RAMcheck: Media agencies on new FM listenership numbers

06 Dec,2011

By Robin Thomas


The latest RAM data on radio listenership for the month of September to mid-October has thrown up a few surprises in radio listenership. New leaders have emerged in cities that were once strongholds of their rivals. Barring Kolkata where Radio Mirchi continues its leadership position, the remaining three markets – Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru have new No. 1s.


Take Mumbai for instance, once a Radio Mirchi bastion, the latest RAM figures (category: all people 12+, all places of listening, shares) show Radio City as the number one private FM station in the city, slightly ahead of Radio Mirchi. However this time (i.e. week 38-42, 2011) Radio City had to share the No. 1 slot with the government owned FM radio – AIR FM2-Gold. Bengaluru where Big FM held its number one status for a very long time is now overthrown by Radio City. In Delhi Fever FM has become number one taking over from AIR FM2- Gold, Radio Mirchi which was number one in the city for very long time has slipped to number three position. These figures are according to RAM, All People 12+, all places of listening and all daypart (i.e. Sunday to Saturday 12 am to 12 am).


In addition to these developments we find that when we compare week 35- week 38, 2011 (last week of August to 1st three weeks of September, 2011) and week 39- week 42, 2011 (Last 2 weeks of September and 1st two weeks of October, 2011) not all FM stations have witnessed growth in their listenership. When asked whether FM stations have reached a stagnation point in listenership, Mr Janardhan Pandey, Associate VP, Mudra Max explained, “It has not reached a stagnation point, but a period of stabilization. To further increase listenership, FM stations will have to take the quality of content and programming to the next level along with higher-level product promotions.”


Mr Ajay Rao, Vice President, Dentsu observed, “FM stations do not have novelty working for them any more. It is today a force of habit for people who find themselves without a smartphone to keep them going. For the young people FM is losing out to other more engaging past times. Can one differentiate basis the content? Listeners tune in for music and switch channels during breaks.”


AIR FM2- Gold which has been growing strong in listenership particularly in Mumbai and Delhi where it has emerged as a strong number two contender. What remains to be seen is whether this trend continues or will it see a decline or stagnation in listenership. Media planners are however of the view that since AIR FM2- Gold offer only specific contents it is not considered as often as the private stations. Mr Narendra Kumar Alambara, Vice President, Starcom Chennai was of the view that, “Since the entertainment content is limited in AIR, the advertisers do not consider AIR as often as compared to the private stations.”


“AIR FM- Gold has been consistently delivering impressive numbers, this suggest that the music is most important content of a radio station and RJ/ innovations and promotions alone cannot keep you on top,” said Mr Janardhan Pandey.

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