Poor communication, patchy jockeying spell meagre ads for FM channels

 MUMBAI: Win 94.6 has emerged the surprise package in the scramble for ads in the Mumbai market.

The Millenium Broadcast FM radio channel is giving the much hyped Radio Mirchi (a Times of India venture) a serious run for its money, if analysis provided by research agency Perfect Monitoring is anything to go by. The overall picture painted by the agency however is not rosy for the FM market, at least as of now.

Only 56 brands have hopped on to the FM advertising bandwagon in Mumbai. Radio Mirchi, thanks to a first mover advantage, the Times brand name, continuous cross promotions on Times' publications and promotional offers, has cornered a 33.4 per cent channel share of the ad spots (by duration). Win, which started as the underdog, is catching up fast with a 28.5 per cent share. The agency attributes the meagre commercial activity to poor quality of communication - "Be it either the contest announced by the RJ or the sordidly patched up commercial, the pronunciation and delivery is not understandable to a common man with an average taste to FM Music," avers Perfect Monitoring. Unfortunately for the channels, the common man belonging to SEC D and E, forms the bulk of the listenership.

Radio City Mumbai (from the Star India group, and a younger sibling of Radio City Bangalore that was the first private FM channel to launch in the country) lags behind at 26.2 per cent. Mid-day's Go 92.5 per cent is consciously distancing itself from the hoi polloi and seems content with an ad spot channel share of 11.9 per cent. India Today's Red, despite an outdoor advertising presence was the last to enter the market and with content that spells me-too, does not even figure in the stakes, in the week ended 7 July when the channels were monitored.

According to figures released by Perfect Monitoring, there were a total of 1846 spots in seven days, averaging 462 per station per day. Of the total airtime, 44740 seconds in seven days averaging 11185 per station per day were spent by the various brands on all the channels, clubbed together.

Perfect Monitoring, the first agency to track the ad presence on the FM channels, says it had to utilize almost four times the resource spent on television monitoring, primarily because almost 70 per cent of content spoken by the RJ and 60 per cent of advertisements aired are difficult to identify.

A probable reason, says the agency, is that content producers are aping the style followed by television music channels. Unlike TV however, where visuals effectively supplement wacky voiceovers, radio is entirely audio driven and often falls flat in its effort to sound creative and original. "It's imperative that the message reaches the majority of the target audience not just a few of the 'expert' listeners," is Perfect Monitoring's verdict on the matter.

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