New Delhi: Jagran Prakashan Group-promoted Music Broadcast Ltd (MBL) is rebranding its eight Radio Mantra FM stations as Radio City, the company’s larger brand with 31 stations, a company executive said.
MBL operates eight Radio Mantra stations in Agra, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Jalandhar, Ranchi, Hissar and Karnal, and 31 stations under the Radio City brand. In 2014, Jagran group had acquired a majority shareholding in MBL in an all-cash deal, following which Radio Mantra (then owned by a Jagran subsidiary) was merged with MBL.
“We have received permission from the ministry. We are looking at this as an interesting opportunity. Mantra has been with MBL for a while and will add to Radio City’s regional presence across the country,” said Kartik Kalla, executive vice- president and national head of programming, marketing and Audacity (MBL’s in-house creative agency) at Radio City 91.1.
The idea behind rebranding, Kalla said, is to align the marketing, programming and ad sales operations of both FM services under one umbrella. “It’s a big network story for us. Everything will come under the Radio City fold—programming, marketing and content. It will give a lot of sense and strength to the brand,” he said.
MBL has been on an expansion spree, opening new stations on the frequencies obtained under the first batch of Phase 3 of radio privatization auction. The company had acquired 11 frequencies in the auction that concluded in September 2015, in cities like Patna, Kanpur and Kolhapur. MBL also operates an online web radio portal PlanetRadiocity.com.
Going forward, the company plans to expand into tier II and tier III cities and build new intellectual properties (on and off-ground) to strengthen ‘Radio City’ brand, Kalla said.
HT Media, publisher of Mint, competes with MBL in some markets.
Media experts believe that rebranding Radio Mantra as Radio City will help MBL offer a higher value to the advertisers. “A larger network is always attractive to marketers. Using a common will brand over a larger number of cities be of a higher value to advertisers,” said Ashish Pherwani, media and entertainment advisory leader at EY India.
Earlier this month, MBL launched its initial public offering (IPO) on 6 March in a bid to raise up to Rs400 crore in primary capital. The issue was subscribed 39.3 times and the shares closed 12% higher on their stock market debut on 17 March.
Music Broadcast is promoted by Jagran Prakashan Ltd, a media and communications group with interests in print, radio, out of home, brand activations and digital. Jagran group publishes 10 print titles including Dainik Jagran, Mid-Day and Inquilab across 13 states.
In the six months to September 2016, MBL recorded a total revenue of Rs138.2 crore and a profit of Rs 29 crore. According to a report titled Media for the masses: The promise unfolds by consulting firm KPMG and lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the radio industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.1% between 2016 and 2021 and is projected to be a Rs 4,780 crore industry by 2021. Currently, the industry is valued at Rs2,270 crore.