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Primetime in JV with South African firm for radio services

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MUMBAI: Radio can turn out to be a game for the big boys. Radio Mirchi, Radio City, Sun TV group and Anil Ambani-controlled Adlabs have aggressive rollout plans and are willing to loosen the purse strings.

Small and regional FM radio operators are toying with the idea of forming a consortium to sell advertising and buy equipment in bulk to match the size of the national players.

Foreign companies are eyeing this as an opportunity to offer their management and technical expertise. One such company has announced its entry into India.

Kagiso Media, a leading radio company in South Africa, has floated a 50:50 joint venture with Mumbai-based Primetime International Services, an independent media sales firm.

The new entity, Primetime Kagiso, will offer comprehensive services to radio stations and advertisers. "Our aim is to assemble a group of radio stations and handle their ad sales. We are close to signing an agreement with Malar Publications and a Delhi-based firm. We also plan to provide management consultancy and training facilities," says Kagiso Media executive director Omar Essack.

Malar plans to operate in six cities including Chennai, Madurai and Pondicherry. Primetime Kagiso is scouting for other regional operators so that it can form a big consortium.

Primetime has been an active player since 1985 in marketing time and space across media including TV, Out-of-Home and are now venturing into the radio domain.

B.A.G Infotainment Ltd is also planning to lead a 40-member consortium which will give it a national footprint to present before advertisers. Speaking at the India Radio Forum 2006 on "The challenges before regional/local FM radio broadcasters," BAG Infotainment COO Rajiv Mishra said, "Through the consortium, it will offer more number of stations and volume discounts to the national advertisers."

Agreed Gwalior Farms promoter Manmeet Gulzar: "Radio Mirchi is already an invisible competitor in the Gwalior radio space. Though it does not exist in the city, it still has a high recall value here. The advertisers may take to the big players."

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