The past quarter was better for radio segment says Entertainment Network India (ENIL) executive director and chief executive officer, Prashant Panday. "The quarter was especially good for radio companies. On comparision of growth of radio with other media, radio has actually done the best," he adds.
Panday is optimistic on radio's growth in the country. "As an industry, radio would have grown between 15 and 18 percent over last year. I think television has grown next, followed by outdoors and then newspapers have been the worst performers this quarter," he says.
Panday opines retail businesses are doing well vis a vis national advertisers.
"Firstly, there is genuinely more economic growth in the smaller markets and in the smaller businesses. Secondly, the larger advertisers have always been demanding better value and hence they keep driving the pricing down," he adds.
Below is the edited transcript of Panday's interview to CNBC-TV18.
Q: How is the advertising market for radio holding out? There are some strains which are visible in other advertising pockets in other media.
A: The quarter was good for advertising overall. The quarter was especially good for radio companies. On comparision of growth of radio with other media, radio has actually done the best. As an industry, radio would have grown between 15 and 18 percent over last year. I think television has grown next, followed by outdoors and then newspapers have been the worst performers this quarter.
Q: Which particular pockets in advertising are pushing for you guys? Is this something that you expect to be a consistent trend through the course of this year? Or is it lumpy the way ad revenues are moving?
A: One of the long-term trends that we have seen over the last two-three years and we see that continuing in the future, is the fact that the retail businesses are growing faster than the national advertisers are. There are two reasons for it. Firstly, there is genuinely more economic growth in the smaller markets and in the smaller businesses. Secondly, the larger advertisers have always been demanding better value and hence they keep driving the pricing down.
Therefore, they exert pressure on broadcasters. But now it is coming back to actually bite them. So, if you notice the larger broadcasters, the larger media vehicles are having lesser and lesser of the national advertisers. The media buying agencies that buy for the national advertisers, really have to think about it if they are doing their clients any good by doing what they are doing.
Q: Most of the gains or the growth that you are recording in advertising is because of higher inventory sold or have you been able to push rates higher?
A: It is still driven very much by inventory. That pattern will continue into the fourth quarter and maybe another two quarters of the next financial year. In the Diwali quarter of next season we will genuinely see price increases happening. Also because there is an expectation, we are seeing some action on ground of the sentiment improving and the advertising dollars starting to increase. All of that will really manifest itself out in the next two or three quarters.
Q: You have done pretty well in terms of market share and growing volumes. Any outlook in terms of market share targets and how much volumes can be upped by?
A: We put a strategy into play about six-seven quarters back. Today we are branding it as Reimagining Radio. Essentially, what it means is that we are going way beyond conventional FM radio. We are looking at digital in a big way. We are looking at digital broadcasting, digital marketing. We are looking at international markets, and at activations in a much bigger way. We are looking at solution providing and multimedia deals. So, we are kind of reimagining the entire business of radio and I think that will stand us in good stead. That is one reason why we have been able to maintain market share, grow market share, grow cash flows and I think that trend should continue in the future.