Launched in February 2012, Radio Mirchi is a recent Indian export to the UAE. The Hindi and English radio station, owned by Abu Dhabi Media, caters to the South Asian audience and is best known for its offering of Bollywood music. Station Head Sandeep Sud talks about the channels launch and the journey so far […]
Launched in February 2012, Radio Mirchi is a recent Indian export to the UAE. The Hindi and English radio station, owned by Abu Dhabi Media, caters to the South Asian audience and is best known for its offering of Bollywood music. Station Head Sandeep Sud talks about the channels launch and the journey so far
How has the journey been so far? Can you share some figures and ratings of your channel?
It has been a fantastic journey full of learnings so far. We are growing stronger by the year. Only two years old and we have established a loyal listenership in the market, which is poised to grow further.
What is the Hindi radio industry worth in the UAE and what is your share of the pie?
There are different estimates of the size of the radio industry in UAE, but we estimate the value of the Hindi radio industry at around USD 23 million. Given the scenario, as any market leader, we would want to target 40 to 45% share of this pie but it is still early as we are only two years old in the UAE.
Radio Mirchi is available on 97.3 FM Abu Dhabi, 88.8 FM Dubai and Northern Emirates and 95.6 FM Al Ain.
It currently hosts popular shows such as Mirchi Mornings and Bumper to Bumper among others.
What expectations did you have when you first brought the brand to the UAE?
We have always been a market leader in India and this being the first international venture for the brand, we wanted to establish leadership here too. We were certainly conscious of the fact that the legacy of the brand will only help bring in listeners initially, but it is then left up to the station to deliver. If not, listeners would go back to listen to the other stations, some of which have been around for more than a decade. We cant rest on our laurels.
Hence, we developed our content, based on a lot of research in terms of listening habits, LEP (leisure, entertainment and pastime study), and other factors. The going has been good so far.
What were the main challenges in launching the radio station here and what are the challenges of running a radio station here?
We were launching a brand that is extremely popular in India, hence the expectations were that much more. Since we were the only channel to have a pan UAE reach, our content had to cater to a wider audience. We invested in a lot of research to develop our product. We are proud of our progress and look forward to continuing to meet our audiences’ needs and expectations.
Is the UAE a tough market? What factors ensure survival in this market?
The competitive scenario in the UAE is very much like in any city in India, with multiple players vying for a share of the pie. Having said that, we love it here because we love competition. Besides, we operate in a scenario, wherein the listeners preferences are constantly evolving. Hence, robust regular research is how we try and ensure that we stay on top of the game. In a nutshell, we dont just talk, we also listen!
How is this market unique and in what ways is it different from India?
In my mind, a couple of things are different here in terms of the listener profile. In the UAE, we cater to a South Asian audience that includes people from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh unlike in India. So for example, if there is a cricket match between India and Pakistan, we take a neutral approach.
Secondly, the music needs here are quite different from that in India. The audiences here are early adapters to the breaking music, more so than they are in India. It is therefore, important for us to balance the needs of the audience here while staying true to the core values of our brand.
Last but not the least, with the limited choice of content on other mediums for many, radio is a mainstream medium delivering larger audiences, share of revenues and therefore, fulfilling larger needs.
What is the turnover/revenue of the channel? Can you share some figures with us?
As mentioned, we would want to achieve leadership in both listenership and revenues. We are happy to report that, so far, we are in line with the projections on both fronts.
Which system does your station run on?
We use the Myriad software in our studios. The heart of the package is Myriad Playout which provides manual, live assisted or fully automated radio playout. All music and audio content is stored on the PC and is instantly available for playback at the touch of a button. Recorded audio is known as carts. Presenters can manually play carts or setup sequences to play automatically. Audio can be edited using the inbuilt SmoothEdit feature. The Find Cart feature helps locate the audio files.
Full automation of the system allows the station to run round the clock without interruptions.
The Myriad family also includes music and advert scheduling, CD ripping utilities, multi-media playout (for digital platforms) and reporting administration utilities.
The Myriad studio-based playout and automation system includes the Audio Wall, Instant Carts, SmoothEdit, Log Screen and Song / Link Database. Also built in is the Myriad Manager to assist in administrative jobs and advanced advert manager for inserting advertisements where required.
Scheduling of music and jingles is done using AutoTrack that includes basic link scheduling for a complete station scheduling solution.
Live updates including text, links and pictures to web and WAP sites as well as text information to Digital Radio (DAB) services are provided by an application in the software called OCP. Myriad OCP or Online Content Processor is designed to enhance digital broadcasts with additional information and content, driven directly by the live information provided by Myriad.
It allows you to add dynamic DAB DLS text to your DAB broadcasts and add information, hyperlinks, pictures and other information to your web broadcast. Myriad OCP gets information about what is playing and what is going to play, directly from Myriad and can be used to update DAB streams, local files, HTML pages and WAP pages accordingly.
– Vibhuti Arora