Radio: Who is Advertising and Who is Not

Analysis of radio advertisers


The following article contains an evaluation of data of the advertisement run on radio channels. It gives us insights about the product categories that have advertised the most in the past 3 months and interesting fact findings like:

  • of India is the biggest radio advertiser in terms of advertising spots
  • BJP was one of the biggest radio advertisers during Karnataka Elections
  • Tobacco and betel nut products form the biggest radio advertisers at a regional level
  • Local level advertisers are mostly the real estate companies, hospitals, educational institutions, hotels & restaurants, events and exhibitions.
  • Travel & Tourism form one of the top categories in radio advertising in top 6 metro cities.

Through this article, we have tried to find the answers to questions about the top categories in the radio advertising space, the difference between national and local level advertisers and radio advertising in metro cities against non-metro cities.

Read on to know more about the exercise and the outcome.

radio advertising in india


Radio has been an integral part of entertainment in India for decades now. Earlier, it was limited to few channels owned by All India Radio and packaged in bulky but portable radio sets. With the onset of the 21st century, the change in the technology and arrival of privately owned radio channels brought about a revolution in the radio listening habits. Now, you can stream radio channels while driving through your car music system, while working or travelling to work via mobile phones.

From the perspective of content, radio channels are no more limited to playing songs only. Unlike government-owned radio channels, the primary objective of these radio channels is entertainment. However, apart from playing songs, these channels also provide important local updates like traffic, weather, live match etc. With many radio channels supplementing their presence with Facebook Page, WhatsApp Accounts and websites, the whole experience of radio has become integrated on many mediums.

Top radio advertisers

Why is radio advertising important for advertisers?

As per the latest IRS data, there is about 9% increase of in radio listenership in India compared to the year 2014. Urban regions have shown an increase of about 13%. This is probably due to the presence of privately owned entertainment based radio channels like Radio Mirchi, Red FM etc. Another highlight of this data is- about 45% of listeners in the top 8 markets belong to NCCS A. If we look at the entire nation, 29% of the listeners belong to NCCS A class. This is probably due to a majority of urban population listening to the radio (about 25%) in the car. This is good news for the advertisers as it provides them with an opportunity to reach out to the premium audience through radio advertising.

Brand cloud

Who owns the radio advertising world?

The Media Ant has analysed the data for the last three months, March 2018-May 2018 for 12 cities, to come up with the answer to the following questions:

  • Which are the top 5 brands and categories nationwide in radio advertising?
  • What is the ratio between National, Regional and Local brands in radio advertising?
  • Is there any change in advertising behaviour between metro and non-metro cities?

Data from following most populated cities of India have been used for the analysis:

  1. Mumbai
  2. Kolkata
  3. Delhi
  4. Chennai
  5. Bangalore
  6. Hyderabad
  7. Ahmedabad
  8. Pune
  9. Kanpur
  10. Jaipur
  11. Lucknow
  12. Nagpur

Analysis of radio advertisers

The Results

Which are the top 5 Advertisers and categories nationwide in radio advertising?

Top advertisers nationwide

Top categories nationwide


  • The government of India is the biggest advertiser (in terms of advertising spots) on radio advertising nationwide. Radio is a low-cost mass media and can be used effectively for creating brand awareness about various schemes as well as act as reminders for important dates like last day for linking Aadhar with PAN card or last date for ITR filing. The top 5 campaigns run by Govt of India on the radio were- Aadhar, IT Dept Updates, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana, and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Bhartiya Janata Party was the biggest advertiser (advertising spots) in Banglore during the months of April-May 2018.
  • Services-Internet category consists of all the web-based companies of India across industries and sectors.

Although Housing Real Estate is the third largest category in radio advertising, there is no single brand among the top players. This is probably due to the absence of national-level advertisers.

What do Category-wise top 5 brands for top 5 categories tell us about the category?







  • Under the category Government, Associations and Unions, Government of India has the highest share followed by Government of Delhi. This is because radio is considered to be a very effective medium for awareness about various schemes run by the governments.
  • The top 3 players in the category Services-Internet are PayTM, Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd and Amazon who account for 44% of the total spots.
  • Property-Housing category has a number of small or local level players. The top 5 players make about 18% of the total spots.

What is the share of National, Regional and Local Level Advertisers?

National and local

Let’s see the breakup of the top 10 advertisers of national, local and regional level advertising categories.

national level advertisers

Regional level players

Local level players


  • National Level Players– Government is the biggest national level player followed by established brands of automobiles, consumer durables and Banking and Finance. Also, the web-based services that are not bound by location are also a major player.
  • Regional Level Players– Tobacco & Betel Nut Products form the biggest advertiser at a regional level. The other big players are from education, jewellery, personal care and food products industry.
  • Local Level Players- This space is formed by local level retailers and companies. The products/shops are usually limited to a particular geography- real estate, clinics and hospitals, schools & colleges, hotels and restaurants, etc.

Is there any difference between the radio advertising pattern between metro and non-metro cities?

Metro cities

Non metro cities


  • The government of India and Web-based companies remain the top two advertisers in both metro and non-metro cities with similar shares of spots.
  • Metro cities witness more advertisements for high-ticket items like housing, cars and consumer durables.
  • Shopping is one of the top categories of metro cities but not of non-metro cities. This is mostly due to the high presence of organized retail in metro cities.
  • Travel and tourism also make it to the top- ten- list for metro cities due to an inclination of people towards travelling for work and pleasure.
  • Tobacco & betel nut products have higher advertising spot share in non-metro cities as compared to metro cities.
  • Education and medical services form an important part of radio advertising in the non-metro cities

Other observation from city-wise data analysis:

  • In Bangalore, a major share of advertising spots was taken by Government and political parties in the month of April-May 2018 due to the state elections
  • In cities like Delhi and Chennai where the temperature is very high during the month of summers, consumer durables led by fan and AC form major share of advertising spots.
  • The northern and western parts of India (Lucknow, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur) have a high share of advertising spots taken by tobacco and betel nut-based products.


From the latest IRS data, we learnt that radio advertising is more effective in urban areas and that too on NCCS A class people. Looking at the data collected, we can see that the advertising pattern for the last three months is consistent with this finding. High-ticket items like housing, automobiles, and jewellery and consumer durables claim a high percentage of ad spots. We also learn that local and regional players form a significant group of advertisers. Another thing that we can infer from this data is that the advertising mix varies in pretext of various factors- significant events, festivals, temperature, food preferences etc.

Want to know more about Radio Advertising and Radio Advertising Rates? Please visit www.TheMediaAnt.Com/Radio or write to us at Help@TheMediaAnt.Com.

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