The PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Indian Entertainment and Media Outlook 2009 report says that in the year 2008, the Indian radio industry had grown at a CAGR of 36.4 per cent over the last four years from 2004 to 2008. While music royalty is still a critical issue, in conversation with exchange4media.com, Uday Chawla, General Secretary, AROI said, "Phase III will be rolled out shortly, the Ministry, I believe is ready to move to cabinet for approval and announce it shortly and we officially welcome phase III and the sooner it is, the better." FM phase III will see around 700 additional frequencies for private FM players and introduction of FM stations in 90 new cities.
Chawla also said that phase III would infact, be a turning point for FM radio industry in India. "Phase III rollout is also likely to see sports commentary, news and current affairs being allowed, this will certainly bring a sea change in the industry, as a result it will follow the same route as the television hence the year 2010 is expect to be the start of a big revolution in the Indian radio industry. FM radio can't be just dependent on music alone, it too like television needs mix content. Radio in India is already poised for a big leap, it has already overtaken magazine and should soon reach the level of television in the next few years."
"We have requested I&B Ministry that news on FM radio should be free and not limited but, the ministry's point of view is to let that happen in stages. So, we can expect multiple sources or free news also in few years. I believe that having no news and current affairs at all is infact, worst than having limited sources. So, news thorough limited sources is just a start, it will be in stages, no limit however as far as current affairs are concerned, however AROI will have its own code of edits. We will be very clear that there shall be no anti national, anti caste or religion or hurting any sentiments" said Chawla.
Meanwhile, AROI on November 12, 2009 will hold 'Vision 2010' in Delhi, it would be an official radio event. One of the objectives of the AROI event will be to discuss the vision 2010 for radio industry and to see how it can be made a landmark year for FM radio expansion in India. Post the conference, the Chawla observed, "FM radio still needs to evangalise the medium because while the listeners know what radio is all about, whether in metros or villages however advertisers need to know more about the medium, that its able to reach customers much faster and have deeper penetration. I believe, the radio industry in the next three years will be between Rs. 5000 and 10, 000 crores. It will become a very major player and that's why it becomes all the more important that the government makes the industry a more level playing field and announces the phase III."
Allowing news and current affair, sports commentary provides content alternative for FM radio as a result, the dependency on music reduces. "AROI is looking at evolving the industry into a major player in the Indian media market, and with regards to the music royalty issue, the matter is now subjudice" concluded Chawla.
Source: © exchange4media 2009
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