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Monday, May 16, 2016

India Radio Forum 2016: The testing times for Radio


The first half of the India Radio Forum 2016 involved discussions on measures to ensure radio's reach grows despite the commercial and technical constraints. If the first half was dedicated to radio's growth, the second half focused on elements that carry the potential to hamper the radio ecosystem in more ways than one.

Is Radio relevant in mobile world?

Radio industry generated the revenue of over INR 19.8 billion - twice the revenue five years ago - and the already growing dominance of mobile phones and the services offered did not stop the industry from evolving into a multi-billion ecosystem. The panelists, for the discussion, agreed that digital streaming services, television, internet media and radio will continue to co-exist together.


The factor that radio can be interactive and the effective multiple chat shows held throughout the radio stations act as an advantage over music streaming services or mobile services, that are usually a one-way communication. The consumption of Bollywood content still remains to be one of the major factors for the user to tune into the services, however, the nature of the radio has evolved over the years to offer the listeners multiple sources of entertainment through its series of programming.

On speaking about radio’s relevance in the mobile world, CEO of RBNL, Tarun Katial said “FM has the availability to give music on mobile phones. As we bring in differentiation on music formats, people will have the options to choose from retro to contemporary to top 100 songs. No new media has killed any new media but it always evolves.”

Streaming Music - Threat or Opportunity to FM

Moderated by Radio Mirchi's Prashant Panday, the panel included President of Sony Music India & Middle East, Shridhar Subramaniam who agreed the evolution of music streaming services act as threat to the FM world. "It is a threat if radio sticks to conventional way of programming. Streaming services today have not just evolved on the content front, the technological side of these services are designed in ways that would ensure the user remains on the app for longer. With the algorithms set by these services, user receives content depending on his taste, unlike radio where the listener consumers whatever content has been offered.

The other panelist for the session - Director of Marketing at Flipkart, Aditya Swamy - used the example of the approach at his former employer, MTV, to emphasise on how branching out of generic ways is the way to go for radio, in order for not only survival, but similar growth. "MTV went beyond music, because the youth preferred multi-cuisine (multiple options when it comes to content)," said Swamy.

The threat to Radio was discussed even during the rise of Television a few decades ago, but the radio survived and progressed. However, the digital music streaming services, like radio, can be consumed anytime and anywhere.

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