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FM Phase III promises new forms of content and revenue expansion

MUMBAI: Private FM radio operators feel the need to carry out more content innovation for advertisers. They also believe that Phase III will open up more avenues for revenue expansion. There will be an opportunity to present news from All India Radio (AIR), along with traffic and weather information.

anurradhTalking at a session on radio at the annual FICCI Frames, AROI president and BAG Networks MD Anurradha Prasad said that radio is on a growth trajectory. After the Phase III expansion, the medium will encompass not just Bollywood music, but more. “For advertisers and content creators, radio is now like a new platform getting ready,” she stated.

But the challenge lies in the kind of fragmentation and differentiation that the linear genre of Bollywood music might bring.

Starcom Mediavest Group India CEO Mallikarjun Das said, “The advertising industry for radio is at the cusp. There is an opportunity but the challenge is homogeneity of content. There is a lot of commoditisation of content. There are various relevant content forms that can be looked into like weather, traffic, etc.”

Regarding content, Prasad said that her radio stations are present in the same area where the channel operates. The radio team takes content mallikarjun dasfrom the network’s Bollywood news and entertainment channel E24 and refurbishes it for radio.

“The industry has not sat together to figure out how there can be scope for everyone. We should also sit with advertisers and figure out ways so that radio is not taken as a commoditised medium,” she said.

Adding to the point, Radio Mirchi chief programming officer Tapas Sen stated, “Commodification of content is an evergreen challenge. We decided to be like radio’s Cartoon Network and call ourselves the sunshine channel by making people feel good about life.”

Giving an advertiser’s perspective, he said that 25–30 per cent of advertisers’ money goes outside CPRP (cost per rating point). So, advertisers target innovation based on their research and insights. “Thus, as content gets richer on radio, people will be willing to pay a premium.”

Another issue that was highlighted is a robust measurement system. While there is Radio Audience Measurement (RAM), it still follows the outmoded diary system. However, the broadcasters remained tight-lipped about RAM, instead saying that it had helped a number of brands come onto the medium.