RED plans content tie ups with foreign broadcasters

MUMBAI: Living Media's 93.5 RED FM's tie up with the BBC World Service (BBCWS) is one among many initiatives that the FM station has lined up.

RED FM was the Indian broadcast partner for the BBCWS' 70th anniversary celebration on 15 December. BBCWS had chosen Mumbai as one of the five locations in four continents to broadcast the proceedings of a spectacularly organised live concert. The Indian leg of the concert was in Mumbai and it featured world renowned percussionist Trilok Gurtu and the ubiquitous Adnan Sami.

From 11 pm onwards RED FM joined Afghanistan, Mexico, Senegal and the UK with its broadcast of the concert. BBCWS had approached RED FM to be the official Indian broadcast partner, claimed RED FM officials.

Speaking to, Radio Today (Delhi) Broadcasting Limited COO Nishchint Chawla said: "Mumbai audiences connecting 'live' to the world was a win-win situation for everyone involved. It is also in line with RED FM's positioning which strives to make a pioneering effort to deliver exactly what the contemporary listeners wish to hear. The Indian listeners are changing and becoming attuned to the happenings in the other parts of the world. This unique experiment gave them access to participate in a global event.We will explore more such options in the near future," he added.

The last entrant on the Mumbai FM radio scene, RED has chalked out an aggressive plan to maintain the key elements of its unique positioning during its forthcoming launch in Delhi and Kolkata soon.

There are also plans to introduce the significant aspects of the distinct regional sensibilities into the programming. "For instance, RED in Mumbai refers to the common obsessions with local trains and space constraints, but the same concept cannot be extrapolated to Delhi and Kolkata," Chawla stated. The emphasis will be to ensure that the channel recognizes its end-user or target audience and connects to them at all times, he added.

Chawla mentioned that RED's positioning has remained the same: a conscious effort to offer the latest popular musical hits in an effort to create a special mood and tempo. In line with this concept, RED has started broadcasting 'live' mixing sessions in the studios on Saturday nights in order to enable listeners to extend the weekend celebrations beyond the confines of the discos and pubs. The Club Night sessions were also held in Mumbai city's hotspots like Enigma and Velocity.

"It is all about portraying an attitude based on the other planks that include elements such as humour, nostalgia and modernism. Each of our RJs has a distinct personality and we have even created radio characters like 'Angry Ganeshan' who fits into the concept. We believe that a radio is a perceived by the listener as a close companion and friend," Chawla stated.

When questioned about the revenues, Chawla mentioned that the revenues were trickling in slowly. He added that the FM radio players have realised the need to expand the market, as the listenership was still restricted to certain time slots.

When asked about the advantage of belonging to the Living Media Group, he stated that they have used cross selling effectively but refrained from discounting. He also mentioned there was no distinct edge as all the other rivals were also backed by electronic and print cousins. He however, added that RED FM shares Living Media's existing infrastructure with Aaj Tak, the sister TV channel.

Talking about the recent concerns raised by music companies about the over-exposure on radio and TV channels affecting audio sales, Chawla claimed that the cannibalisation theory was not correct. "There are several global instances wherein music companies used radio channels effectively to promote their audio sales. The advantage is that the audio companies don't even have to invest in creating videos for the radio broadcasts," he added.

Commenting on the need for accurate listenership data, Chawla reiterated the need for third party measurement initiated by the member associations such as the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF). "In recent times, media planners have started using the medium tactically in conjunction with traditional ones. Advertising agencies have also started developing special 'creatives' for radio ads in addition to promotions, " he added.

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