| 25 Sep 2022
HT Music and Entertainment business head S Keerthivasan - We are focused and targeted on the metros and big cities

In the ebb and flow of the FM industry, stations are bubbling with new concepts and newer formats to remain differentiated. HT Music and Entertainment's Fever FM treaded an untrodden path by introducing 'less talk, more music'. HT Music and Entertainment business head S Keerthivasan in a tete with Nasrin Sultana, elaborates how 'its all about the music' in Fever FM.


How much money has been invested into the Fever FM radio venture?

We have put in Rs 750 million as licensing fees. About Rs 70 to 80 million is spent in launching a FM station. We have completed the launch of four stations in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. In all, we have spent around Rs 250 million.

Are you bidding for the remaining 97 stations too? Which stations would you be looking at? Will you expand the Fever footprint to the non-metros and small cities too?

Yes, we are bidding for a few stations, but I would not like to give out the number at this juncture.

When we launched, we decided that we would be focused on the big cities. We wanted to stay in big cities, which we will continue to do. We are leveraging our strengths in Delhi and Mumbai as of now.

How is the revenue flow from all the stations?

Revenue definitely comes from the two big metros, Delhi and Mumbai.
We are in a growing phase. We need to concentrate on the two big cities, and then we will move on.

Where do you place Fever FM in a market which is already so cluttered?

We are the only differentiated station among the others. We are the only station that plays English and Hindi songs at length. Also, we have very less RJ talk and more music. We are an extremely niche station and I think that has worked extremely well as a clutter breaker in a market like Delhi. When we are doing well in Delhi, I think we can get to the top spot in Mumbai too. In Mumbai, it's only a matter of time.

Anything we do is backed by a lot of research. You will never find us rushing through anything. We do big things and big things need time. Like, we did the A R Rahman concert in Delhi which turned out to be the biggest thing in Delhi, which no other FM station has ever tried its hand at.
We are very true to what we believe is the consumers' need. I think the market respects us, and the big ad guys are backing us.

Do you think the 'less talk, more music' format has worked for you?

It's not only about the format. I think it is also the number and kind of songs that Fever FM plays. We do not edit any of the songs that we play, unlike the other FM stations. We play full songs - 80 per cent Hindi and 20 per cent international songs. Our TG is 18 to 35 years. Also, we are focused on our TG. I would not cater to anybody else beyond the TG, but if anybody else likes to listen to Fever, he is welcome.

Does the content mix of 80 Hindi and 20 International songs work in a place like Bangalore? Because Bangalore listeners could be more inclined to Kannada and English songs?

No, it does work in Bangalore. We have a decent amount of listeners in Bangalore. But the base is less because we had some reception problems in Bangalore, which are rectified now.

Did you have any problems with the reception towers of Fever FM in Mumbai?

Yes, there have been some. People were complaining of low reception, but now we are working upon it. In the next one month, we will rectify all such problems.

But you have been around for a year in Mumbai, why did not you work on the problem earlier?

There were a couple of problems with the tower. We erected the tower, then we faced problems from the people in the building. We had to abandon it and now the work on the new tower is on. We were kind of unlucky in that matter. Initially, many of the FM stations faced such problems.

What about ads being placed in your platform?

There are no ads in the first 40 minutes of an hour. That is what is working as a differentiator for us. We have fewer ads, yet we have good ad value.

Is it part of your strategy to be associated with big concerts and create a brand?

A R Rahman was our own concert, the others like Hip Hop Hustle, Beyonce ... we have tied up with. We are only one year old, we have so much of things to do. We have to launch our own stations, we have to build our brand. We will build up those things but in due course of time.

How did the Tick Tock Bingo campaign work for Fever FM?

Yes, it worked very well. It is part of our strategy to try to do something big every month. We do not believe in doing small contests. In March, we are rolling out a big contest again.

How is the ad flow in Delhi and Mumbai?

50 -60 per cent of the revenue comes from Delhi and Mumbai. The rest comes from Bangalore and now Kolkata.

What do you think about Ram (Radio Audience Measurement)?

Ram will give a good indication of the market but right now there is plenty of clutter in the market. Give it some 12-14 months, and the right shape of the industry will be out.

Does Virgin have any controlling stake in Hindustan Media?

No, they do not have any stake. Virgin is only the consulting partner for Fever. We actually won the Virgin brand in India. Fever is using the Virgin brand.

Are you planning to launch any website unlike other stations?

Yes, we are working on it. We will launch it by December.