Jaldi 5 with Ashwin Padmanabhan: Going retro for differentiation

01 Feb,2013

By Ananya Saha


Over the past 12 months, 92.7 Big FM has seen a phenomenal growth in the Delhi market with the average share growing to 11.3 from an average share of about 6. Ashwin Padmanabhan, Business Head, Big 92.7 FM speaks to MxM India about the station’s remarkable growth in Delhi, and other markets.


01. What has contributed to this growth?


Late last year we did studies and research to understand the unique and mass position of Big FM in Delhi. And with this research we decided to go retro. We took a clear-cut and distinct positioning of a retro music station with ‘Hit The, Hit Rahenge’. Within eight weeks of changing our music positioning along with a new RJ line-up that was more mature and new local shows, we saw a trend of increasing listernership. So, sampling started happening. In the 52nd week, we started averaging to 11.2 points from the previous 6. It tipped in second week of 2013, when three FM stations in Delhi stopped airing for a week. It became a two-horse race between Fever and us. What is heartening for us, we tipped Fever, which has been leading in Delhi, in this week. Our share went upto 33 percent in that week.


02. Is Delhi witnessing faster growth than other markets where Big 92.7 is present?

We have grown across markets. As per the Q2 and Q3 IRS figures, we have seen significant growth and continue to be leaders in Hindi-speaking markets. We have actually grown further from last quarter to this quarter. In Bengaluru, we have been growing and are a strong No.2. We did see a dip about an year back, and we have clawed back since then. We have been a very strong No.2 in Kolkata but now, our big shows like Breakfast Show are consistently No.1 in Kolkata. In Hyderabad, we have traditionally been strong, so we are maintaining that. In Chennai, we are witnessing quarter-on-quarter growth. According to IRS and the last round of RAM that happened in Chennai, we came at No.3.


We have seen overall growth happening across our markets.


03. Has the growth resulted in higher ad revenues?

The growth has resulted in the brand becoming more visible and audible, and top-of-mind for our potential advertisers. We are seeing a larger offtake from advertisers. A lot of this is also being driven from smaller markets where SMEs and large brands from Tier II markets are taking to our network in a big way. Many of them are actually using our network to launch their products.


Have the ad rates increased?

We have been looking at increasing. At this point in time, we have been able to maintain our ad rates. But we are surely looking at increasing yields 15-20 percent depending on the market.


04. Do on-ground or off-air and on-ground marketing initiatives help an on-air brand?

When we lauched and introduced Retro in Delhi, we initially just allowed the people to sample our station for good three months. Then we did our first campaign in Delhi – Mohabatien, which was to promote our 11am-2pm show. Then we did the concert with Kailash Kher. And then on, it has been primarily driven by content that we have been creating on-air. Our marketing has been from weekly street-level perspective when we have tried to reach our listeners and tried to acquire new listeners through street-level activations that we do on weekly basis.


There has been a lot of consumer engagement on-ground. It has been sampling and activation-based marketing rather than marketing in the pure sense.


05. What can we expect from 92.7 FM in the coming months?

We have Retro positioning in four stations: Indore, Delhi, Bhopal and Surat. We are looking at engaging with consumer at 2-3 levels in this market. We are creating platform for consumers to come on and express themselves. In Indore and Bhopal, we have just finished this initiative called Big Hindustani.


In Delhi, we are looking at series of concerts – Hit The, Hit Rahenge that we’ll do every quarter. It will be Retro music celebrated by today’s musicians and singers. We are also launching talent hunt across our network in March – Big Star Voice. The big gratification being – a chance to sing for a movie. There are going to be local activations that will happen in each of these markets, which will be driven by the positioning of our station in those markets.


We invest, and will continue to invest in differentiated content.


Is Big 92.7 FM looking at internet radio?

At this point, obviously everyone is looking at internet radio. But we need more time in terms of clarity on music licensing policies on internet. Hopefully, when we get that clarity, we will surely look at it.


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