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Smaller radio licencees to form separate consortium to tap national advertisers

NEW DELHI: Even as all the FM radio companies have formed an association, the smaller and regional licencees are finalising a separate consortium to collectively tap national-level advertising in a bid to compete with the big guns.

According to a radio company, which has about 10 licences, but not a national presence, the consortium will try tapping national level advertisers by offering more number of stations and volume discounts.

Though the details are yet to be hammered out, this advertising consortium will be in the form of an entity or an organisation that will negotiate advertising and rates for its members, while keeping a small amount as commission on ad deals to fund operational expenses.

More than 40 radio companies are likely to be members of this consortium, which would aim to keep its advertising rates flexible, depending on the type of cities a licencee operates in.

The Indian government, while handing out 287 licences in the second phase till now had put on the block 338 licences spread over 91 cities categorised as A & A+, B,C and D depending on the population base.

Some of the licences have to go for rebidding on technical ground of not having found suitable buyers.

The big players include Anil Ambani-controlled Adlabs, HT Media & Entertainment, Radio Mirchi, Radio City, the Bhaskar group of newspapers (through Synergy Media) and the Sun TV group.

Meanwhile, it's RIP for Radio Group, formed in the early part of this decade when FM radio was opened up to private participation. The new avatar is Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI).

A reluctant co-coordinator of AROI, BAG Infotainment CEO Rajiv Mishra, admitted to that the association has been formed and is likely to have its first meeting to chalk out future plans later this month. Mishra did not hand out any further details.

Still, as per information available, AROI will be a registered, non-profit, non-governmental society dedicated to protect the common and collective interests of its members, a la Indian Broadcasting Foundation and Indian Newspaper Society.

AROI is likely to have several advisory bodies like after legal and regulatory issues, technical and other agreements that have to be signed with government bodies. The executive council will include a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary-general.

The radio association is also mulling putting a radio ratings system in place on the lines of TV ratings points. Apart from a small company that does some viewership and reach measurement for radio stations in Mumbai and Delhi, nothing is done at a national level.

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