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DOES LISTENERSHIP DATA FOR THE RADIO INDUSTRY NEED TO BE REFORMED?

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The RAM weekly report for week 36, outlined Fever Fm as the most frequently heard radio station in Delhi and Mumbai. Meanwhile, Radio city and Radio Mirchi are maintaining their top positions on the charts in Bangalore and Kolkata.
While radio station owners and advertisers are taking advantage of RAM to plan their advertising and take programming decision, is there a need of listenership DATA to be reformed again?

RELEVENCE OF RAM RATINGS- QUANTITATIVE OR QUALITATIVE?
Talking about listenership data and its relevance to radio stations, Nisha Narayanan, COO & Director,
RED FM & Redtro (One of India’s largest radio network) and CEO, Digital Radio (Mumbai) Broadcasting Ltd, said, ‘‘In India L’ship data has been not of much help when it comes to keeping it relevant to industry. Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) has not been able to establish itself as an acceptable currency for all players – as many of the players have found fault in their methodology, and secondly, they are limited to four cities only. FM Radio is currently much beyond the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. With the expansion of reach, the penetration of the medium has also increased, which is not being gauged currently by one method of research. All players are using different research methods, which suit their marketing and programming requirements. Similarly, IRS being a readership study has not been helpful either except for suggesting how many newspaper readers have
acknowledged listening to a radio station in a particular city.’’

STARTING FROM THE BEGINNING
Since the inception of RAM ratings in 2007, it has been questioned to ensure transparent, credible and representative radio ratings.
In fact, in 2016, TRAI proposed a regulatory framework for radio audience measurement and submitted its suggestions to the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry for approval.
According to TRAI, ‘‘A comprehensive and credible radio audience measurement system is critical at a time when radio advertising revenue is growing, and is expected to touch Rs3,950 crore by 2019.’’

Commenting on the changes in the radio industry since its inception, Asheesh Chatterjee, CFO, BIG FM,” The radio industry in India has evolved over the years in terms of size, reach, and programming. With over 300 active frequencies, radio covers the length and breadth of the country reaching out to a large number of listeners. With time, radio programming has developed based on consumer insights not just in metros but Tier II and Tier III cities as well thus, giving impetus to more interesting local content.’’
”Story-telling as a format on radio continues to gain the interest of the listeners and advertisers alike.
More music-led programming has been adopted by radio stations. Different genres of shows such as
films, sports, finance, etc also find a strong footing, which appeals to a wider set of audience across
regions, thereby, increasing the time spent listening. However, RAM as a measurement system is limited to only four cities which leaves a sizeable share of data unaccounted for. On the other hand, IRS, while it is not designed for radio, serves as a top of the mind recall’’, added Asheesh.

THE ‘D’ STORY OF ADVERTISERS- DOES DATA HELP IN ATTRACTING ADVERTISERS

Radio advertising is designed to target mass groups of listeners, which potentially reaches a much wider audience.

How does an advertiser decide on radio as a medium to advertise his brand? According to Narayanan, ‘‘Over the years Radio media planning has evolved. From what used to be a leftover budget allocation, radio now enjoys its own share of the budget. Its ability to blend and gel with other media, content integration and innovations, wide reach (in almost 300+ urban and semi urban areas) with coverage in even remote and geographically challenging locations, and most importantly, free to air, mobile based and independent of electricity dependency adds to the advantage of the Radio. High frequency at affordable prices and targeting specific geographies also help radio in proving as a cost effective medium. One can see that as FM radio is expanding advertisers are looking at it to explore and expand into newer markets’’.

 

 

 

 

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