Private FM stations drive growth in radio listenership: Radio Track 2003

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 03, 2003
While Radio Mirchi and Radio City fight for the top spot in Delhi, in Kolkata Radio Mirchi is up against the might of Aamar Radio

There is some good news of private FM players. According to a study by Intellect (the research and technologies unit of Initiative Media) titled Radio Track 2003, radio listenership habits have changed considerably after the launch of private FM stations. The availability of choice in radio content has more radio listeners tuning into their sets more often and for longer hours everyday. Not only have radio listeners increased their intensity of listenership, the launch of private radio has managed to create a set of 'new listeners' for the medium, reveals the study. The trends for Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore have been analysed in the Radio Track 2003.

Intellect believes that though FM radio is in a growth stage and has limited geographical reach at the moment, its creative and media planning potential is enormous. Access to credible and affordable research for radio will go a long way in enhancing its usage.

"This should be the first study on an ongoing basis, which gives an unbiased view of the radio FM marketplace. Individual stations have commissioned listenership studies but unfortunately the findings differ continuously. Now that we have done this study in some of the cities for the second time around, we can confidently say that certain consistent patterns are emerging," says Premjeet Sodhi, head of Intellect.

The impact of the private FM launch was evaluated on two focussed parameters - new listeners created and increase in intensity of radio consumption. On both counts, Delhi has had a significant impact, while Kolkata seems to be a more conservative market. In Delhi, the surge in radio listeners is as high as 35 per cent. "There are significant shifts in time spent on radio and frequency of listening to radio, indicating increased preference for radio as a medium in Delhi," concludes the study. In fact, the count of heavy listeners for radio have increased from 11 per cent prior to the launch of private FM to 63 per cent post launch.

In Delhi, the medium has gained listenership in all dayparts though there are variations by different segments. Car owners have emerged as a new lucrative segment during the morning drive time. Students too are taking to radio and are tuning in more at night, post TV prime time. Housewives, otherwise a steady segment present throughout the day, too show an increase in listenership levels during the morning hours.

Kolkata shows a very distinct pattern of adapting to the new radio environment. Though the increase in new listeners is not much, the increase in radio listenership intensity is substantial. While radio listenership is very low during the afternoons, it reaches the zenith in the night-time bands.

In terms of 'regular listenership', Radio Mirchi and Radio City have a tussle for the top spot across different segments in Delhi, though Radio Mirchi has strong competition in Aamar Radio in Kolkata. AIR FM needs to do a lot of catching up for sure. For Delhi 'quality of reception' and 'RJ quality' are the primary drivers of station preferences, while 'reception quality' and 'music mix' score high in Kolkata.

As far as preference in content is concerned, film music leads all other things. In terms of language of content, while Delhi prefers a mix of Hindi and English, most of Kolkata prefers Bengali.

Unlike Mumbai, where the portable sleek FM sets were a rage, both Delhi and Kolkata do not show a high incidence of fancy radio sets. Radio listenership in Mumbai continues to be a 'at-home' phenomenon for most. A study of the FM radio consumption for youth in Bangalore shows that FM radio has a very strong presence in the market. Radio City rules the airwaves.

The IM Radio Track 2003 studied the markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai with over 1,200 respondents in SEC ABC. The study had distinct objectives for the 'new launch markets', which included Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, and the 'old markets' Mumbai and Bangalore. Radio impact and penetration was done primarily for four key listener segments - housewives, students, businessmen/executives - car owning businessmen/executives and non-car owning businessmen/executives. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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