Mobile phones and metro trains are driving radio business

There has been a dramatic increase in radio penetration in the metros. Most of it is being largely attributed to FM-enabled mobile phones that have hooked the youth of the country.

India — the fastest growing mobile market in the world — has seen a surge in radio penetration from 59 per cent in 2007 to 77 per cent in 2011 in the four metros. FM listenership in the four metros where Radio Audience Measurement — the radio listenership service of TAM Media Research — data is available has crossed 60 per cent.

Delhi has observed the greatest increase in FM penetration among RAM markets. Analysts say the trend is primarily on account of the surge in Metro ridership, especially among college-goers and young professionals. Most youngsters on the metro trains prefer to plug in to their cellphone headsets and stay tuned in to their favourite FM channels.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd., in its PwC India Entertainment and Media Outlook 2011 report, attributed the main reason for this increase in penetration to a change in listener habits. “While an increasing number of cars on roads is driving FM penetration on the road, the real boost in FM penetration has come from an increased number of FM-enabled mobile phones…. in the affordable price range, users in metros are switching from traditional radio sets to

mobile phones as their primary modes of radio-listening.”

This trend is quite clear for Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. Radio handsets and music systems, however, continue to remain the most used device for radio-listening in small towns.

This is possibly because the change in the listening habit has not yet taken place in smaller towns, but there are indications that soon they too will be largely using the mobile for their entertainment purposes.

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