Radio Mirchi gets aggressive, hits airwaves along with Suryan FM in Chennai

By , agencyfaqs! | In | May 06, 2003
Radio Mirchi has invested Rs 67 crore to set up infrastructure in Chennai and is allocating another Rs 3 crore to develop the FM market in the next one year

In a move that came as a bonanza for radio fans in Chennai, Radio Mirchi timed its launch in the city along with Sun group-promoted Suryan FM. Both went on air at around the same time - 6.00 pm on Monday (May 5).

Radio Mirchi - which has been in the headlines lately for its high profile launches involving cine stars to typify its positioning as a 'hot' channel - in other cities, has been relatively quiet in the southern city. On being contacted by agencyfaqs!, Prashant Panday, chief operating officer, Radio Mirchi, said, "We started our trial run yesterday. We will come out with a big bang announcement in about two weeks when a very happening star will formally introduce our channel here."

While Radio Mirchi is available on 98.3 Mhz, Suryan FM is available on 105.8 Mhz. And like any other Times Group product, Mirchi will be supported by a marketing blitzkrieg. For starters, the Group has invested Rs 67 crore on the Mirchi infrastructure in the city. The channel, according to Panday, is planning to pump in another Rs 3 crore to develop the market in the first one year.

On being asked about the size of the radio market, Panday said, "The total advertising market in Chennai is pegged at around Rs 800 crore, of which print is valued at Rs 450 crore, TV at Rs 350. In the next three to four years, radio would be 6-7 per cent of the total market. Our estimate is that in a year's time the FM radio market will account for 2 per cent of the advertising pie as the retail market is very strong here."

Radio Mirchi has pegged its spots rates at Rs 1,500 (per 10 seconds) at prime time and at Rs 900 (per 10 sec) for non-prime time. The rates for sponsored shows would be slightly higher. Like Suryan, the channel has plans of giving away FM sets, but these would be part of the many contests that would be on air. "We have tied up with many players, hence contests will be a major part of our strategy. There will be an unexpected element every moment. We hope to make the channel as lively as possible. After all, we have the benefit of over one year's experience in radio. There will be lots of music, lots of surprises and little talk," Panday said.

What is surprising is that Radio Mirchi has opted for an all-Tamil content. It was earlier felt that the channel would offer a mixed bag of English, Tamil and Hindi to draw audiences, as Suryan FM would anyway look at a pure Tamil programming mix. "Sometime back we were thinking of offering a mixed fair. But our 'Leisure Entertainment Pastime' research in this market suggested that for the bulk of the people here Tamil is the comfort language. Though people are in tune with English, Tamil emerged as a strong choice even among upmarket college students," said Panday. The channel has nine young radio jockeys on its roster who will use a mix of Tamil and English, the way audience in the city are comfortable with.

Radio Mirchi has evolved a proprietary tool called Moods Analysis and Mapping to help it schedule its music during the day and it will be using this in the Chennai market as well. "We will roll out an outdoor campaign handled by MOMS (Madison Outdoor Media Services) and there will be a heavy reliance on print messages too. We are planning heavy-duty on-ground activities as well," he said. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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