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The rise and rise of radio
Abraham Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited
Ad volumes on radio has spiked by 434% during Jun-Aug ’20
media

The rise and rise of radio

Ad volumes on radio has spiked by 434% during Jun-Aug ’20
  • The last few months have reaffirmed the power and impact of radio.
  • Abraham Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited writes how radio has reinvented itself, acclimating to the demands of listeners whilst extending the boundaries of content and audience engagement.
If the last few years were about touch, these coming years are going to be all about Audio. Brands are creating their own voice, the search is fast-moving to audio and audio will be an integral part of the Internet of things! Radio will always be the dominant player in the new world of Audio. Radio is well reflecting the change in audio consumption behaviour from music to talk to unscripted podcasts to scripted podcasts to audio stories and is partnering with multiple platforms for content creation and dissemination.

The last few months have reaffirmed the power and impact of radio which has been shining brighter and booming louder, especially for the stellar role it can play in the times of a national crisis. This is all the more evident during these times of ‘toxic content’ and fake news! Since the onset of lockdown, radio has been shattering many preconceived notions as it has emerged as a powerful communication tool. This has translated into it being reimagined in the minds of listeners, becoming the most trusted medium for audiences across the country.

This reaffirmation in the medium’s strength has been clearly resonated in the numbers divulged. A study conducted by AROI had revealed that 82% of the Indian audience tuned into radio during the lockdown and the average daily time spent listening increased by 23%. As per the recent RAM data, there’s been a spike in listenership across segments, with reach and time spent by men and women, Sec A and golden agers noticing a significant surge. Radio also busts the age-old myth about its popularity amongst millennials as it had teens grooving to its tunes, noticing a remarkable rise in listenership and engagement. This can be attributed to the fact that during the time of unprecedented uncertainty listeners turned to radio for the impeccable manner in which it helped them wade through the slew of unratified fake news and sensationalism. Also, their favourite RJs became their trusted friends and a voice of comfort.

This sizable growth hasn’t gone unnoticed by brands and advertisers as they are leveraging the strength of the medium for generating greater exposure and engagement for their products. The TAM Adex data shows a subsequent growth in advertising targeted towards each segment with various categories such as retail auto, cosmetics, financial services, restaurant, food products, E-com media amongst many others leveraging the strength of airwaves to reach their target audience even in the remotest parts of the country. The recently revealed data by the research division also states that ad volumes on radio has spiked by 434% during Jun-Aug ’20 in the 4 metros as compared to the previous quarter. In other cities, the rise stands at more than 5 times. Infact, over 100 categories advertised exclusively during this period.

The numbers do speak for themselves as the medium recovered by a resounding 70% in the current quarter with consistent growth in ad volumes since June’20. With the geographic unlocking of the economy, there has been a K shaped recovery, with certain categories booming and others bearing the brunt. However, our emerging markets are leading the way in this recovery apart from major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Ahmedabad as the un-lockdown has restarted economic activity.

These figures give us all the reason to be cautiously optimistic for the medium. The upcoming festive season will further be a crucial period for radio as about 40-45% of annual business occurs during this time. With an eye towards the future, we are confident that the upcoming fervour that the season brings with it will be a mood changer, bringing in some much-needed respite. Diwali being the biggest festival will aid in shopping and voluminous purchasing. As everyone enjoys the revelries, brands will attract customers with new launches, offers and discounts and radio become the ideal partner, owing to its extensive local reach and influence.

While the last few months have been full of learnings, time and again, radio has reinvented itself, acclimating to the demands of listeners whilst extending the boundaries of content and audience engagement. This has seen radio curate content that spans formats and genres. Transcending boundaries like never before, radio is embracing digital to delve into stories and regale in engrossing narratives that are not just mainstream. With storytelling and podcasts gaining wide momentum, the medium is not only breaking geographical barriers reaching out to a wider set of audience but also garnering adulation and attention of content creators across the world. It is successfully evolving towards providing a holistic audio entertainment experience which is more intimate and immersive. By appealing to all demographics and adding immense value to the listener’s time spent on the medium, radio is not only taking giant strides towards being a gamechanger but will also play a telling role in the revival of the nation’s economy.

- By Abraham Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited