 2026, the FMCG segment will grow hugely in non-metros. So I feel we are at the right place at the right time.”

“We grew by 20 to 23 per cent in the last couple of quarters which was mainly driven by monetising the FCTs inspite of having finite inventory levels. Even our client integrations and programming has done well. We now aim to be a GEC on radio,” added Harshad Jain, business head, HT Music and Entertainment. He noted that growth in advertising for the radio station has mainly came from retail players.

Though growth in advertising revenues boosted growth, smaller players looked at centralisation of resources for saving costs. "We did lots of centralisation in the music scheduling and saved cost there. Moreover, we were also amongst the players that fought for music royalties which helped us a big deal,” said Rahul Gupta, director, Radio Mantra.

Opining that radio was not necessarily a 24x7 medium, Bhatia said, "There is no need to play radio for 24 hours so we decided not to play for some hours and have also centralised the manpower for most centres.”

"Using technology in the right way can help save costs and there also needs to be a focus on collections," observed Asheesh Chatterjee, CFO, Reliance Broadcast Network.

When former ENIL honcho AP Parigi questioned panelists from the audience on how they intended to double listenership and use the power of the medium to increase advertising revenues, Bhatia responded saying retention of advertisers stood at 50 to 60 per cent. He added, "A lot of retail advertisers understand that radio helps them in engagement, and programming customisations are already happening which are leading to increasing listenership."

Chatterjee explained how a combination of television and radio were working for the company, where radio shows are also broadcast on the company's television channel Big Magic. "We believe that we are using the medium to create newer audiences and funneling them to our stations. Also, when we went retro in Delhi, there was an increase in listenership. So, programming changes do help," he added.

Touching upon the events side of business for radio, Jain said, "While events do supplement the radio business, it should be looked at seperately. Selling events to fill radio inventory is not the right strategy in the long run."

Campaign India

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