Radio One posts positive growth amidst slowdown

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 21, 2009
For the quarter ended March 31, 2009 the radio station claims to have registered an increase of 48 per cent in its revenue over the last year

Radio One, the joint venture between Mid-Day Multimedia and BBC Worldwide, has declared its financial results for the quarter ending March 31, 2009.

The radio station has witnessed revenue growth of 48 per cent over the last year. An official communiqué claims that the company grew at 79 per cent at the operating profit level minus the license fee and at the same time, registered a growth of 49 per cent at the EBIDTA (earnings before interest depreciation tax and amortisation) level.

The official release also states that the radio industry showed a negative growth at the top 10 city level by more than 12 per cent, on account of the meltdown effect on the economy in the past four months.

Currently, Radio One is operational in seven cities, namely Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad.

Speaking to afaqs!, Vineet Singh Hukmani, managing director, Radio One, says, "We are present in seven cities - so we have taken top 10 cities as a benchmark to evaluate our own results and the fact is that each player, including us, did get affected by the slowdown in the economy. However, we know our strengths and accordingly aligned ourselves to the needs of our clients by offering significantly higher and relevant value to their businesses."

As of now, the figures shared by the radio station are expressed as percentages of the previous year. This is so because Radio One is a subsidiary of Mid-Day Multimedia. It will be in a position to share the actual numbers once the parent company announces its financial results.

According to Hukmani, Radio One focuses on metros and believes in playing the game based on its unique positioning of being a metro specialist. This is not to say that it undervalues the significance of the other markets. But the effort always has been to build on one's image of being a metro specialist, thus providing clients a definite differentiating aspect over the other players.

As an example, he cites another brand, Mid-Day, owned by the parent company Mid-Day Multimedia, which also focuses only on metros.

Hukmani adds, "We are in a situation where value growth in the radio industry is going to be almost non-existent in the top 10 cities. Given the fact that increasing volumes are not generating value due to the lowest rates, it is imperative for our business to focus on innovative value growth engines, which differentiate our offering from the rest. This has to be coupled by curtailing all non-essential and speculative expenditure till the end of Quarter two."

Hukmani concludes by saying that in the last financial year, Radio One completed its full seven city metro footprint and in the current year, the effort will be to monetise its full metro focussed network for further growth.

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