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Radio revival: Festive season, BFSI, Auto, E-comm, Real Estate, FMCG bring back cheer

Along with Print media, which is seeing a revival in advertising and circulation in the post-pandemic period, Radio, too, is witnessing growth. Evolving with the times, Radio today provides innovative multi-media solutions and drives influencer engagement and advocacy, making it a holistic offering for brands.

BFSI, Auto, E-commerce, Real Estate, and FMCG are some of the most prolific advertisers on Radio. BFSI leads in contribution to AdEx with 13%, followed by FMCG at 10%, Real Estate at 9%, E-commerce at 9%, and Auto at 5%. When economic activity resumed in Tier 2 and 3 cities during Unlock 1.0 in June 2020, a lot of local advertisers leveraged radio in their media plans. These markets have witnessed a rapid revival as these emerging markets are leading the recovery. They are expected to reach pre-COVID numbers in the next few months, largely on the back of higher brand count and reach.

Commenting on the gross sales in terms of revenues during this festive season for the radio industry, Asheesh Chatterjee, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Business Officer, BIG FM, said: “In India, the festive season is all about spreading joy and cheer. Marketers leverage the opportunity during this time with ad volumes, which leads to a significant spike in ad spends. This year, too, we are seeing a surge in terms of ad spends owing to the medium’s wide reach and high credibility. In fact, we are 50% ahead of last year’s ad revenues during Diwali, which is a significant improvement. Also, this is not restricted to Diwali alone as post the festival as well we are sure to witness growth in spends. We are noticing recovery in businesses across all sectors that were previously impacted from lockdown, coupled with increasing spend from new set of customers who have emerged bigger spenders during the COVID-19 phase. During Q3, brands’ usual behaviour is to spend much extra compared to other quarters. Based on the old benchmarks, the radio sector sees an average of 18-20% higher spending compared to the average of the other three quarters (Q1, Q2, Q4). We can see a higher growth rate in Q3 of 2021, because of huge pent-up demand (As per the Air-Check data).”

He further added, “The ad rates for Radio are almost back to earlier levels for most businesses across industries. At BIG FM, we are optimistic that we will reach the pre-COVID-19 numbers in 2022. Regional and local brands have been the game-changers for radio in recent times, where emerging markets today are driving growth in business over metro markets. More and more brands are leveraging radio’s mass-local reach and influence in local markets nationally.”

The Radio industry was among the worst hit during the early months of the pandemic. According to the Madison Advertising Report 2020, the pandemic wiped out 19% of the advertising revenues during Q1 of 2020 (Jan-Feb-March), which further collapsed by 87% in Q2 of 2020 (April-May-June). Radio AdEx stood at Rs 569 crore in H1 of 2020 and was expected to grow at a range between 38% and 78% in H2 of 2020, generating revenues worth Rs 775-1,000 crore. For comparison, Radio AdEx for 2019 was estimated at Rs 2,260 crore, indicating that radio revenues have declined 30-40% YoY, setting the industry back another 3-4 years for a full recovery.

Chatterjee noted, “With the pent up demand for products across sectors, advertising will help to fulfil them during the festive season. We have seen sizable growth in ad spends and brands have embraced the festive season with customers indulging in pent-up shopping and bulk-buying. This year, Radio saw more than 700 new brands during Jan-Aug’21 over Jan-Aug’20 (TAM AdEx Report, October 2021). The radio industry was already on the path of recovery and the festive season accelerated the ad spends, shooting the revenue up significantly.”

“We have seen good engagement from the Real Estate companies, Food Products, Internet Servicing, Medical Products, Pharma/ Hospital, Auto, BFSI, Consumer Durables, Personal Care, Households, during the festive period,” he added.

Speaking about the positive sentiments during the festive season in 2021, Chatterjee said, “At BIG FM, we provide a 360-degree campaign to our advertisers, right from planning the campaign, to its execution and noise in the media. Keeping in line with the spirit of the festival, we plan our campaigns for the consumers, which tend to give a better recall factor to them. This has boosted our growth in the business, especially now as the country has opened. At BIG FM, we conduct a lot of giveaways and contests with massive giftings to engage with our audience and spread the festive cheer. Each of our content has a purpose and throws light on thought-provoking topics with a positive spin on initiatives and current happenings. For Diwali, we did BIG Family Jackpot, where listeners and their families participated in exciting games and interesting contests from the comforts of their homes. Winners were being rewarded with a range of coveted prizes. Through our other campaign #HaiKyaChaabi season 2 listeners win exciting prizes. For the same, we associated with brands like Hermitage Centralis, Shipra Travels, Smaaash Chandigarh, Chandigarh CNG Center CCC and Armonia. We are also encouraging local business owners by keeping dedicated slots for them during weekends where we educate listeners to support local suppliers, ultimately boosting the local economy.”

He further said that the FM player has seen seen good engagement from the Real Estate companies, Food Products, Internet Servicing,  Medical Products, Pharma/Hospital, Auto, BFSI, Consumer Durables, Personal Care, Households, during the festive period.

“It definitely looks better than last year. We should be getting back to pre-COVID levels in 2022. With the ease of lockdown and people getting vaccinated, they are now willing to step out of their house and socialise with friends and family. During the festive season, this can translate into increased listenership for the radio industry and more engagement opportunities with the audience. Ad volumes on Radio for the Retail sector grew by 62% during Jan-Aug '21, as compared to Jan-Aug’20  (TAM AdEx Report, October 2021). Based on the recovery in the media spend seen in the first 2 quarters, Q3 and Q4 are likely to emerge even stronger to revive the sector further. We are also witnessing a lot of traction from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Being national players, we are certain to reap the benefits of large networks reaching remote locations,” he affirmed.

Advertising Volumes for the Durables sector on Radio saw a sharp increase of nearly 3x in Jan-Aug’21 over Jan-Aug’20, as per TAM AdEx overview of Durables sector advertising across Print, TV, Radio and Digital. Ad Insertions of the Durables sector on Digital medium saw a large increase of 2.3x in the same period.

The Top 10 categories advertised under the Durables sector had more than 80% share of the Ad Volumes during Jan-Aug '21. The Top 10 Advertisers added 56% share of the Ad Volumes during Jan-Aug '21, among which Philips Electronics topped with 13% share. More than 170 brands were advertised during Jan-Aug '21 on Radio, among which the Top 10 brands had 45% share of the Ad Volumes. During Jan-Aug’21, there were 120+ exclusive brands advertised under the Durables sector, compared to Jan-Aug’20. Philips Mixer led both the Top 10 Brands’ list as well as the Top 10 Exclusive Brands’ list.

On Radio, the Top 3 states occupied more than 55% of the ad pie for the sector. Gujarat state was on top with 30% share of the Ad Volumes, followed by Maharashtra with 17% share in Jan-Aug '21 for the Durables sector. Advertising for the Durables sector was preferred in the Evening time, followed by Afternoon. Evening, Afternoon and Morning time bands together had 98% share of Radio advertising for the sector.

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