| 09 Jun 2023
Radio Mirchi CEO Prashant Panday - We will carry out the fight against piracy on our own

In association with sibling Mirchi Movies, Radio Mirchi has launched its maiden CSR initiative 'Listen to my movie'. The forthcoming children's film �Hari Puttar' will be the first film to be converted into an audio film, an initiative that will help the visually challenge to enjoy the movie as well.

This week, Mirchi also announced that its recent launches have broken even operationally.

Radio Mirchi CEO Prashant Panday in conversation with's Anita Iyer, comments on the station's CSR plans, growth in the radio industry and changing advertising streams.

Radio Mirchi is recording audio books and audio reels for visually handicapped children?

We have been essentially thinking about Corporate Social Responsibility for a long time now and have been doing things informally. Also, what works as an advantage is that being from radio background, we are audio experts and can work effectively for the cause. We are recording books for more than 84 institutes and catering to more than 5,000 visually challenged people.

How has the response from listeners for this initiative been?

We have the audio books and audio reels in English and Hindi, but will be adding some more languages. We have 32 networks and listeners from all over would be taking part in the initiative. We already have 120 volunteers working from our Delhi station so, with all networks volunteering to contribute, we are expecting to add many more languages.

Radio Mirchi had announced FCT worth $ 1 million to combat the menace of music piracy? What has been planed on that front?

Although we have offered FCT worth $ one million, the music industry has not come forward to avail the offer. We intend to create public awareness and are no longer waiting for the music industry. In the end if they do not respond, we will carry out this fight alone against the menace of piracy.

Where is advertising in radio positioned today?

Advertising in radio is growing rapidly and today it occupies about four to five per cent of the total media. If the industry grows at the same rate, it would reach at least seven per cent in the next two years and would outpace the growth of any industry in a given period of time. This growth in advertising will help the radio industry as a whole and it would be regarded as the next potential advertising medium, after TV and print.

Are you open to invest in small towns in Phase III of FM, knowing the glitches?

We would plan to invest in Phase III only after looking at the exact number of bidders and the policy framed by the government. If the policies are progressive and work in favour of the stations, we would invest in small pockets as well.

How difficult is profitability in Category B and C radio stations?

We have about nine stations in other categories and are able to function with the revenues from other networks. It works for us as we have many networks and are an established brand. Of course, investing in small towns hasn't gone too well with all the operators.

What about the ad revenues in these stations?

We sell advertising space on a full network basis and have more national clients pumping in ads. We have local ads in areas like Baroda, Bhopal, Indore etc. but in smaller markets like Goa and Vizag, there is no local industry to advertise. So, the economy in these stations mainly depends on the national advertising.

Where is the radio industry heading? What amendments must be made to facilitate further growth?

The radio industry today is sized around Rs eight billion and in another five years, it can easily go up to Rs 27 to 30 billion. Phase III would be interesting, with 250 towns on offer but there should be an increase in the number of frequencies; offering about 25 in metros as they have the potential and the listeners too. Multiple frequencies is the solution and would further conceive smaller formats of music. Due to single frequencies, all the stations sound more or less the same but with multiple frequencies the radio stations might navigate in different genres like English tracks, Classical, Retro etc. This would definitely change the face of radio but would require progressive plans from the government.

How much share of the market share does radio Mirchi possess?

The size of the radio industry last year was Rs eight billion and AIR occupies about Rs three billion of the total industry. The private FM industry occupies around Rs five billion and Radio Mirchi has a share of Rs 2.3 billion, constituting a revenue share of 42.45 per cent in the private FM space.

It's being written that you plan to take Mirchi overseas and penetrate the global market?

There is a demand for Mirchi in the global market among overseas Indians and we are looking forward to enter the global market. We are keeping an eye on the global market but we haven't decided on any strategy as yet.