Back to the village with Big Rural

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing
Last updated : December 28, 2009
Big Rural aims to offer clients a range of solutions to market their products and services in villages

Part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), Reliance Media World Limited (RMWL) has launched a new business unit to tap the Indian rural market. Known as Big Rural, the division is the radio industry's first attempt to reach out to rural markets and offer marketers activation solutions, backed by radio support.

Big Rural offers clients a whole range of solutions, including activation in villages and activation of rural consumer aggregation points, such as haats and rural melas. It also aims to create properties catering to the rural population, which can become platforms for brands to market their products and services.

Big Rural leverages the existing network of radio player, Big FM, which has 45 stations and is present in 52 cities in India. It covers almost over 10 per cent of the rural population of the country.

"Rural India accounts for a population of 70 crore, which only speaks of the potential. Currently, 40 per cent of the villages covered by us cater to a population size ranging from 1000 to 10,000. When compared to all-India figures, 32 per cent of the population resides in similar-sized villages. Our focus will continue to cover the peripherals of villages closer to our stations first," Rabe Iyer, business head - allied businesses tells afaqs!.

The company has the capability of reaching remote areas with marginal investments - thanks to its existing sales force already servicing clients at the local station-level, besides in the top metros; existing operations and logistics team across 45 stations; local knowledge of efficiencies through current vendor relationships; and the ability to deliver quick access through radio amplification - giving it access, speed to market and ability to deliver scale.

With agriculture and farm products based clients already on board, the division aims to target categories such as FMCG brands, banking and financial services, telecom brands seeking inroads in rural markets, as well as farm products (seeds, pesticides, tractors). It is also looking forward to work closely with government organizations.

"Given the importance of costs in this business, local vendor development is another significant advantage that Big Rural will build, creating greater value for clients. Additionally, with local creative teams in place in the radio business, the ability to tap local insights and socio-cultural understanding is easily enabled, which will lead to more effective marketing solutions for clients," the company says in an official statement.

"We have kick-started with key projects and look forward to capitalizing a huge market share with our unparalleled service and exclusive offerings," says Iyer.

Big FM currently reaches over 52,000 villages and 200 smaller towns. With the proposed Phase III roll out of FM radio licensing, it is further expected to expand to over 250,000 villages across India.

Last week, Big FM also announced a strategic sales alliance with BAG Networks owned Radio Dhamaal, and Raipur's radio channel, Rangila FM.

RMWL, which became a listed company early this month at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), also handles outdoor advertising activities through its division called BIG Reach, which caters to urban areas.

First Published : December 28, 2009

© 2009 afaqs!