One Big Idea by Ashwin Padmanabhan: Meeting the diversity of its audience is crucial for radio

01 Apr,2013

By Ashwin Padmanabhan, Business Head, North and South, 92.7 BIG FM


India is a diverse country, much like the varying lengths of the fingers on your palm. There is unity in diversity – of culture, habitats, food and more importantly language families. Officially, the Indian Constitution states 22 languages – these further have grown with dialects changing every 100 kms or so, like its bio-diversity. With a 1.2 billion population, the uniting aspect for all these characteristics is language, though myriad, it is that one big idea that ties the country, and to go regional in terms of language content is the factor that will converge and amalgamate especially in the media and entertainment industry


Regional markets have developed to an extent that everything that is available in the metropolitan cities is sold here. The education and information spread makes it relevant for marketers and advertisers to be present in this populace. Advertisers, local and national, have seen the benefits in ROI. Product marketers have seen their products reach new peaks in sales output. When luxury cars arrived in the country, it was thought that the metro cities would show high sales, but unprecedented sales in regional areas led them to pump in more promotion in regional markets and thereby opened these markets for higher and more luxury brands.


Hence going regional is the one value-add in every product segment. In media and entertainment, radio covers almost 95% of the country; cinemas in every town ensured weekend entertainment; malls are the latest trend for evening shopping; but the one big promoter has to be television. TV infiltrates the audiences like never before. In-home entertainment is here to stay. And advertisers acknowledge this immense buying power.


For us, we believed in the regional story all along and hence our first business with 92.7 BIG FM and 45 stations across the country, each distinctly different from the other, each regional in its true sense. We have recently also made our television foray in the regional space, with television brands – BIG MAGIC and BIG RTL THRILL, both of which have been developed keeping in mind the regional audiences.


There are many India’s within one India, and it is for brands and marketers to cater specifically for their audiences. Meeting the diversity of its audience, and providing them what they want, and not just merely what they need, is the big idea. With the consumer spoilt for choice and far more aware, the one shoe fits all theory clearly doesn’t work anymore. Regionalization is most definitely here to stay!


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