Radio industry in 2007 - an overview


over the past two years the radio industry has moved beyond AIR with private FM stations lapping up the airwaves. The three policy initiatives from the Government -- migration to a revenue-sharing regime, allowing foreign direct investment upto 20 per cent and opening up the sector to 91 more cities by issuing 338 licenses' to private players -- have aided this growth tremendously. FM Phase II saw as many as 245 more stations bagging licenses', most of which went up this year. Phase II has provided a fresh lease of life to the radio industry and has really taken the medium to the next level. Things only look better from here, given the way this has helped new stations to come in, the existing and serious players to organise more and convert radio into a revenue making option.

Year 2007 for the radio industry was the year of expansion. The radio industry is growing immensely and also doing very well, the number of people listening to radio each day has also increased, hence acknowledging this as the local medium of communication. The recent RAM results that were out recently proved how well the industry is doing. Spends on radio have definitely gone up and radio today, is the most cost-effective medium. Radio is becoming an important part of the advertisers advertising mix. The future will see more advertisers coming on board?

RAM (radio audience measurement)

Radio listenership measurement is a critical aspect to the industry, the emphasis being on 'timely' measurement and not just dated results that come in over three to six months. The radio category needs to grow to where it deserves and with the RAM coming in, it is a move in the right direction. What is measured is what is bought and RAM has worked extremely well for the radio industry.

BIG 92.7 FM in 2007

The year 2007 has been excellent for BIG 92.7 FM; the stations for phase II were rolled out, as we stand as a 42 station strong network today, spread across the length and the breadth of the country. The fastest rollout of stations among all players and making us the biggest radio network in the country. As per figures released BIG 92.7 FM is the No. 1 choice of listeners in Bangalore across all parameters - including reach, share and TARP. In Mumbai, it is the highest reached station, while in Delhi; it is the No. 2 station among 12-34 year old, SEC ABC listeners. BIG 92.7 FM will see expansion of our network in 2008; more stations will be added to our network as Govt. opens up more licenses.

The numbers are looking very good especially given that BIG 92.7 FM is just about a year old. It reaffirms our positioning and content strategy which has helped the brand stand out in the cluttered environment. With competition heating up among brands, 'differentiation' is the key and we have managed to stand out with our 'listener focused' positioning of Life Banao as well as our distinct music.

Next on BIG's radar -

" The goal is to increase the size of radio's share of the advertising pie from 3 per centto 7 per cent over the next three years.

" Consolidate post our launches and ensure sustained leadership in all our stations

" Digital integration with radio - more emphasis on our web portal, podcasting, internet driven interactivity etc

Key landmarks / events:

Year 2007 has been an eventful year for BIG 92.7 FM, and has certainly lived upto to its brand line of 'Suno Sunao, Life Banao'.

A combination of large national properties and hyperlocal content helped us grow rapidly in a sort span of time. BIG 92.7 FM has always believed in innovation in content and marketing. We launched a unique challenge & contest done for the first time ever on radio in association with Hyundai i10 called 'Chipak Ke Jeeto' which is the biggest endurance test to be held across key metros wherein the person who touches the car for the longest time walks away with a brand new Hyundai i10 car! The 'Sabse BIG Diwali' campaign with ICICI bank credit cards was launched with much fanfare- offered discounts from 9.27 per cent to 92.7 per cent on various products. Tied up various NGOs' across the country and hosted the 'Sabse BIG Diwali' party with the senior citizens.

The year 2007 also saw BIG 92.7 FM radio partnering for some of the biggest banner movies and TV shows like Ta Ra Rum Pum, Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom, Cash, Saawariya, Nach Baliye 3, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Jhoom India, while also entering into a strategic partnership with the Indian Television academy for the 'ITA 7th Annual Indian Television Academy Awards'. BIG 92.7 FM also roped in the iconic Raju Shrivastav and escalated the humor quotient of the station - BIG RJ Raju Shrivastav provided listeners their daily dose of Raju Shrivastav jokes every morning on the breakfast show across the country.

We pioneered the coverage of sporting events on radio with the award winning coverage of the PHL, ICC tournament and the T-20 World Cup. For the first time ever, BIG FM brought on radio, eminent personalities like Harsha Bhogle and Shekhar Suman, Kris Srikkanth and Mandira Bedi, which created a new and exciting experience for listeners across the country.

Speculations for the year 2008

The Indian radio sector is poised to become a Rs 1,200-crore industry by 2010, according to a study conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

With the majority of licenses in Phase II going operational by the end of this year, 2008 is going to be a very good year for Radio; the industry will experience dramatic expansion in its listener base leading to significant growth in business. 2008 will be the Tipping Point for the radio industry.

We hope that news and current affairs will be opened for private radio broadcasters. In the event this does happen, this will lead to a new wave of growth for radio in 2008.

For BIG 92.7 FM, listeners are going to be witnessing far more exciting and interesting radio activity. Our initiatives will focus on creating more relevant and innovative content for our listeners, tapping into new trends and insights we observe among the youth.

So stay tuned and Suno Sunao, Life Banao!

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