On acquiring Radio One, Harshad Jain, CEO – Radio and Entertainment, HT Media Ltd. and Next Radio Ltd, says that the acquisition strengthens the company’s position in the market. “Going forward, the focus will be on transformation, transition and working on sharpening our product," he adds.
What was the rationale behind the acquisition of Radio One?
The Radio One acquisition is in line with our strategy of driving inorganic growth and made strategic sense because we are a very metro-centric company. The top 10 cities contribute to 65-70% of the revenues in the radio industry. The Fever FM Network already has a formidable footprint in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore and the Radio One acquisition strengthens our position in the metros. We are now 22 stations-strong across 15 cities. No one covers metros better than us.
English music is a great format, and we realised that in metro markets there is huge growth potential for this format. We already have a very successful Hindi CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) format and English addresses high net worth individuals, we will now be able to straddle the needs of the listeners.
Fever FM, Radio Nasha and Radio One have their own standing, and loyalty -- both from a listener and a customer stand-point. Our ability to get a certain amount of premium, in terms of pricing, is very high.
By when is HT Media likely to recoup its investment?
That is part of our internal business plans. Looking at our investments during Phase III, we broke even operationally well ahead of what we had planned. Radio One acquisition is a result of a planned strategy and business plan and we are in line with our plans.
Please share your thoughts on Radio One Revamp in Chennai
Chennai is culturally a very rich city and continues to take pride in Kollywood and digital local celebrities -- emerging and big. Our research revealed that the Chennai youth is engaging actively with Tamil contemporary music and the latest emerging content.
There is a large play of digital that influences music choices and consumption. There are under-leveraged opportunities that Radio One will tap and become the destination station for youth. We are happy to re-launch a differentiated product - Radio One Chennai - in contemporary Tamil format and look forward to establish milestones in innovation.
With the tagline ‘Style-a, Mass-a, Geth-a’, Radio One 94.3 FM is all set to entertain Chennai by catering to their demand for a digital first Tamil station that brings high tempo trendy music along with classy entertainment that appeals to the millennials. The station will play popular and contemporary Tamil hits and also feature Kollywood celebrities, with the intent of infusing style and swag into the soul of the city. It aims at being a destination station for all, especially the multi-medium surfers.
What will be the focus area for you going forward?
We have made large investments for radio licences and they are all about driving on-air listenership and on-air revenues, which is our priority. We are not going to be substituting that investment by driving on-ground. We conduct on-ground events more from a tactical standpoint not a primary revenue stream.
Going forward, the focus will be on Radio One, the transformation and transition, working on sharpening our product propositions and bringing in a very strong product strategy which gives listeners very compelling reasons to drive a high level of loyalty.