| 04 Oct 2023
Nisha Narayanan: 2013 was a reflection of growth in radio from non-metro cities
Nisha Narayanan
Nisha Narayanan

RED FM COO Nisha Narayanan

Radio industry 2013

2013 has been a good year overall. Metros did better as compared to last year. Tier II and Tier III cities have also been doing well. I have always believed that the next level of growth in radio will come from the non-metro cities and 2013 was a reflection of this. Even though the third quarter was not as buoyant as expected, overall it has been a good year.

2013 for Red FM

It has been a very busy and rewarding year for Red FM. We have engaged our listeners and clients with some very interesting innovations on-air, on-ground and digitally. From our concerts under the Red Live vertical in Delhi and smaller towns like Varanasi and Guwahati to our programming-led activities such as Sachin-200 and Big Boss integration, the year has been abuzz with innovations. We have had some very good client based innovations across our markets, such as Thappa and Tashanbaaz. Our digital wing has been engaging listeners online by continuously giving them interesting content. The Red FM Facebook page reached a milestone of half million likes and is a sizeable and loyal community for the brand.

Expectations for 2013

The expectation this year was to have the brand deliver more value to both the listeners and advertisers alike, to make the brand more visible, and to grow our Red Live and digital verticals. We have done very well on these and the brand has won some very prestigious awards. Our RJs- be it Malishka, Swati, Rocky, Raunac, Rishi Kapoor, Anadi all have been winning good number of awards at IRF, NYF, Golden Mikes. Red FM was also awarded the ‘Most Attractive Brand’ title in the Radio Category. We have a young, vibrant and very enthusiastic team and they are leading the brand forward with flying colours.

Activations in 2013 compared to 2012

While we have continued to have activations and events in metros, what 2013 saw for the first time was an increase in interest in doing these in smaller markets as well. This year, we had innovative and listener-driven ideas being carried out in Shillong, Varanasi, Allahabad and so on. The major change is that today, all of our markets are doing their own quirky stuff, truly Bajaate Raho versions keeping in mind the culture of the place. We are going more local and celebrating the local ethos in the Red FM spirit of Bajaate Raho.

Percent of growth for Red Live in 2013

I haven’t worked out the exact percentage yet, but off-hand I think it would be a hundred percent.

Live gigs and on-air partnership

The Red Live events are not done in isolation but there is full ownership of these on-air through promos in high-rotates, contests for tickets, meet and greet for listeners with the artists and airing of the performing artiste’s songs. Even though there is no live broadcast of the concert, we integrate the content in our programming in the best possible way. For example, The Mika Singh concert was customised and packaged for a special show- ‘Gandi Baat’ which was aired on the New Years’ eve. We do not want to treat our Live events as a separate entity, they form a part of our 360 approach where-in we use them as an opportunity to create great content for radio.

Digital for Red FM

Digital is one strong wing that any radio station today will have to eventually get into, be it streaming music or offering more differentiated products as extension of the radio brand digitally. It is imperative for a radio brand to have a strong digital presence since most of radio consumers are very active on the digital space and it is important for any radio brand to engage with them there. Digital is the way forward and Red FM will be present in anything that the youth (in terms of age or at heart) consumes. The consumption of internet in India is growing every day, and Red FM believes in remaining in tune with the times. With almost 50 per cent of consumption of internet being on smartphones, it is important to be constantly innovating therefore, Red FM as a brand will keep on extending itself on these platforms.

Per cent of revenue witnessed in FCT

We have had a fair amount of growth and our metros have done well. The smaller markets have actually performed even better and showed that the potential they have had is now translating into numbers. As compared to last year, I see our key markets doing much better this year.

Promotional activities received for the brand

Our brand promotional activities have been received very well, which is one of the reasons why we have been doing so many activations and events, back-to-back. Both advertisers and audiences have been very supportive through their sponsorships, listenership and loyalty. Red Live is a well thought and executed concept, where we bring the biggest and the most popular music performers Live for our listeners. Our strong local connect is evident in our choice of events and artists for different markets. The successful year gone by has further strengthened our confidence in our initiatives. RED Live is here to stay and with the kind of efforts the team is putting in, the intellectual property is set to get bigger and better. Innovation, consistency and excellence in experience offered to customers are the mantra to success for an event vertical.

Phase III

We are still not very clear on when the Phase III will come in, and how the government will address the issue of migration of existing licenses. We were asked to submit our recommendations, and we have done that. However, we can start planning for Phase III only once we have more clarity on the issue.

Plans for 2014

I think a lot of our on-air planning will depend on the clarity we get about our existing licenses and Phase III, how much we bid and to what extent. Digital, however, will not depend on this and we will continue to focus on growth there. Also, we will be further strengthening our smaller markets, and focusing on localisation of content and marketing. We have detailed plans for growth, which will all be revealed in due time.