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News |  29 Sep 2008 18:17 |  By AnitaIyer

"Hindi audiences are crucial for the BBC"

MUMBAI: The BBC recently rolled out a two city campaign including print advertising and on-ground activation for promoting its three infotainment shows - BBC Ek Minute, Ek Mulaqat and BBC Take One.

Talking about the reach of the medium, BBC India Business Development Manager Vineeta Dwivedi avers, "There are places where there is no electricity, no cable, no TV but radio has its presence and only form of entertainment and information for the villagers. Radio is a mass medium and reaches about 97 per cent of the masses. BBC world service is broadcasted in 33 languages of which Hindi is one of the most important languages and gets one of the maximum audiences from all over the world." 

BBC provides its capsules in all the stations of Radio One, BBC provides content to regional FM stations like Radio Choklate (Bubhaneshwar, Rourkela), Radio Chaska (Gwalior), Radio Tadka (Udaipur, Jaipur), Radio Tomato (Kolhapur) and Radio Misty (Siliguri).

BBC has been providing sports, news and entertainment news to 11 cities in Tamil, Hindi and English. "We are doing FM specific programmes meant for Indian audiences in the local languages, so these are not the programmes packaged abroad and given to India and other countries. As news is not allowed in the FM space, we provide more infotainment news comprising sports, entertainment and soft stuff produced by our Indian team."

"We have our reporters in various cities and we do our news collection from various parts of the city and package them in our bureau in Delhi. The news is packaged in our studio and then given out to our content seekers."

BBC World Service had recently announced its tie up with a Chandigarh-based community Vivek 90.4 FM. "It is not the first community radio to have our content on air, we earlier had Delhi based Jamia Millia Islamia University, Chandigarh based university, Chennai based University among others. In case of colleges and universities, the focus is more on educational and developmental programmes."

Stressing on the acceptability of Hindi as a common language across most stations, Dwiwedi says, "Most stations today play Bollywood tracks, Hindi has become a common lingo in India and many RJs throughout are using Hindi as a language of conversation  The language used in our capsules is simple Hindi, the kinds used across entertainment channels and not the clich?©d bookish language. We might however increase the number of language if the need arises."

BBC offers differentiation in content in both the SW and FM space. "By doing the FM specific programmes, we are focusing on youth who are not used to listening to AM and for them FM is synonyms for radio. AM radio is traditional radio so the style is different and does a lot of speech radio. FM is mainly music, so we have to do what the market demands  For FM, we package small programmes where the style of programming and content differs from AM." 

BBC is planning to explore options in all existing platforms of communication available, including FM, broadband, DTH channel distribution system, mobile phone and satellite radio  "We have been thinking of launching mobile services, the plan has been to launch news services in audio format where people can dial and listen to BBC programmes  We are working on that and would be launching soon."  

"BBC sees India as an important market," says Dwivedi "Hindi audiences are crucial because there are loyal listeners for our Hindi programmes. BBC has 19 million listeners on its short wave band in India who listen to the BBC World Service regularly as also the services available on WorldSpace satellite radio."