Search and Media

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Growth of Indian Radio?

India's FM Radio should be getting a new lease of life with ADAE [Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises] bagging 26 licenses in all, including existing players. ADAE's investments in media and entertainment, touted to make Anil Ambani an entertainment czar, includes licensing fees for seven big cities including mumbai, bangalore, delhi and calcutta. The focus is rightly on the smaller towns [19 of them all to be precise]--especially in the state of Uttar Pradesh, a decidedly underserved market for FM radio atleast.IPTV and DTH [Direct-to-home, nicknamed Bluemagic] is on the works in the next few years for the ambitious project. [Sun Tv of chennai was another bidder for the FM radio licenses]

Radio in india had almost died a complete death in the 90's, expectedly so with the advent of cable and international channels on TV. FM's feeble attempts in the late 90s in metros met with some success, but not enough to push it into the big league. FM suffered from feeble penetration, especially rurally. Lack of diversified models of entertainment via radio, which was seen to quickly develop in other media, produced further challenges. However, advertisements, atleast in urban and metros, have seen a steady increase--a positive sign for new FM initiatives.

Tight-fisted government control, with overpriced licensing fees and authority over types of content, especially news and informational programs, is another disqualifyer for the medium. Regional control over the language and types of music being played [100% english music stations are not allowed by government regulations] imposes further restrictions on radio groups, consequently affecting the potential advertising opportunities as well.

My wishlist for FM in India?

1) Diversified Content: Sports, news, multiscope music should be part of the offerings by FM channels. Given the slowly rising popularity of satellite radio, such as Worldspace, FM should see in it a lesson of catering to defragmented audience as well.

2) deeper penetration into rural areas: Media houses that are expanding into FM space should see in it an opportunity for larger audience base. Government regulations over content will hopefully not pervade information analysis and education.

3) on the listener side, an increase in the technology to deliver uninterrupted listening experience. Handheld devices, mobile devices and highly-capable at cheaper prices. Especially for the at-home audience or the demographic of 18-26 year olds.

Tuned in,


  • got ourselves worldspace... now think FM does a better job.

    By Blogger Sushubh, at 8:54 PM  

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