Rewind 2022: Digital + Radio hybrid was one of the most in-vogue trends - Nisha Narayanan

It’s time to review the most significant industry developments as the year 2022 draws to a close. Adgully is reviewing the year 2022 for the M&E, advertising, digital, marketing, PR, and communications, along with leading names in the industry as part of our annual Rewind series.

Recapping the year, Nisha Narayanan, COO & Director, Red FM & Magic FM, speaks about how the industry emerged out of the shadow of the pandemic, the growing popularity of the hybrid mode of Digital + Radio activation, non-traditional and new-age media avenues contributing a higher percentage to radio revenues, and more.

Media, Marketing, and Advertising ecosystem in 2022

At the beginning of 2022, it was estimated that India’s ad spending will grow between 18% and 22% by GroupM ‘This Year Next Year’. The prediction was quite accurate as the revenue growth forecast for 2022 was 15.8%. However, the figure is expected to accelerate further to 16.8% against a global 5.9%.

While digital is the dominant segment responsible for the growth, other segments in the M&E sector have also reported improved growth and are nearing pre-pandemic levels. While we also got our share of the headwinds, they were withered by the buoyancy of the domestic market, especially in Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities.

The global recession has been impacting us in key industrial segments, but keeping our spirits high. We did touch down to doing the highest sales in Auto in November and our markets displayed positive sentiments. Marching forward, we envisage our economy to do better than the world economy, so the advertising and media industry could leverage it.

Key trends & developments

Post-pandemic observed a quick recovery in terms of spending across the nation. While a few cities took relatively longer to get back to the pre-pandemic levels, post-July 2022, markets were opening up, and brands wanted to re-invest in marketing and advertising. It expedited conversations for brands to take up multiple mediums to relay their offers and features. That included on-air, online, experiential, podcasts, and more to reach consumers even more closely. This year, we also received an overwhelming response from brands requesting for our jocks to visit and perform at inaugurations, mall activations, concerts, and live events.

The hybrid mode of Digital + Radio activation proved to be one of the most in-vogue trends. Brands leveraged the social media reach of our RJs, their hyperlocal connect, and their extensive presence on the radio for multiple campaigns. We are hopeful to be bridging Digital with Radio and On-Ground activations.

While we speak of on-ground activations and events, we are already hot to trot for the first 4 months. With an interesting line-up to provide the best experiential to our patrons – both listeners and advertisers, we are all ready to bring in the New Year with more positivity and opportunities.

Red FM’s performance in 2022

This was a great year of bouncing back from the pandemic that had led to the slowdown of businesses. It gives me immense pride to have emerged from the year with better numbers to showcase.

Other than traditional radio, it was heartening for the share of non-traditional and new-age media avenues to add to the higher percentage of the revenue. Red FM worked as a brand offering platform-agnostic content creators. Intellectual properties like ‘Sounds of Punjab’, ‘South Side Story’, and ‘Guts & Glory in Mhow’ (Celebrating 75 years of Infantry in the country), were experiential and boutique events with immersive walkthroughs for the audience. Our initiatives like ‘India @75’ (a 6-month-long campaign with weekly episodes about historic and landmark achievements narrated by RJ Praveen), ‘We for Veterans’ (A ‘Bajao for a Cause’ campaign that raised funds for brave soldiers and veterans on the occasion of Armed Forces Flag Day), and ‘The Audio Film Project’ (A radio show and podcast hosted by the maverick filmmaker Vikram Bhatt narrating six suspense and crime stories). Our experiment with the imagination and audio form of content gained a lot of traction amongst listeners and advertisers alike.

There is immense power in regional content. We have created regional IPs, promoting independent music that is more experimental, leveraging the 24x7 live medium to reach out to our audience, strengthening our presence across the country through local RJs, and building communities and loyalties. Our RJs on social media took the digital barometers up a notch. Their regional connection made the brand more relevant and NATLOCAL for our audience.

Besides this, Red FM Podcasts have escalated to exciting heights this year. Brand integration and sponsorships have come through to realise the potential of podcasts. Our network has partnered with some of the most prominent brands in the industry. Podcast revenue is expected to grow exponentially in the coming year as we launch shows across categories we haven’t explored yet. To break the clutter, we have added more shows to our catalog that specifically resonate with the youth.


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