| 28 May 2024
IRF 2013: Digital is the future for radio

MUMBAI: To reach out to wider and newer set of audience, the private FM radio industry unanimously considers digital as the future of the emerging industry even as the much awaited FM Phase III is expected to be the game changer.

During one of the sessions- ‘India Radio: Sharing Radio’s Growth’ at IRF 2013, the annual radio forum that brought  top notch radio professionals under one roof, discussions were held on the challenges that are faced by the medium and what are the focus areas on the path to growth. Radio City CEO Apurva Purohit, Big FM business head Ashwin Padmanabhan, Mathrubhumi printing and publishing marketing senior general manager George Sebastian, Red FM COO Nisha Narayanan and Radio Mirchi executive director & CEO Prashant Panday highlighted wide range of aspects like content, branding, regulation and suggested digital use of radio for growth.

Commencing the session on a very positive Purohit opined that lets focus on the way forward rather than just cribbing over government regulations. Looking forward to the road ahead,  let us all accept the inhibitions and find out a solution to our problems.

“Regulation is there to stay so we have to find other way to grow. I believe digital can unleash more powers of radio. Obviously, we will face issues like royalty fees, regulations and difficulties in obtaining licences yet I believe we can look at digital as the future.”

“15 per cent of streaming that happens in Gaana is because of our radio stations. Digital platform gives space to provide differentiated content online,” added Panday.

Use of radio digitally can be seen as a driver for the industry in future if the industry can focus on it in the coming years.  Purohit shared, “Multi-platform is required in the digital space. Freedom Radio app will help us to provide mobile radio consumers the content they wish to have and create a community around the content. Mobile penetration goes well with niche content.”

In terms of raking in moolah,Padmanabhan added, “Digital is the future in terms of monetization also.”

Defending the moderator of the session Futurebrands CEO Santosh Desai on all stations airing similar content Panday said, “In reality, newspapers also have similarity in programming but we don’t accuse them of having similar content as they are recognized by their respective brands. We are developing ourselves with content. We are the most accused medium by many for running similar content but in reality we have our own vision with differentiated programming and content for our respective radio stations.”

Sebastian agreed, “Stations have music-based programming so we sound similar but if one looks closely we have variety in our stations.”

“We are just a ten year old industry and to be a recognized as a brand we need time. Many leading television channels are known for their sub brands that is their serials and we hope that we will also be recognized for the programming that is aired on our stations,” revealed Purohit.

Overall, the industry is very positive on digital being the future of the medium in spite of all the impediments faced by the nascent medium. Where innovation on programming is considered, the industry is working on developing sub brands and programmes that will offer distinguished identity to stations.