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Neeraj Attri, COO, TOP FM :Brands are now focusing on tier markets

TOP FM, the radio network currently operating eight stations in Gujarat, has now opened up avenues for advertisers keen on targeting the youth in rural markets.

The radio network is going to open up five stations in J&K in November.

Neeraj Attri, COO and Group Revenue Head of TOP FM, spoke to exchange4media about the radio network’s journey in the first year since its inception, marketing and advertising trends in the regional space and the channel’s growth and expansion plans.

The advancement in technology and connectivity have significantly increased the scope of business in rural geographies and smaller towns, said Attri. “The eight stations of Gujarat have completed one year and the journey has so far been satisfying in terms of the market, the number of listeners as well as consumer responses. Initially, we were not sure how tier 2 and tier 3 markets would respond, since there was no radio in these markets and we were the first ones to bid for the stations for FM Phase 3. Our strategy was clear that we wanted to cater to tier 2 and tier 3 cities because urban markets were already cluttered in terms of having 5 to 6 radio players.”

Attri highlighted the opportunities in unexplored cities. “Corporates and government bodies have made several efforts to bridge the gap between the rural and urban India. Also, with the increase in the purchasing power of the consumers, the disparity between urban and rural India is reducing manifold. Moreover, these markets over the last few years have seen more awareness about brands due to the penetration of television, FM Radio stations and increased use of smartphones.”

Meanwhile, brands are also now aggressively focusing on tier markets as the mediums of advertisement are easily available at a much lower cost, Attri said. “The rate of radio advertising in these cities is Rs 175/sec as compared to Rs 400-500/sec in the Metros. Whether it is FMCG or consumer durables, everyone has tapped these markets as they find more opportunities here and are trying to encash them. Over the years, these markets have witnessed tremendous transformation, since the urban markets are nearing exhaustion and FMCG needs experimental marketing to grow,” he added.

AB SUNO TOP SUNO is targeting youth across small towns who not only love to listen to an electric mix of Bollywood music but are seekers of world-class products in their close vicinities. Today, the channel has become a voice to many brands who are keen to reach out to consumers in the regional markets of Gujarat and J&K.

Talking about competition in the regional markets, Attri said: “In our markets, we only have one competitor in Junagarg, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Bharuch and Mehsana. In Porbandar, Veraval and Godhra, we have a monopoly.”

Attri also shared insights on key industry segments advertising in the regional markets. “We have many big brands on board with us in these towns. Brands in categories like FMCG, automobile, health and education are aggressively doing business with us in Tier 2 and 3 cities. A local brand like Tirupati Oil, or a BMW showroom in Junagarh will only spend on the local medium for advertising in a 45km area, targeting business entrepreneurs in that locality. Today, we also have top brands from the automobile industry like Maruti, Honda and Hyundai to FMCG brands like Amul, Kayam Churan and Rajshree Pan Masala, along with a lot of hospitals in Ahmedabad like AB Hospital, Sterling Hospital and others.

On plans for the upcoming festive season, Attri said: “In Gujarat, Navratri, Janmashtami and Diwali are big in terms of advertising. We will be doing activations in all eight cities of Gujarat and are planning to rope in big brands from Delhi and Mumbai for activations since it is difficult for a national client to reach out to these locations, which have a completely unexplored market. Till date, the advertisers were only on Print, Outdoor or in the digital space.”

Talking about the company’s growth Attri said: “It takes any new company to break even normally in 3 years to start generating the ROI in any new business, but we think we will be able to achieve it in one year, considering we were going slow during the elections for 2 months and we have not completed a full financial year yet. We are optimistic since the market is already responding.”

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