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Digital audio to form an integral part of our revenue stream in 2 years: Abraham Thomas of BIG FM

Thomas, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network, talks about the network’s growth and the challenges in the digital audio space

Abraham Thomas

Big FM recently revamped its identity and positioned itself as a radio ‘plus’ product. They also launched a number of newer verticals like Big Living in the social commerce space and Big Live in the live events space.

According to Abraham Thomas, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network, the future in this medium lies in offering a radio plus digital experience to the audience as well as advertisers.

Speaking about what his learnings were from 2022, he said, “We realised that radio plus digital is the way forward. Radio within its space is growing but there is a shift towards regional and local advertising.”

“With the huge explosion in video consumption, there is also growth in audio consumption. People have been experiencing screen fatigue which is why we have seen a sizable increase in the consumption of all kinds of audio. Radio plus digital will have a larger ad bucket.

We have created a lot of solutions that have helped us seamlessly take radio to the audio digital space as well.”

“We see audio digital becoming a substantial part of our revenue streams. Currently, the revenue is small, but in the next two years, it will be a sizable part of the revenue,” he added.

Thomas added that while there is a video bias among advertisers, they can surely benefit from the power of audio in addition to their video assets.  He said their aim is to scale their offerings and be a great business partner to brands.

Thomas is quite optimistic about the future in terms of business and revenue. He said, "We are optimistic that by FY24 we will have the pre-Covid level growth. We will have to see how the next four months pan out but we hope to get 80% of the pre-covid levels this year."

Speaking about how the festive period was this year, he said, “October was good this year because Dussehra and Diwali happened in the same month. November typically slows down after the festive period before it starts picking up again in December. We are hopeful this December will be better for us than the previous period.”

According to Thomas, one of the biggest challenges that radio players face is that unless the music rights move into a shareable market, it will never be viable and stay unaffordable.”

The task in hand for Big FM is educating the advertisers and evangelising the medium. He explained, “These brands already believe in the power of audio. Therefore, now the brands are expecting a variety of ad solutions from us. There are very few brands that are looking to buy only spots. The solutions that we are creating are always radio plus. We have the advantage of a large ecosystem across all our markets that is in touch with a large base of audio advertisers. All other players rely upon online sales. They have their little sales teams and they believe in programmatic buying. We believe that with our large sales teams and our understanding of audio, we will fuel the growth of audio."

Thomas said they are a future-ready organisation because they saw that a lot of players were not able to adapt quickly. "Our goal is to be a real future-ready audio entertainment organisation. This business is clearly driven by business practices and innovation. We are focused on being the best in class for business and being the most innovative audio entertainment company.”

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