TV-Radio: Match made in heaven?

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media | November 26, 2009
Television channels can't seem to do without radio stations for promotions. What is it that radio stations bring to the table?

Almost every non-fiction programme on television has an official radio partner. Radio is also a permanent fixture in most broadcasters' media plans. Lately, television's associations with radio have even taken an innovative route.

In the top 10 advertisers by category on radio, television channel promotions are at the No 2 position, as per Radio AdEx data (September 2009) from TAM. In this month alone, roughly 552,000 seconds of TV advertising was aired on radio.

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Danish Khan, head, marketing, Sony, says, "Radio is good buzz medium and can render high reach and frequency, as it has a dedicated listener base." The channel has tied up with radio stations to create buzz around its properties, Indian Idol and Bhaskar Bharti. For the latter, the channel generated a lot of curiosity for the character of Bhaskar, building anticipation about the show and receiving calls from listeners.

Currently, two shows, Bigg Boss and Perfect Bride have tied up with Big FM. As per the deal with Bigg Boss, Big FM airs a daily capsule about what's happening in the show. The radio station can also feature the evicted celebrity on-air.

"Shows such as these are hot talking points and such associations with programmes only strengthen our positioning as an entertainment hub," says Nirupam Sonu, senior vice-president, programming, Big FM.

But the radio station is cautious about which programmes to tie up with. "There are times when we have refused to be part of an alliance, if we think the programming is not in line with the radio station's image," he adds.

Usually, such tie-ups - where TV channels share some content with radio stations, which then spice it up - start from the launch of the show and continue till it ends.

Prank calls by RJs, discussions about show characters, trivia and contests are used to create noise. For Khatron ke Khiladi (KKK) on Colors, for instance, Red FM aired trivia about the celebrity participants, discussions about last year's stunts, a segment about Akshay Kumar and his stint with KKK, the music video, behind-the-scene tales, interviews with participants, listeners' contest, consumer plugs on what fear means to them and special news bulletins on KKK.

"The idea was to draw the listeners to tune in to the episodes through these various reminders, as well as to further engage them in the show, with the help of some exclusive content and unheard-of trivia," says Anuj Singh, national marketing head and head, West, Red FM.

For Roadies 7 on MTV, Red FM had customized updates on the entries so far and tips to become a Roadie. In a segment called 'Radio Roadie', aired in the afternoon block for a week, listeners were urged to call in and were given tasks to perform on radio.

This trend is so far restricted to reality shows. Rameet Arora, head, marketing, Colors, says that for fiction shows, usually, the local route is taken. Colors partners with radio stations for its initiatives such as 'Ek Mulaqat Colors Ke Sitaron Ke Saath'.

This thrice-a-month activity is done at a local level, where popular characters across shows on Colors meet audiences. Radio stations help the channel get to the viewers; talk and interact with them and run contests; and brief the listeners about the programmes' story so far.

Such associations are here to stay, as they bring the power of creating a definite buzz, enabling localisation and interactivity. "The partnerships are a marriage of two entertainment brands, involving content lending and bringing great value to the table," Arora states.