‘NO DIG­I­TAL RA­DIO STA­TION CAN MATCH THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF RA­DIO’

MY FM op­er­ates with a unique strat­egy fo­cused on Tier II and III mar­kets, in­stead of the met­ros, which is in con­trast to most other ra­dio sta­tions. Rahul Namjoshi, Busi­ness Head of MY FM, who took over the po­si­tion in Novem­ber 2017, tells us that this str

Impact - - CONTENTS - RAHUL NAMJOSHI, BUSI­NESS HEAD OF MY FM

Q] While sev­eral ra­dio sta­tions are en­ter­ing mar­kets where MY FM has a strong­hold, will we see a re­verse of that hap­pen­ing in your case, in terms of a metro de­but?

As a pol­icy, we would not like to be in metro cities. We un­der­stand our mar­ket very well and are pretty happy where we are cur­rently, with the abil­ity to main­tain a good bot­tom line. The met­ros are over­crowded and clut­tered. We are do­ing well in our do­main and if any new sta­tion op­por­tu­nity props up in our mar­ket, we will def­i­nitely grab it.

Q] Since tak­ing over as Busi­ness Head of MY FM, what are some of the key changes that you have brought about?

Har­ish Bha­tia, my men­tor, has done a great job with this com­pany and I am only adding to it, while keep­ing its essence in­tact. One of the things I have ini­ti­ated since join­ing is to get sales and prod­uct teams to work to­gether for the com­mon in­ter­est of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, as well as our lis­ten­ers.

Q] This year, MY FM’s Q1 re­sults were not as good as the same pe­riod last year. What were the chal­lenges hin­der­ing growth?

We con­sciously took some cor­rec­tive ac­tion in an ef­fort at bet­ter­ing our prod­uct.

One of these changes was in terms of mu­sic.

70-80% of ra­dio is mu­sic, we promised our lis­ten­ers that we will give them max­i­mum mu­sic. In or­der to do this, we con­trolled our ads space in­ven­tory. In most cities, we play more mu­sic, com­pared to our peers. For a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence, we needed to re­duce the ads.

Q] Has this re­sulted in an in­crease in ad costs?

We are try­ing to in­crease the ad cost as well as the non­air­time busi­ness, which in­cludes on-ground ac­ti­va­tion. This also pro­vides our clients with a 360 de­gree so­lu­tion with bet­ter re­sults. Apart from this, we are also us­ing the dig­i­tal space bet­ter. Thus, these were all con­scious de­ci­sions taken with full aware­ness of their im­pact on our bot­tom line.

Q] What per­cent­age of your rev­enue comes from con­tent in­te­gra­tion to­day?

Cur­rently, about 17%-18% of our over­all rev­enue comes from con­tent in­te­gra­tion. We are hop­ing to in­crease

this fig­ure to 25-30%.

Q] How dif­fer­ent are ad­ver­tis­ers on MY FM, when com­pared to other ra­dio sta­tions?

In our mar­ket, typ­i­cally Q1 is dom­i­nated by ed­u­ca­tion, then there is real es­tate, life­style, FMCG and auto. These are the top five cat­e­gories. The real In­dia lives in

Tier II and Tier III towns which we call Bharat and therein lies our strength. In fact, ev­ery­body is mov­ing to­wards this mar­ket. This con­sumer seg­ment does not have many av­enues­for en­ter­tain­ment, so Ra­dio is one of the big­gest en­ter­tain­ment medi­ums for them and our RJs be­come mini celebri­ties in those mar­kets. For ex­am­ple, in Jaipur, our morn­ing RJ has over one mil­lion fol­low­ers.

Q] What unique value propo­si­tion does MY FM have to of­fer ad­ver­tis­ers in such mar­kets?

Tier II and Tier III mar­kets don’t have many pro­duc­tion

houses who can cus­tom­ize jin­gles for brands. We rec­og­nized this op­por­tu­nity some three-four years ago, and cre­ated a sep­a­rate pro­duc­tion set-up within our sys­tem, where we cre­ate cus­tom­ized jin­gles for each client, with the pro­duc­tion costs borne by us. How­ever, while we would love our clients to use these jin­gles cre­ated by us ex­clu­sively on MY FM, we do not re­strict them from play­ing the jin­gles on ri­val sta­tions and other medi­ums like TV, caller tunes, ring­tones, etc. My pro­duc­tion team across In­dia is roughly 6070 peo­ple strong and we have 30 ra­dio sta­tions, some of them in ver­nac­u­lar lan­guages. We are proud of the fact that over 70-80% of lo­cally-cre­ated spots in Tier II and Tier III mar­kets like Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Chandi­garh, and In­dore are made by MY FM. This setup has pro­vided a boost to our rev­enues as well, be­cause ad­ver­tis­ers re­ally love our pro­duc­tions and pro­duc­tion qual­ity.

Q] What are MY FM’s big plans for the fes­tive sea­son?

This fes­tive sea­son, we are look­ing at con­trol­ling the in­ven­tory, bet­ter­ing pro­duc­tions apart from jin­gles, and work­ing on bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion to ad­dress clients’ needs. We cre­ated a sep­a­rate key team who will be work­ing only on the top ad­ver­tis­ing spenders in cat­e­gories such as au­to­mo­bile, life­style, FMCG, etc to cre­ate a bet­ter au­dio ex­pe­ri­ence for ad­ver­tis­ers, as well as lis­ten­ers. We ex­pect to gain a lot from these cat­e­gories this sea­son and are look­ing at a dou­ble digit rev­enue growth over the same

pe­riod last year.

Q] More and more youth are mov­ing to dig­i­tal ra­dio, which at a ba­sic sub­scrip­tion fee, pro­vides ad-free mu­sic. How are you coun­ter­ing that?

In­dia has be­come dig­i­tally savvy.

While Saavn and other such plat­forms are do­ing well, the beauty of Ra­dio lies in its unpredictability. So, for ex­am­ple Saavn dis­plays the list of songs up front, while lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio has a touch of unpredictability to it, in that the lis­tener does not know the next song which will be played. That could even be an old fa­vorite, which one may have not heard in years. The science be­hind the mu­sic is again is some­thing no dig­i­tal plat­form can match. Fi­nally, there is a cer­tain tal­ent in the way an RJ pack­ages an up­com­ing song, and how they pre-sell it, too.

Q] Ra­dio does not have a uni­form mea­sure­ment sys­tem. Is that one of the rea­sons why big ad­ver­tis­ers are not pump­ing in much money into the sec­tor?

As long as ad­ver­tis­ers can­not eval­u­ate and mea­sure the out­come of their money spent, they will not be able to jus­tify the ad spends to them­selves or oth­ers, which is the big­gest chal­lenge faced by the ra­dio in­dus­try to­day. We don’t have a proper cur­rency which is ap­proved by ev­ery­one. So some­body uses IRS data, some­body uses RAM. As part of the ra­dio fra­ter­nity, we are work­ing to come up with a so­lu­tion for this, as it is re­strict­ing the growth of the medium. And if this cur­rency doesn’t be­come a re­al­ity, we will con­tinue to strug­gle. The best ex­am­ple is BARC and the growth of FTA chan­nels af­ter it came into be­ing. Ac­tu­ally Ra­dio de­liv­ers a lot more than what we are cred­ited for. It’s an ef­fec­tive medium, and the only one that lit­er­ally trav­els with you. For ex­am­ple, you can lis­ten to the ra­dio while driv­ing, while shop­ping, etc. The life­cy­cle of Print is 8 am and that of Tele­vi­sion starts typ­i­cally af­ter 8 pm. Most shop­ping takes place from 8 am to 8 pm. There­fore ra­dio is the only medium which stays with you through the day. Thus, the medium has tremen­dous po­ten­tial, but the ab­sence of a uni­form cur­rency is re­strict­ing it. How­ever, hope­fully within the next three months, we will be able to roll out some uni­form cur­rency for mea­sure­ment.

Q] Where do you see MY FM five years from now?

While we are al­ready num­ber 1 in our mar­ket, I see MY FM be­com­ing the most prof­itable com­pany in this sec­tor within the next three-five years.

@ FEED­BACK neeta.nair@ex­change4­me­dia.com

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