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BW Businessworld

What To Expect From The Radio Industry In 2017

2017 will also see radio stations pumping in a lot of money in the newer markets to establish brand saliency

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2016 was good, till the time the Demonetisation was announced - but thankfully it was done post Diwali. Yes the last 2 months have been going tough and the impact will spill over for next couple of quarters, I personally feel that 2017 will be better! December which is usually flooded with retail and automobile ads saw dip in the volumes as against last year but we are confident, it is a short lived phenomenon. With the government encouraging people to opt for digital payment methods and portals, we expect the markets and consumptions patterns to return to normalcy as we progress towards 2017.Radio business grew in the range of 13-15 per cent and I am sure that with new frequencies this trend will continue and expect growth rate between 11-13 per cent with a plus minus of 1-2 per cent.

My optimism lies on the fact that in 2016 we were able to have start of phase batch 1 stations and auction for batch was done. So expect more action and market expansion in 2017 as we go ahead. Almost all players have been registered healthy single or double digit growth in first 3 quarters of 2016 and hope that the trends will continue for us. Our top line grew in the range of 20 per cent which was backed by both volume and yield growth in tier-II and tier-III cities and an overall increase in ad rates. Radio players across the country have been able to hike the ad rates. For e.g. 92.7 Big FM hiked the ad rates by 30-35 percent, Red FM 93.5 increased ad rates by 35 per cent etc.

Most of us were also busy launching new stations in 2016 and hence next year will be actual test while we fight it on grounds. The competition will certainly expand market and volume and with elections scheduled in some key markets, we do expect better returns in 2017. The second round of phase-3 auction is also expected to spur the market for radio in the country as radio station operators would expand and enter further in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. We are also hopeful that government will come with its plan of Phase 3 batch 3 with some better offering in terms of reduction in frequency in metros to help us expand further in new genre.

In the times of demonetisation, while certain categories showed a slide in business, it opened up windows for other advertisers to talk cashless payments and digital transactions and thus opened few more avenues. Although consumerism overall has taken a back seat, but I hope that now it will come back on track. We plan to expand our business in all the verticals of FCT, Activations, Events and new & non-traditional media and are eyeing good growth opportunities in 2017.

2017 will also see radio stations pumping in a lot of money in the newer markets to establish brand saliency. While the radio stations fight it out for consumer mind space in the newly acquired cities it gives birth to newer programming formats, innovative media campaigns, specially curated events resulting in more variety for the end listeners and better value for the advertises.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Nisha Narayanan

The author is COO, RED FM

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