afaqs!

AROI to debate future of radio at Vision 2010 meet

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | October 13, 2009
The Vision 2010 conference will be held on November 12, 2009 in New Delhi. It will be attended by radio operators, policymakers and advertisers

Come November and New Delhi will play host to the first-ever radio operators' conference -- 'Vision 2010', being organised by Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI). The meet will be held on November 12 at Maurya Sheraton.

Speaking to afaqs!, Uday Chawla, general secretary, AROI, shares the objective of the meet. "The year 2010 is going to be a major year of progress, change and development for the radio industry in the country. The Phase III radio licensing policy is expected to open up sports, current affairs and news content for broadcasters, which in turn will open up the whole kaleidoscope of content options to radio, which is currently limited almost exclusively to music."

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The day-long meet will see various stakeholders -- radio broadcasters, policymakers including officials from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, media owners and advertisers -- in full attendance. Vision 2010 will deliberate on various policy issues concerning the industry, in a bid to outline the future course of action.

The issues that will be raised at the conference include the royalty row between broadcasters and music companies. Chawla shares that in spite of the huge burden of abnormally high demands of the music industry on royalty; many stations, including in smaller metros, are reaching the breakeven point, owing to the high response of advertisers, especially retail advertisers.

However, he explains, in small C and D towns, royalty continues to be a major impediment to any foreseeable chance of breakeven. The music industry will have to address this problem for the smaller towns immediately, or they will end up killing these stations, thereby destroying its own revenue sources.

Industry honchos will also discuss the possibility of once again taking up with TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) the recommendation pertaining to the extension of radio licensing period from the current 10 years to 15 years. The move will give radio broadcasters a better chance to achieve cumulative breakeven.

The day will also mark the selection of the president to the representative body of the radio industry -- AROI. At present, Apurva Purohit, chief executive officer, Radio City is the serving president. Sources close to the development reveal that Purohit is likely to be re-elected to the post.

On a concluding note, Chawla expresses satisfaction at government's nod to political advertising on radio, as the move is representative of giving the radio industry a level playing field.

November 12, the day of the meet, has historical significance -- on this day in 1947, Mahatma Gandhi made his first and last radio broadcast from the All India Radio premises.

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