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United Radio UK launches radio consultancy operations in India

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | November 12, 2009
The company aims to provide its services to the existing operators, investors, the government and the regulatory bodies

London based radio consultancy, United Radio, has officially set foot in India, setting up its operations in the country. It hopes to provide Indian radio stations with international experience to improve their ratings and increase their revenues. The company aims to provide its services to the existing operators, investors, the government and the regulatory bodies.

The Indian operations of the company will be headed by Sunil Kumar, a consultant in the Indian radio industry. Kumar has advised the Bhaskar Group, the Muthoot Group, Lokmat Publications, Neutral Publishing, CCL Media and other promoters of radio companies in India. Kumar has also headed the radio businesses of Mid-Day Multimedia and Zee Telefilms.

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In the past, United Radio has been the consultant to Malayala Manorama's Radio Mango and Radio City for their programming and music strategies. The focus of the company will be on creating new programming formats, setting up newsrooms and providing training to existing operators. It will also provide business planning and support services to the new entrants in the radio business, following the likely announcement of the Phase III of FM licensing in India early next year, as indicated by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni, at the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum recently.

United Radio is also in talks with several companies in India to set up a radio news agency, which will provide content for news and current affair activities either directly to radio stations or through All India Radio. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is considering allowing news broadcasts to private FM radio stations.

Explaining the company's services to be offered in India, Paul Chantler, director and senior partner, United Radio, says in an official communiqué, "Our services will supplement the experience Indian operators have gathered over the last three years. We bring to India the knowledge and insights of the UK radio industry, which is nearly 30 years old and has seen virtually every phase of market development."

He adds that United Radio partners have worked for almost all the large radio companies in the UK, and between them, they also have the experience of working with the country's regulatory authority, Ofcom, and the public service broadcaster, BBC. "In India, too, we would like to approach the regulator, the public broadcaster and other stakeholders to offer our services," Chantler adds.

Sunil Kumar, the Indian partner, remarks in a press statement, "The knowledge and experience that United Radio brings from radio businesses across the UK, Europe, West Asia and Asia will work as a catalyst for the growth of our relatively young market. We'll combine this experience with our in-depth understanding of the media behaviour of the Indian audiences at all geographic, social and economic levels, to offer our clients innovative programming strategies, training, format solutions and well defined tactical products."

The company has developed some India specific services and solutions, which shall be unveiled soon.

United Radio will also work as an interface between investors in the UK who are considering investment in India's radio industry, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.2 per cent over 2009-13 and reach a size of £210 million (Rs 1630 crore) by 2013, according to a FICCI-KPMG study.