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AIR Mumbai draws plans to beef up revenue

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MUMBAI: In a bid to counter dipping revenues of its two FM channels, All India Radio Mumbai plans to sell packaged ad spots for its primary channels and FM channels together. A policy decision to this effect is expected by early next month, say sources.

The two FM channels, one of which turned 11 this year, used to rake in a collective Rs 50 million each year in ad revenue per annum, a figure that dipped drastically with the entry of private FM. The five private players ate into the advertising traditionally reserved for All India Radio, forcing the staid public broadcaster to explore other avenues. With private players willing to negotiate on the ad rates, AIR has suffered as government policy does not allow discount selling. To make up for the loss, the programming team led by K Kumudam has designed shows that allow for ad libbing from the interviewees.

Within shows like Sakhi and Saheli which interview an achiever or entrepreneur in any field, the channel allows two 30 second spots in the one hour show for the interviewee to make his sales pitch. As government guidelines forbid AIR from making a pitch on behalf of the guest, this kind of a 'paid' interview is paying good dividends. While it does not cover the production cost of a show, the Rs 1800 charged per guest does go toward adding to the revenue kitty of the channel, says newly appointed station director J S Erande.

AIR has also decided to target the retail sector, following in the footsteps of the private FM channels. A 13 episode series on various career options has been sponsored by different local institutes, enabling the channel to cast its net wide to scour for more information as well as rake in more listeners.

Unfortunately, the twin AIR FM channels, Gold and Rainbow, have dropped off the charts of most media buyers, with the result that several FMCG brands earlier advertised heavily on the two channels, are now out. The only regulars are public sector undertakings like Indian Oil Corporation, Life Insurance Corporation and the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority. But with the programming team's innovative marketing gimmicks, retail is slowly beginning to take another look at the two stations once again. .

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