The industry touched upon some interesting aspects of how the government is restricting radio as a medium to grow, how monetisation is a concern for all the players and how the industry needs to come together to form a currency so that advertisers can do justice to the medium
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 24, 2017
The last day at Ficci Frames 2017 began with a session moderated by Vikram Chandra as he hosted Madhuri Dixit Nene and Shriram Nene. But what was more interesting was the session that followed -- ‘Storm in a teacup: Radio phase three auctions.’ Phase three auctions witnessed radio players grab very few stations mostly because of the high spectrum price. Industry members discussed various issues on the subject.
Moderated by Salil Acharya, actor and Video Jockey, the session had panellists such as Prashant Panday, CEO, Entertainment Network India, Abraham Thomas, CEO, Music Broadcast, Gautam Radio, Founder and CEO, Millennium Broadcast, Harrish Bhatia, CEO, My FM and Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network.
The industry touched upon some interesting aspects of how the government is restricting radio as a medium to grow, how monetisation is a concern for all the players and how the industry needs to come together to form a currency so that advertisers can do justice to the medium.
Panday began the conversation by saying, “Let’s first talk about the radio business and then get into the economics of it. I think we are more excited today about radio than we were 15 years back when we started. What has changed is the fact that 15 years back we used to fight for percentage share in the market, unlike today.”
Panday believes that the biggest harm we’ve done to each other is ads. If one looks at advertising, the consumer is consuming ads everywhere. On television, he has the option to change the channel, on digital you can skip it. The only ads the consumer actually watches is in out-of-home. He doesn’t have a choice. “What we are doing with our new stations is keeping a 10 minutes ad cap per hour. For our old stations, we had a 22 minutes ad cap during Diwali, we are going to reduce it to 18 minutes this year, 15 minutes next year and 12 minutes the year after.”
Panday thinks that the industry needs to work on giving the consumer the best possible music with lesser ads and he doesn’t mind incurring business losses for the time being. The moment the industry comes at par with that, the prices will automatically go up.
Adding to Panday, Thomas said, “Prashant is right when he says we need to reduce our ad cap. The more ads you have, the more the consumer will reject you and you won’t have a choice. We can’t carry all the ads that are available. There is need to restrict supply then the prices will go up. Having said that, the reason why radio is growing is because of local advertising. Even national advertisers are giving us local advertisements and that is helping the industry in a big way.”
Bhatia on the other hand points out that the government has been interfering a little too much and is killing radio. There are too many costs involved like the one time fees, hidden costs and many more need to be eradicated and the industry needs to come together for the same.
While agreeing to his industry members, Katial on the other hand pointed out that it is eventually about the consumer. “We need to cater to his need and his need is leisure. We’ve to stop taking our consumer for granted. Today, radio has a lot of opportunity. We’re already seeing how different radio players are specialising their content offerings. Recently someone just associated with DJ Chetas for electronic dance music and that’s fabulous. We shouldn’t see one medium versus the other medium. People will continue to listen to radio.”
On a concluding note, Acharya said that the industry needs to come together to work towards monetising them better and also on some norms with the government. Indeed the industry has huge potential in the years to come.