The radio industry, although not fully recovered, has come a long way since the pandemic. Radio broadcasters are hopeful about the 2022 festive season fuelling the sector's recovery and some are hopeful about reaching pre-Covid levels this year.
According to Nisha Narayanan, Director and COO, Red FM and Magic FM, the business is normal, if not prosperous, as of now, and added that as a leader, she is enthusiastic about the festive season.
"As the markets are hinting at the arrival of normalcy, we are hopeful in the next 2-3 years we will attain it thoroughly. What makes the festive season even more thrilling are other activities like weddings, travel and hospitality running at full capacity and people moving freely. We are all looking forward to leading a pandemic-free life and that is expected in this festive season. Therefore, it is safe to say that expectations are inflated," she said.
However, she added that macroeconomic situations like inflation and oil prices have had an impact on optimistic outlooks for the time period ahead.
As per Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City, there is an overall positive sentiment among consumers as well as advertisers that is fuelling the recovery in the industry. "Radio has always been a very creative medium in presenting and curating campaigns which attract audiences faster than almost any other medium. The radio business is back on the growth trajectory and brands have been including radio as a vital medium for advertising in their marketing mix," he said.
He further added that increased media consumption and consumer engagement with the radio are contributing to the sector's revival and supporting business growth post-pandemic. According to him, the spending capacity of consumers has increased and there is a rise in the advertising budget of brands. "We are confident that the volume recovery is set to cross the pre-pandemic numbers," stated Kukian.
Preeti Nihalini, COO, Radio Mirchi, said that the Ganpati period has set a very positive tone for radio advertising. "After a good Q1 FY23 wherein the industry clocked an estimated 125% YoY revenue growth and Mirchi clocked growth at 145%, the industry is even more optimistic about the upcoming and ongoing quarters," said Nihalini.
The digital boost, which was further accelerated by the pandemic, has pushed all the radio players to strategise their digital solutions. A big part of the revenue is actually coming in from their digital divisions, say leaders.
"We are receiving great traction from advertisers not only for our radio business but also for our solutions business. With support from our sponsors, we are launching our first season of the video content series ‘Dream Homes with Gauri Khan’. We have almost doubled our revenue through our Solutions portfolio this year. Given this growth and the rising festive spirits, we are optimistic about the second half of this year," said Nihalini.
"Our business strategy is focused on the amalgamation of the radio plus digital termed ‘Radigitalisation’ with the aim of catering to a larger set of audiences. Spending on advertisements is set to boost earnings as we are providing radio plus digital offerings to the brands. Our sustained efforts to digitise and broaden our offerings will continue to contribute to increasing our revenue," Kukian of Radio City stated.
According to Narayanan of Red FM, the sacred goal for most players in the industry is to achieve normalcy comparable to the pre-pandemic levels. "The fundamental approach to the business has evolved into a multi-faceted, multi-platform approach, rather than only on FCT business. We are hopeful that in the next 6-9 months we will be able to achieve that and even grow beyond," she stated.