World Radio Day 2022: How the radio industry is paving the way for its next phase of growth

  • Every year the world Radio The day is celebrated on February 13.
  • The theme of the 2022 edition of World Radio Day is devoted to “Radio and trust”, because despite a global decline in trust in the Internet and social networks, radio continues to be considered by people as one of the most reliable sources of information.
  • We talk to industry leaders to understand where radio stands today as an industry in India, how it has evolved and what needs to be done to ensure it continues to withstand the test of time.

In the late 70s, English new wave band The Buggles rose to fame with their incredibly catchy debut single, Video Killed The Radio Star, which lamented changes in technology which they believed would eventually kill the audio medium. It was the time when television was slowly becoming more popular and people were slowly moving from radio to visually appealing video medium.

Fast forward 43 years and radio has proven to be one of the most resilient media. Radio has not only survived the advent of television, but also more technologically advanced audio devices, whether walkmans and CDs, or even an audio streaming application. . It was the ultimate survivor that evolved with the dynamic changes in consumer behavior and adapted well to changing times.

While the pandemic has resulted in an obvious drop in ad volumes across the medium, things are slowly on the road to recovery. According to recent data from TAM, after a 27% decline in radio ad volumes in 2020, there was a 29% year-over-year growth in 2021.

Every year, World Radio Day is celebrated on February 13. The Day was decided by UNESCO in 2011 at its 36th conference. The theme of the 2022 edition of World Radio Day is devoted to “Radio and trust”, because despite a global decline in trust in the Internet and social networks, radio continues to be considered by people as one of the most reliable sources of information.

We thought it would be a good time to examine the evolution of radio and understand what has led to the medium’s resilience and continued relevance.

The Evolution of Radio: Adapting to Changing Consumer Needs

Despite being one of the oldest mediums, radio has stood the test of time. Apart from the fact that it has a massive reach in the country, it remains one of the most trusted media. Over the past few years, most of the major FM players have moved on digital because at the end of the day, it’s about evolving with the needs of consumers and giving them exactly what they want.

on a few things Mirchi has done over the past few years to stay relevant, Prashant Panday, MD & CEO, Mirchi, ENIL said: “We understand that our listeners want their radio station to suit them. So we have curated some of our stations which are available on Gaana.com. In international markets (USA, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain to start with), we have launched our own digital platform where our consumers in these countries can consume Mirchi radio stations from their own country and from home by India! Second, we realized that our listeners love audio stories. With this platform, we provide exciting audio stories and entertainment in multiple languages! Additionally, we also create podcasts and audio stories for external platforms like Gaana and Spotify.

During the last two years of the pandemic, when the internet was full of misinformation and fake news, radio came to play a vital role as a trusted source of information. “As well as bringing people together during lockdown, it has also built a community that has thrived on shared solidarity and positive influence,” explained Abe Thomas, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited. “At BIG FM, we have partnered with multiple audio platforms for our marquee properties and key offerings. Working with these platforms has opened many doors for us in the industry, sparking the idea of ​​a perfect fusion of radio and digital, which has resulted in a wealth of opportunities to distribute content to an audience. global. Entering the web radio space through digitization, we made a foray into the digital radio space via a touchpoint like BRO – BIG Radio Online. We also entered the podcast space as a prime example of a radio network taking the next big step to becoming an audio entertainment company,” he added. In fact, Big FM also launched its social commerce platform BIG Living last year, to establish a stronger connection with its consumers.

The last few years have brought about a sea change in consumer needs and preferences and for the medium, the task has not only been to understand this evolution but also to change with it. “As listeners have evolved in terms of their content consumption choices, we have consistently strived to produce a comprehensive package of viable content, great music and wholesome entertainment on radio as well as on our digital platforms. We were the first to adapt to digital media and launched our first internet radio 11 years ago.We have grown to provide 18 online radio stations, each with its own distinct and relevant regional programming content.We see favorable The advertisement feelings for radio as we continue to emerge as a pioneering force in the Indian radio space and expand our digital capabilities,” shared Ashit Kukiangeneral manager of Radio City.

However, what has continued to keep the medium relevant is keeping consumers at the heart of everything they do, said Nisha Narayanan, Director & COO, RED FM and Magic FM. “The public today has a wide range of entertainment options. Personalization is the key word today where everyone wants to be in their space and enjoy entertainment. To give the maximum to our consumers, we are constantly in tune with their aspirations and needs.We strive to provide our listeners with a wholesome experience built on radio, digital, on-the-ground events and IPs and a wide range of content in the formats of podcasts, independent music and user-generated content creation and delivery,” she shared.

Putting the best foot forward for advertisers

With changing consumer needs, advertisers’ expectations have also changed. While ensuring that the medium presents its best assets for its listeners over the years, a lot of work has also been done to offer robust advertising solutions to advertisers.

Talking about why radio continues to be a powerful advertising medium, Anupama Singh, Consultant – Content Management, Carat India, “Radio as a medium, at one end of the spectrum, functions as the booster medium of the last mile and at the other end helps marketers reach audiences in media dark areas, where power/literacy can be a challenge The privatization of radio in 2001 opened up many opportunities to merchants, large and small. For large merchants, radio helps establish hyper-local frequency and targeting. For retailers, it’s a cost-effective medium that helps them reach their audience with the least amount of fallout.”

So how has the medium worked to provide robust solutions for advertisers? Talking about the kind of solutions they have been working on, Narayanan said, “We never believed in offering vanilla solutions because radio provides opportunities for innovation and micro-targeting at the city level. As our RJs are influencers in their own way, we firmly believe that a good solution, coupled with its delivery, is equally important. She adds that their approach has always been to offer integrated solutions that include media platforms. “We collaborate also with many of them to design their creations via audio and video, in addition to taking care of other communication needs. Embedded and on-the-ground multimedia campaigns, digital podcast productions for clients are something we take on as custom projects,” Narayanan explained.

Today is about delivering bigger and better solutions for advertisers, Panday said. “We used to host our digital products in Solutions in the past. We are now cutting digital products from Solutions. With the launch of our platform in international markets, we will begin to aggregate audiences on our own platform. This will give us unprecedented insights into our consumers that FM radio and even external platforms have been lacking. We will also finally have our own digital inventory to offer to advertisers. We can therefore expect a lot of action from Solutions and Digital. Together, we expect this to grow from one-third to one-half of our revenue in the near future. FM radio may grow 6-8% in the coming years, but solutions and digital may grow 15-18% CAGR for many years to come,” he said.

What does the future look like

As a medium, radio has enormous potential. It is an interactive medium that captures the attention of its listeners by offering socially viable content and enhanced on-air properties. The media’s digital platforms have become another point of contact with consumers. Additionally, most radio stations have powerful influencers in their RJs who have been able to make a deep connection with their listeners on various social media platforms, making them strong voices in the industry.

However, with consumers wanting to access content at their own convenience, one of the biggest challenges for traditional radio was the fact that it could be accessed on demand. “However, to address this issue, the radio industry is now transforming into an audio entertainment company by venturing into podcasts, video via web radio and social content for modern generations who want content to at your fingertips at all times. Changing consumption patterns have given rise to a new trend in the radio industry, with digitalization being the new trend,” said Thomas.

On what needs to be done to ensure the medium remains relevant even in the future, Kukian said, “There needs to be a real fusion of traditional and new-age media with radio as the core. In the digital world, radio as a platform provides a direct emotional connection to audiences. Currently, radio is not limited to on-air audio content but has also shifted to online platforms and this phenomenon will only grow as we move forward. Therefore, the integration of radio into digital, “radiitalisation”, a term I coined, will play a central role for the radio industry in the future. »

Sharing a similar thought, Singh added, “Using innovative content formats on digital platforms like podcasts and partnering with various music platforms like Spotify and Gaana to market their content in the future is what it looks like. the future of radio.”

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