Content differentiation key for FM radio business

MUMBAI: Radio has the potential to grow at a compounded rate of 30-35 per cent over the next 10 years. "In India, radio has the potential to become a 13 per cent medium. Currently, its share is just 3 per cent while the world averages 7-8 per cent," said Radio Mirchi deputy CEO Prashant Pandey while speaking at the India Radio Forum 2006 here today.

Several issues, however, need to be addressed, Pandey pointed out. "Spectrum needs to be freed, infrastructure needs to be set up. Radio operators must be given the permission to operate multiple frequencies in a city. Music royalty has to be settled. The government should also open AM for privatization too," he added.

Speakers at the Forum agreed that FM radio stations had to fix a differentiation strategy. "FM radio has to strive for differentiation while targeting an aggregated mass of listeners. In India it is difficult to carry out a segmentation by genre or even, perhaps, by era," said Radio One CEO Rajesh Tahil."

Red FM COO Abraham Thomas stressed on difference in the delivery and advertising revenue should not be the only support, but to look for alternative revenue stream. Being aware that music is the only content available amongst the operators, thus bringing a differentiation in content is a task.

Lintas Media Group chief strategy officer Raj Gupta pointed out that, 22 per cent of products advertised cater to youth. This accounts for 59 per cent of total adverting.

He also said, 61.2 per cent of the population is below the age group of 30, and hence, the youth constitutes the main audience segment for any medium. "The Youth reach and spend more time on radio and hence, radio holds a lot of potential for the advertisers in terms of youth appeal. Radio has moved from background to foreground and has become relevant to the youth," opined Gupta.

Gupta also threw light on commodised content. "This has led to undifferentiated content and similar audiences," he said.

The session was moderated by Banyan Tree chief managing director Anish Trivedi.

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