Fever 104 FM, HT Media Ltd’s Virgin-branded radio station that was for long an also-ran in three of the four markets (except Delhi) it is present in, seems to be making a dramatic come back, registering strong gains in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Most significantly, for the first time, the station has topped the charts in Mumbai, India’s largest media (and radio) market by ad spends and one that is toughly contested.
In Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, three of India’s biggest radio markets, Fever made the most gains in listenership share, while in Kolkata it registered a marginal dip. Listenership share grew by 4.7, 2.5 and 1.1 percentage points in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, respectively, while in Kolkata, the share dropped by 0.5 percentage point. Big FM made the biggest gain in Kolkata–1.6 percentage points. Listenership data was provided by Radio Audience Measurement, a unit of TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, and latest figures are for the week ended 26 April.
The collective listenership share for Delhi and Mumbai is the highest for Radio Mirchi, broadcast by a subsidiary of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. While Mirchi has a combined 40% and average 20% share, Fever has a combined 34% and average 17% share.
Radio accounted for Rs880 crore of ad spends in 2008, and will grow 15% to Rs1,012 crore in 2009, according to GroupM’s This Year Next Year report on Indian media.
Fever’s success in Mumbai must come as a psychological boost for HT Media, which hasn’t found success in Mumbai either with flagship paper Hindustan Times or with business daily Mint.