Muthoot group plans radio business growth through acquisitions

July 8th, 2008 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 8 (IANS) The Kerala-based Muthoot group, with business interests in finance, real estate, healthcare and education, wants to acquire FM radio stations, a top company official said here Tuesday. “We are open to acquire existing FM stations,” Muthoot group’s executive director George M. George told the media at the launch of a new radio station. “Currently, we hold the licence to operate the ChennaiLive 104.8 FM station.”

He, however, admitted the group has not set apart any kitty for new acquisitions.

George said ChennaiLive FM - the ninth radio station in the city - would be a ‘talk’ radio.

“The market is cluttered with undifferentiated products. Ours will be a different genre compared to the existing ones,” he said.

Elaborating, station head Prem Kumar said music would be just one of the several programmes on offer. “We will air debates, discussions with guests in the studio, and also with our listeners on subjects concerning Chennai city and its residents. We also have a book review programme slot.”

Sunil Kumar, Big River Radio managing director and advisor to the Muthoot group’s radio business, said: “FM radio stations are localised media and only those offering relevant local content will get to connect with the listeners.”

According to him, ChennaiLive FM is a niche station, targeting a premium audience.

The station has roped in professionals from various walks of life - from medicine to banking - to host various programmes.

“I will host light programmes and certainly not medicine-related one,” said Tausif Ahmed, a doctor at a renowned city hospital.

Muthoot Broadcasting Pvt. Ltd, the company that owns ChennaiLive FM, has invested around Rs.200 million, including Rs.80 million as licence fee, in this venture.

It hopes to break even during the first year of operations itself.

“We will be targeting advertisers selling premium products as our listeners are of a different category. They will be able to name our station clearly, unlike what is happening now. Listeners mix up names of stations and radio jockeys,” Kumar added.

Muthoot’s advertisement tariff will be higher than that quoted by rival stations, Kumar said, adding: “We are in the process of fine-tuning the tariff rates.”

The Chennai radio station advertisement market is estimated to be around Rs.400 million.

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