Nisha Qureshi

Festive radio ad spends soar as CWC and blockbusters drive demand

Upbeat consumer demand, Cricket World Cup and blockbuster movie promotions are driving the festive radio ad spends this season. 

The festive season has injected the radio industry with much-needed cheer. The Diwali season has rekindled  advertiser interest The inventories for leading radio players are expected to boast nearly 100% inventory utilisation during the festive week. Industry leaders say that, while the previous festive season was still slower, advertising for the festive season has shown great momentum this year.

“The last festive season was still facing the wrath of the post-COVID downfall. It certainly took brands a really long time to outrun the pandemic’s impact. This year, although the season started later than what was anticipated, it has finally started displaying the fireworks. It’s definitely a bigger Diwali this time,” says Nisha Narayanan, director & COO, Red FM and Magic FM.

Abraham Thomas, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network says there has been a noticeable surge in demand and acceptance for advertising across their radio, digital and on-ground channels.

Uday Mohan, managing director, Havas Media India adds that this year's festival season has seen high momentum with Asian games and the Cricket World Cup followed by blockbuster box office releases.

Festive radio ad spends soar as CWC and blockbusters drive demand

Inventories and ad rates

According to Narayanan of Red FM, their inventory is flying off the shelves at a rate between 90-150% across different cities. She says while competition is being blinded by the quantity of advertisements they are raising the inventory very cautiously and making sure to not bombard the consumers with ads.

Thomas states that their inventory utilisation is at the threshold, with more than 95% of it already sold, reflecting strong demand and interest from advertisers for the festive period.

Mohan of Havas states that while there has not been a dramatic increase in ad rates,  private FM stations have adopted new ways to attract brands and volumes by developing innovative brand plugs, contextuality, and festival promotional campaigns. He expects movie promotion and brand ties to drive ad spends by 3 to 5%.

HT Media Group's Fever Network also recently announced a significant 25% increase in advertising prices for all its brands within the radio division for the upcoming festive season in 2023. Fever Network operates popular radio stations including Fever FM, Radio One, Radio Nasha, and Punjabi Fever.

Narayanan further affirms that this festive season has given them the opportunity to stabilise their rates but the growth is not as expected. “During the pandemic, to retain volume shares, a few layers harmed industries’ interests by offering COVID time bonus offers. Our focus is to align the volumes back to pre-COVID levels without offering bulk discounts,” she says.

Festive radio ad spends soar as CWC and blockbusters drive demand


Mohan of Havas states that retail, jewellery, auto industry, banking, consumer durables, fashion and apparels are banking highly on radio this festive season. Mohan adds that this Diwali is one of the biggest in terms of festivities, compared to the last four years.

“Radio will play an important role in engaging consumers with brand communications, especially promotional-driven campaigns. Also, this year consumers' sentiments are so high and optimistic, brands have leveraged this space by exposing them to emotional messaging in order to connect soulfully,” he says.

According to Tam Adex, in 2023 properties/real estate secured the leading position with a 19% share of ad volumes in August- October 2023. This was followed by Hospitals/clinics (7%) and Cars (6%).

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