New Delhi: HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint and Hindustan Times newspapers, said its radio arm has acquired a 51% stake in Next Mediaworks Ltd. Next Mediaworks, through its subsidiary Next Radio Ltd, operates stations across major metros under the Radio One brand, including some in the English language.
HT Media owns the popular Hindi radio channels Fever FM and Radio Nasha, with a dominant presence in the metros—two stations each in Delhi and Mumbai and one each in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. Next Radio operates seven stations of Radio One across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Fever FM and Radio Nasha are leaders in the Hindi contemporary hit radio (CHR) and retro radio space, respectively. Radio One operates three stations in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru that play English music and four—in Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad—that play Bollywood music.
HT Media said on 18 April that the acquisition of Radio One would make it the strongest radio company in the fast-growing metro markets. Alongside its current metro strength of eight stations, HT Media will not only add an additional station each to its top five metros but also the key metro market of Pune to its network.
“This acquisition aims to provide the widest array of content, music and advertising options for our listeners and advertisers. Needless to mention, the combined setup will provide growth opportunities for the talented employees on both sides. The company is now detailing out the synergies of operations both at the front and the back end," said Harshad Jain, CEO (radio and entertainment) of HT Media, who will lead all three brands.
With a strong focus on top cities including Pune, Jain said they were set to become a dominant metro-centric media company. “We are looking to have the lion’s share in listenership and revenues," he added.
The deal will enable HT Media to have a much larger combined play in the top metro markets, apart from comprehensive coverage of the key markets of Uttar Pradesh.
“This acquisition will help HT Media with complete access across English and Hindi segments in the country’s biggest radio markets and will help widen their audience base. Multiple formats and skills across the stations will help in better servicing listeners as well as advertisers. The combination of Radio One, with a strong English presence, and HT Media, with a mass radio presence, will unlock huge value for all concerned," said Vinita Pachisia, vice-president of Carat India, a Dentsu Aegis Network-owned media agency.
According to GroupM’s AdEx report, the radio industry is predicted to grow faster than the previous years at 15% in 2019 to reach ₹3,116 crore. Radio has been consistently contributing 4% to the overall ad expenditure in the country in the last five years.