| 19 Jul 2024
TV content freeze impacts FM radio

MUMBAI: The fresh content freeze on television is not just impacting the TV industry. FM radio stations, that have benefitting handsomely from TV channel promotions, suddenly find these ads drying up.

With no new twists and turns in daily soaps and weekly talent hunts on TV, there has been a perceptible dip in channel promos across FM stations, and matters could worsen if there is no resolution of the crisis by next week. Ad sales heads of FM stations aver that the impact has already begun to be felt. Says Red FM's national sales head B Surendar, "With no new shows/episodes being aired, TV channels (mostly Hindi GECs) will want to put their promos on hold. This is already happening. So while the current crisis directly impacts TV channels, it also affects the media (such as radio) on which they promote their shows. However, we see the situation correcting sooner than later."

With the economic slowdown in the country hitting the realty sector hard too, this is the second category that has impacted the radio industry in the last few days. For September 2008, TV Channel Promotions accounted for 669,000 secondages of ad time across stations, according to Radio AdEx India.

Big FM's national marketing head Anand Chakravarthy on the other hand believes that, Although they have repeat content, the GECs are plugging in their best content and there has been no dip in that advertising yet. The advertisers realise that it is difficult to hook audiences once lost, so to retain them, the TV advertisements are still on.... Radio consultant Sunil Kumar, however, agrees that promos of TV shows on radio are likely to be badly affected "as they occupy a large portion of radio advertising specially when a new show is launched."

The impact is making itself felt elsewhere too, although to a small extent. Says Fever's Kolkata station head Pralay Bakshi, In Kolkata, the local TV content is strong, so the strike doesn't matter too much. Also, the main advertisers here are retailers and corporates and media forms a small part. A marginal dip makes marginal difference....

TME President Divya Radhakrishnan analyses the situation as, "Radio would be badly impacted as there won't be any new show launch and it might be on a halt for the time being....

On the flip side, if the broadcasters' impasse continues for long, will it induce a section of the advertisers to sample radio as an alternative medium?

The radio industry is cautiously optimistic, while expressing its solidarity with the television fraternity. Chakravarty is hopeful that if the broadcasting strike continues, it might induce the advertisers to invest in other mediums like radio but is also hoping the strike is called off soon. Advertisers need value for their money and radio reaches the same audiences like TV and also has the advantage of being cost effective,... he says.

Lodestar Universal CEO Shashi Sinha is of the opinion that it is too early to predict that radio might benefit from this broadcasting crisis. If the strike persists for a month or so, it might result in deviation of advertising to other mediums like radio, he says.

Adds Sunil Kumar, Media planners have their own plans which take into account such contingencies too, so, it won't necessarily result in shifting of advertising to radio, which has its own budgets and doesn't clash with television. The result would possibly be budgets getting further divided and spreading across other channels to get their GRPs. If GECs are affected, advertising might shift to other news, sports or film channels."

Agrees Radhakrishnan, Radio won't gain from the broadcasting crisis at the moment as there are other options within the television sectors, and advertising might get diversified to movies, news channels instead of the GECs."

Says Red FM's Surendar, "It's too early to sense a shift on account of non-availability of fresh content on GECs. Advertisers who are heavy on the GECs will explore options and if radio fits in their scheme of things, then it augurs well for the medium."

All now hinges on the broadcasters, producers and FWICE sorting out their differences. Caught between the devil and the deep sea, radio as a medium can only wait and watch.