Pune and Programmatic Buys!


“Every city has its identity”, said the segment promo on 98.3 FM Radio Mirchi, Pune (MH, India). It’s true; I could not have agreed more. A few days ago, I travelled from Bangalore to Pune and tuned to local FM stations. I was curious to know how Pune stations sound. I was looking for flavors that differentiated the air waves of Pune from Bangalore.

A common filter usually applied is the language played by the station. True, but, what if the dominant language of the prominent FM stations in Pune is not the native language of the region?

For me, it was not about the language of the music being played on the stations. I could distinguish between the air waves of Pune and Bangalore but the ingredients that gave Pune’s stations their distinctive flavor were difficult to single out. It was a whole of numerous individual parts. Things that took my notice: use of words common to the region such as Akkha, Khajoor, Pagaar, Bhau, etc. in the advertisements; interstitials titled in local lingo, e.g. Mawaali Bhai; the degree of naughtiness of the prank calls, the tone and manner in which the RJs spoke to the listeners, and so on. Also interesting was the choice of songs during the evening drive. The one I recall is ‘Hawa Hawa’ by Hasan Jahangir, quite a hit number from the 80’s. I never heard it on Bangalore stations!

What do I care about how a station sounds in Pune?

I believe the sound of the station reflects the beliefs, values and culture of a place. If I am an advertiser, I would like my ad to have the same ingredients that distinguish one city from another. What if I am the owner of a fledgling internet business based in Bangalore, with an objective of targeting the 25-35 years males working in the IT industry of Pune, how do I bring those flavors to my ad?

That’s where I found the value proposition of online platform ‘releaseMyAd.fm’ compelling. It allows small and medium advertisers to launch a radio campaign in a do it yourself (DIY) mode. It does not matter whether one is in Bangalore or Pune. Even if I don’t speak the same language as a Punekar, I am assured that once I have created the radio campaign on the online platform, the complimentary consulting services of releaseMyAd ensures that the campaign gets its wings and registers with the Punekar, or any other target group preferences set by the advertiser or the media buyer.

What is releaseMyAd.fm

A model similar to digital ad buys (websites, social media, mobile internet, mobile apps etc.), which rely heavily on programmatic buys; releaseMyAd brings the same technology to Indian radio landscape.

What are programmatic buys?

In a programmatic buy the buyers/advertisers can log onto platforms similar to that of releaseMyAd to see the available inventory of a station, rates, available formats, time bands, demographics etc. to place the buy.

Programmatic buys work well for a fragmented and impersonal medium like internet, but do they work equally well for radio? Radio is more personal and has its own local nuances. I believe that a hybrid between a pure play programmatic and the traditional consultative approach should be an intermediate step before maturing to a full-fledged programmatic for radio. That’s where I believe a layer of consultative approach to sell airtime on top of the programmatic technology platform adds value to the advertiser. Otherwise, it’s just a case of one guy selling air and another buying it!

As a small and medium advertiser, what’s your take on hybrid programmatic buys for radio?

–My recent trip to Pune was marked by two disconnected events. One was my desire borne out of curiosity to find how local FM radio stations of Pune sound. Another was my interaction with Sharad regarding their launch of www.releaseMyAd.fm, an online platform that allows businesses to advertise across 24 radio channels in around 86 cities in India. The post is about the convergence of these events and hence an odd title for this post!

About Himanshu: Himanshu Agarwal has over 11 years’ experience in the mobile value-added services sector, specializing in content syndication, Internet media, interactive distance learning and e-learning. He is a firm believer in the medium of radio and the opportunities it creates for both local and national businesses. He scribbles his thoughts at http://www.himanshuagarwal.com