The first & #BANNER1 & # set of RAM (radio audience measurement) numbers are out amidst two different schools of thought. The first is the group that is grumbling about the methodology being old and too traditional and the second is those who are relieved that at last, radio has a measurement tool. Chances are that each station belongs to one of the two schools, depending on the figures popped out by RAM. However, no one seems to be sure about who's the clear No. 1 as each radio station is a leader on the basis of certain parameters. The moral of the story seems to be: Use it the way you want.
"Such kind of data takes time to settle down. Invariably, IRS or, for that matter, even TRPs took time to give a clear picture. It's too early to expect a clear hierarchy. I think we should give the data more time and look at it over a period of time to reach any conclusion," says Anita Nayyar, CEO, MPG.
Others are looking from the advertiser's perspective. "It is more important to look at the time spent listening to the station, which indicates the probability of the listeners catching a commercial on air," says S Keerthivasan, business head, Fever FM.
As per figures released by Fever FM, probably one of the very few stations to use relative share to claim market leadership, it managed a 12 per cent relative market share among private stations on weekdays, 6-12 pm, in the Delhi market. In terms of relative market share, Radio Mirchi is the leader, with more than 21 per cent of relative market share.
As per figures released by Big FM, the ADAG-led station says it is the No. 1 choice of listeners in Bangalore across all parameters - including reach, share and TARP. Big FM also claims that in Mumbai, it delivers higher reach than any of its competitors, while in Delhi, it is the No. 2 station among 12-34 year old, SEC ABC listeners. "We are clear leaders in the Bangalore market and have done really well in the Delhi and Mumbai markets. I think RAM has made it clear that the new stations have given a good run to the old stations," says Tarun Katial, head of Big FM.
Next in line is Radio City, which is claiming the numero uno position in Mumbai and a close second in Delhi. The data it has used is SECs in the age group of 25-44 years, across all key parameters. In Mumbai, Radio City has managed TARP (1.5 per cent) across all SECs in the age group of 25-44 years. Moreover, the study re-establishes the fact that Radio City has a focused target group of SEC AB 25-44 with an average audience of 22,860 listeners and a TARP of 1.8 per cent.
Commenting on the RAM results, Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City, says, "This is a huge step forward for the entire industry. RAM will provide the much needed impetus to radio by way of providing a robust and credible measurement system, which will demonstrate to advertisers the potential of their investments. With the depth and granularity that this current data can provide, media planners will now have the opportunity to match their specific groups and advertisers to radio stations and fundamentally grow the radio pie. This is the single most important step which the radio industry has taken to increase its overall revenues."
There are, of course, radio stations that don't abide by the revelations made by RAM. Gilroy A Tills, senior V-P & head, national impact, Radio Today, says, "RAM is irrelevant for us as we are a talk based station. We don't subscribe to RAM and don't think it's a clear indication of listenership, at least for a different station like ours. We have our own samples. The 600 calls that we get every day is our sample and not what RAM has used."
Radio Mirchi has kept itself away from the controversy and it seems that it hasn't subscribed to the data released by RAM. Firstly, despite the good numbers revealed by RAM for Radio Mirchi in the Delhi market, the station has not blown its trumpet like the rest. Moreover, the station recently came out with a radio spot claiming it doesn't need any study to prove its leadership. Officials at Radio Mirchi couldn't be contacted for their comment.
Manish Porwal, managing director, South and West, Starcom Worldwide, believes there's no big deal in multiple leaders in different markets. He says, "It's pretty similar to TRPs. For different target groups, you have different leaders. That's very much acceptable. It clearly depends on what group you are targeting. Different stations target men, women, teenagers, so there have to be different leaders. Most people ignore numbers outside their target group and planners should do that as well. So, if my client wants to target a particular age group, he should figure out the leader in that TG."
Another media planner says on condition of anonymity, "If one looks at the overall picture, one gets the hang of things. There's no confusion in the media planners' mind - they are pretty much sure about who's the leader where and these new ratings will assist them. It's better to have some kind of rating rather than having no ratings."