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‘Radigitalisation’ can play a lead role in

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Radio City’s commitment to high-quality content, audience engagement and our ‘Radigitalisation’ strategy will likely remain key drivers of success in the upcoming financial year, says Ashit Kukian, CEO of Radio City. He also spoke on the company’s marketing plans and speculations on the auction bidding prices. 

According to Kukian, the company will further expand the market to tier cities after evaluating the potential of growth and overall listenership in different cities across India.           

Edited Excerpts 

How Radio City performed in the financial year 2023 and what speculations can we make for the year 2024? 

In the financial year 2023, Radio City delivered a strong growth performance. Our company achieved a notable 18% growth in revenues, reaching a top line of Rs 198.9 Crores. This growth can be attributed to our sustained market presence, maintaining a strong position with a 20% volume market share. Additionally, we experienced a significant boost in profitability, with our EBITDA increasing by 54% to Rs. 42.8 Crores. This growth in EBITDA is certainly attributed to the company’s efforts to reduce costs and improve operating leverage. 

Looking ahead to the financial year 2024, there are promising growth prospects for Radio City. With our strong market position and volume market share, we are well-positioned for potential revenue expansion. Furthermore, we aim to enhance our EBITDA performance, utilizing our cost reduction initiatives.  

Apart from this, we are planning to increase the digital sales share and capitalize on our Omni-channel presence, as digital has significantly contributed to the company’s overall revenue. The digital sales share increased to 8% in FY23 from 5.8% in FY22 and 1.7% pre-COVID. 

What is the advertising revenue of Radio City in Q4 and what do we expect in Q1? 

There has been a steady upsurge in advertising revenue in the last couple of quarters. The ad revenue of Radio City in Q4 FY 22-23 was 51.40cr and we expect similar growth in Q1 FY23-24. 

Radio City is present in 39 cities across India. Are you planning to expand the market in the coming months?  

Radio City currently operates in 39 cities across 12 states in India, which already represents our significant presence across the length and breadth of the country. As a dynamic and evolving company, we may consider expansion opportunities in the future to further enhance our market reach. Our expansion strategies involve entering new cities or regions where we see the potential for growth and increased listenership.  

Last year, Radio City announced an exclusive strategic tie-up with Eenadu E FM in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana markets. With this tie-up, Radio City has added a total of six radio stations in the region, including the two that are already operational at Hyderabad and Vizag and the four envisioned in Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, and Warangal. We look forward to many more such strategic tie-ups with the aim of mutual benefits. 

The government is planning a fresh auction of FM radio stations this year to take the FM radio to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Do you want to comment on the bidding prices?  

The bidding prices for the fresh auction of FM radio stations, which the government is planning to conduct this year, would depend on several factors such as market conditions, demand, geographical coverage, and regulatory guidelines. These factors play a crucial role in determining the reserve price or bidding prices for FM radio stations. 

 As the government aims to expand FM radio coverage to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, it will likely consider setting competitive prices that attract potential bidders while ensuring a fair and sustainable market for the industry. Ultimately, the specific pricing details will be determined by the government and relevant regulatory authorities involved in the auction process. 

According to the TRAI report, the duration of the advertisements on community radio stations should be increased from seven minutes per hour to twelve minutes per hour. How do you define this recommendation and how it is going to impact the overall radio advertising business? 

The community radio station serves the purpose of highlighting social causes and the objective of these stations is to focus on larger social change rather than focusing on commercial viability. As per the recommendation, we believe that there might be a change in the approach to community radio stations functioning.  

How is Radio City’s content different from the other competitors in the radio industry?  

Radio City stands out in the radio industry owing to its unique and innovative content strategy, Setting it apart. Being the first private FM radio broadcaster in India, Radio City has been Instrumental in tapping into the pulse of the audience and invoking a sense of city pride by emphasizing on indigenous content. The brand philosophy “Rag Rag Mein Daude City” reflects our commitment in capturing the local culture, traditions, and preferences of each city we operate in with the recent introduction of our new station sound #CityKiNayiVibe, we aim to cater to the young and vivacious Gen Z audience who sought coolness quotient in their experiences. 

The newly launched jingle of Radio City has been designed to give the radio station a young, lively, and fun-filled vibe striking a perfect chord with the audience across 39 markets. 

Radio City focuses on curating programs and shows that are not only entertaining but also socially relevant and impactful. One such example of our innovative approach is Radio City’s strategic partnership with the Jagran Institute of Management and Mass Communication (JIMMC) to revolutionize radio education. This collaboration provides aspiring radio professionals with real-world experience and industry insights, bridging the gap between classroom learning and practical radio operations. Under this visionary alliance, Radio City, known for its innovative approach and commitment to excellence, aims to lend radio industry expertise to JIMMC students. Our commitment to embracing digital platforms is another key differentiator. 

With the introduction of our Radigitalization strategy, we have been offering holistic solutions to advertisers and listeners through the conjunction of radio with digital. Additionally, we have established notable partnerships with various cricketing teams, further expanding our reach and offering unique content around popular sports events.

With initiatives like the new jingle #CityKiNayiVibe, Radio City Business Titans our prestigious international property to felicitate business leaders, the recent introduction of our new on-air IP Music Fest, and a focus on localized content, Radio City continues to captivate its audience and solidify its position as a leader in the radio industry. 

Radio City is disseminating content across eight to nine genres presently. Are there any plans to launch any new genres in the upcoming months?  

Radio City has been disseminating content across multiple genres such as personal finance, love, relationships, entertainment, sports, humour, celeb interviews, music, indie culture, city updates, food, and much more in multiple regional languages to cater to the varied interests of our listeners spanning across 39 markets. To widen our reach and as a part of our commitment to deliver uniquely engaging content, we are working towards introducing new genres such as mental health, astrology, automobile, technology, OTT, and others in the near future.

We understand the importance of staying relevant and adapting to the changing preferences of our audience. Thereby with the introduction of new genres, we aim to provide a diverse range of content catalogue that appeals to different tastes and ensures an immersive listening experience for our listeners. As Radio City continues to innovate and expand its offerings, it remains dedicated to delivering high-quality content across multiple genres. 

Which category is leading in radio advertising and what brands have invested in Radio City in the last few months?  

We have been actively engaging with clients across categories such as Real Estate, Healthcare, Finance, Automobile, Retail, Services, Education, Public Sector Companies and others. 

How has digital helped the radio industry grow its reach in the fast-evolving technological arena? 

Radio has always maintained its stance of being one of the most creative and innovative communication platforms owing to its reach and relevance. In today’s digitally inclined world, the next phase of growth for the radio industry is being fronted by digitalization. This seamless transition will allow radio players to utilize the power of digital technologies and establish a presence around the globe by offering refreshing digitally-led content while maintaining the core essence of the business through on-air offerings. 

Digital technology has greatly benefited the radio industry by expanding its reach in the fast-evolving technological arena, allowing radio stations to reach a global audience, and transcend geographical boundaries. The popularity of podcasts has soared, offering on-demand content, and attracting new listeners. Social media integration has facilitated deeper engagement and community-building opportunities.

Digital technology has made it possible for RJs to communicate with their listeners beyond on-air hours via social media platforms. This phenomenon has played a pivotal role in making RJs avid social media influencers. Additionally, digital platforms provide targeted advertising capabilities, optimizing ad campaigns based on user data and analytics. These advancements have revolutionized the radio industry, enabling it to stay relevant, connect with a wider audience, and provide a more personalized and interactive listening experience. 

We, therefore, believe that in the long run, digital technology will play a substantial role in the progression of the radio industry.

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