| 13 Apr 2024
Red FM grew by 30 per cent in 2014

Red FM COO Nisha Narayanan

Year 2014 for Red FM

2014-15 was a good year for Red FM. Year to date (till October) we have grown 30 per cent. We have built the brand much stronger; particularly the smaller markets outside the metros have been good. Categories like real estate, retail, FMCG and others, have worked very well for us. In the real estate sector, the market has grown by 17 per cent and Red FM has grown by 30 per cent. In the retail sector, the market has grown by 33 per cent and Red FM has grown by 38 per cent. On the other hand, health has grown by 32 per cent and Red FM has grown by 59 per cent in the health segment. All the above categories have worked for Red FM and the election wave has also added to the bottom-line.

There is a fair amount of business that has come in due to the election revenue. To top it all, the on-ground initiative has also strengthened the brand saliency and revenue.

On-ground activities for 2014

One of our initiatives ‘Red Live’ is a vertical for our live property. We have done six concerts in six months. With the penetration of ‘Red Live’ in tier II and tier III cities, we are trying to spread to smaller markets. We are looking at 20-25 per cent growth in a year with ‘Red Live’. Our annual fest ‘Red Raas’ will now enter the fifth season next year.

‘Red Bandstand’ is an IP where we give young bands the opportunity to perform at a public place. We do not want to limit the property in terms of venue like a pub or a theatre. We camp in between the hustle and get the band to play. This is a fortnightly activity which has organised six gigs till date. We showcase talented musicians from the Indie, Bollywood and Electronic space. Bands/musicians attract a fan following across the country due to our digital promotions.

‘Tashanbaaz’ is a property to hunt for talent in colleges across various markets. All these things, along with many other on-ground activities we have done, have worked well for Red FM.

In H1, we did about six concerts under ‘Red Live’. Most of them were sponsored and we had also integrated the property with our on-air programming. The last big event we did was the Kapil Sharma show at the Indira Gandhi National Stadium, which was almost sold out. When we organise an event in Bhubaneshwar or Banaras we attract around 2,500 people. When we organise the event in Siliguri, we had over 10,000 people, however, the Kapil Sharma show attracted 15,000 people.

We will continue to organise properties that will be a mix of music, comedy and other elements in the future.

Trends in Cities

We have grown more in tier II cities than metros. Tier II towns have shown 30 per cent growth compared to 20 per cent growth in the metros. That is the culmination of FCT, revenues through on-ground events and other revenue streams.

Currently, we are trying to have concerts in the cities that we are present in.

Challenges for radio

The major concern for some radio players from Phase I would be the license expansion issue, as licenses of many players will end on 31 March. The critical issue here is extension of licenses. Until it is sorted out, it will be a cause for worry.

There are still number of issues that need a sense of commitment from the Ministry. The issue surrounding music royalty and independent news and current affairs allowed on radio, are topics that need to be looked after. Independent news and current affairs means that radio should not have to dependent on All India Radio for news and those radio players who have holdings in newspaper, television and internet.

I would say that in mature market our inventory is at its maximum level. I think one needs to spread it out to smaller markets as well and see that there is proper momentum as far as revenue growth is concerned without increasing inventories.

Expansion plans with M&A

We have plans to expand largely in new markets in the future. We are looking at both organic and inorganic growth provided the pricing is correct. Pricing would be the driving factor. As far as M&A is concerned, we will be open to looking at strategic partnership in specific market places.

Partnerships for 2014

We tied-up with Sunburn and Indian Super League in 2014. Apart from new partnerships, we have our regular tie-ups with Indian Premier League, GIMA, IIFA and College feast, which also took place this year. This gives us a fair amount of mileage. With Sunburn, even though the music is different compared to the music we play on radio, the brand represents youth which is why the partnership took place. Red FM will continue partnering with brands that represent the youth.

News and Current Affairs

As an industry, I strongly believe that news and current affairs should be allowed on radio stations. As far as, news is concerned on radio, there can always be self-regulation and a measured way of delivering it. We are more than happy that the government will give us certain guidelines to deliver our news. If the radio station fails, a penalty can be implemented. The medium demands information. As long as news and current affairs are not allowed, there will be limited variety of radio content.

International radio is more open to talk radio and there are a lot of analysis and discussions that take place through radio. Unfortunately, 99 per cent of Indian radio stations play only music and, now, maybe radio stations will be mature enough to accept talk radio. Not allowing news somewhere restricts discussion and debates. I am of the opinion that news should be allowed in the regulatory framework if required, failing which a penalty can be issued. I think the power of radio should be recognised by the Government of India.  

Expectation for 2015

We are hoping for double digit growth, which depends on Phase III. The Phase III announcement has not taken place yet; we hope that it does not get delayed any further.