| 23 May 2022
Advertisers need to give radio its fair chance

Noida-based advertising company, Creative Thinks Media (CTM), has undertaken a massive audience survey to study the impact of radio on audiences. The Radio Channel’s Trends Measure (R-CTM) survey studies a sample size of around 15000 across Delhi-NCR region, planned and conducted over a period of an year starting March, 2013.

This primary information is churned and collected by their team at their own expense with a target to break the notion that industry has now for the medium.

There are some breathtaking revelations that are already coming into place which would be revealed once the survey has been shaped up completely. In a conversation with, Creative Thinks Media MD Ritesh Malik shares his passion towards the medium and sheds light on key areas of concern for the radio industry.


Where does FM radio stand in the mass media hierarchy- in terms of entertainment and news medium?

FM Radio is relatively new medium in India. It has gained traction since it was privatised in 2002 - 03, and has gained tremendous ground in the all cities it is present in. It is mainly an entertainment medium since news has still not been allowed by the government. The advertising share which is the barometer of success in any market is steadily growing for radio vis-a-vis traditional mediums like print and outdoor.

The flexibility which a radio station provides in terms of content innovation and content adaptation, per geographical region is not possible with any other medium. Radio changes its presentation as per the local dialect and local listener requirements unlike any other medium. It is an interactive medium which takes the listener involvement to the next level where the listeners get emotionally attached to the radio station taking the meaning of entertainment to another level. The adrenaline rush which the listeners get being on-air, is ultimate entertainment.

How much of the media and entertainment (M&E) revenue pie does the radio industry account for?

There is no authorized survey to certify the radio advertising share. The industry experts estimate it to be anywhere between 2-4 per cent. I personally believe it has gone up to 10 per cent in the financial year 2012-2013. It will tend to vary between 8-10 per cent for the next five years.

Are there ways to increase the share?

Indians have a habit of reading, hence the importance of newspaper advertising will not go out of fashion so soon. Though lot of advertisers have now started transferring their budgets from print to radio, but that is happening at a retail level. For the radio industry to have an increase in the advertising pie, lot of big corporate advertisers will have to park their advertising budgets with radio, which isn't happening at the moment.

Traditional myths are yet to be broken amongst these advertisers, people buying media and planning media for these big brands need to get exposed to the power of radio in a much bigger way for radio to get to a formidable position. Also media buyers and planners need to get out of their comfort zones of print and television and think beyond their personal likes and dislikes and give radio its fair chance to prove itself.

When we pitch radio, we get answers from marketing heads such as "I will die, but will never use radio ", I mean this is ridiculous way of looking at the medium.

A little about Radio Channel’s Trends Measure (R-CTM) and its purpose.

I can only speak about our initiative; the most important USP of R-CTM will be the size of the sample in a limited geographic zone of Delhi / NCR alone. We look to cover at least 15000 respondents dividing each of them on the basis of age, male, female, occupation and region. Such a huge sample size has never been taken for radio as a medium and that too for a single city.

The second USP is that it has been designed by people who are revenue generation experts and who have been associated with the radio industry since its beginning in India, hence the results will be a revelation in terms of the steps to be taken by all radio professionals in working towards making the best plans that give the best results to the advertisers.

In which markets is the company starting its survey? Any expansion plans- region wise and demographically?

Right now we are concentrating on  Delhi/NCR only, it is an extensive survey happening over a period of 12 months, with more than 15000 respondents, hence the expansion plans in other cities are not there at the present. Also such a survey demands lot of time and money which we have to manage on our own, hence considering the humongous amount of investment involved we cannot look at expanding in other cities for the time being.

With FM Phase III on the horizon, what can be expected of the radio industry?

I have mentioned this in my other interviews as well; FM Phase III is good for radio industry only if good quality manpower can match up with the expansion that will happen.

We do not have good training centres, no specific radio training schools or institutes which can give us better human resources against the expansion. Retaining and improving the current manpower is the toughest challenge radio industry has. Poaching each other's talent is another problem that will arise, so the gain for one radio operator could be a loss for another. Content development and content differentiation will be roadblocks as well. So in all FM Phase III is good but challenging.