US-based FCC seeks to open up FDI norms for broadcasting

MUMBAI: Are the winds of change blowing in probably what is the most hypercompetitive and protected media market in the world after China? It looks likely that they are.

The US Federal Communications Commission announced over the weekend that it is considering relaxing foreign investment norms in broadcast TV and radio stations in the US. Current norms restrict foreign holdings in companies holding broadcast licences at 25 per cent.

The FCC is scheduled to have an open discussion on this when it meets on 14 November under Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn. Clayburn says once its proposal is approved, the FCC will take decisions on proposals on a case by case basis. An official statement quoted her saying: “I circulated a declaratory ruling that clears the way for increased access to capital and potential new investors for the broadcast sector. Approval of this item will clarify the Commission’s intention to review, on a case-by-case basis, proposed transactions that would exceed the 25 per cent benchmark that restricts foreign ownership in companies holding broadcast licenses.”

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai added while speaking to a wire service that there is a great disparity in the fact that foreign companies can indirectly invest more than 25 per cent in wireless telecom, internet, cable TV ventures while draconian restrictions continue to hamper the flow of capital in the US broadcast sector which is going through turbulent times.

The proposal has been welcomed by many in the broadcast sector including the National Association of Broadcasters and The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), which has in the past stated that the rules framed in 1912 need to be changed.

In a statement, MMTC explained its advocacy for the measure: “MMTC, along with over 50 national civil rights, intergovernmental, entrepreneur, and professional groups, has petitioned the Commission to amend the rules for eight years. The organisations have cited the lack of domestic investment in diverse radio stations and the relief foreign investment capital would provide to American broadcasters, especially minority entrepreneurs. The move would also facilitate American broadcasters’ reciprocal entry into diverse overseas markets hungry for African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American music and culture.”

It may be recalled that News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch had to become an American citizen and give up his Australian citizenship in September 1985 in order to buy a network of independent television stations. He went to buy 50 per cent of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. (21st Century Fox) and had plans to purchase Metromedia, the nation’s largest group of independent television stations, including KTTV in Los Angeles.

The change in thinking brings to mind the fact that TRAI has been recommending a freeing up of foreign investment norms in cable TV, television - news and current affairs channel (in the uplinking guidelines may be increased from 26 per cent to 49 per cent through the FIPB route), radio (the FDI limits may be enhanced from 26 per cent to 49 per cent through FIPB route for the FM radio sector), DTH, and putting it on par with telecom. Hopefully, there will finally be some movement in that direction.

We don’t know if Indian firms are smelling opportunity, but it well could be. Zee TV already owns a wellness TV service in the US under the brand of Veria and several other Indian broadcasters have launched versions of their Indian channels and delivered them to south Asian diaspora via satellite in the US. Sure, it will provide India’s going-global media firms a chance to put in investments and acquire broadcasting firms - even though they may be local TV stations - in the US. Yes, it will take big money, but for the risk takers the rewards will be big too when they work out.

Latest Reads
Watch Rani Mukerji’s ‘Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Award’ winning performance in ‘Hichki’ only on Sony MAX

After garnering success at the box office and a heart-warming response from the audience, the Rani Mukerji starrer ‘Hichki’ is all set for its Worldwide Television Premiere only on Sony Pictures Networks’ number 1 Hindi movie channel, Sony MAX on Saturday, 26th March at 9pm. Directed by Siddharth...

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
World Television Premiere of Raid on Star Gold

This May, Star Gold to bring the World Television Premiere of Raid. Touted as first Bollywood project to be based on an Income Tax raid, this Ajay Devgn starrer hit will be showcased on 27th May 2018, Sunday at 1 PM on Star Gold.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
Travelxp explores Nagaland this month; Strictly Street, Krazee Foodie return for second seasons

Travelxp, the world’s leading travel channel, continues to excite its viewers with its popular show ‘Xplore Nagaland’ and new seasons of ‘Strictly Street’ and ‘Krazee Foodie’ as it continues to bring an experience of new places, diverse cultures and exotic cuisine straight to viewers’ living rooms...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
BBC StoryWorks expands into India

BBC StoryWorks, the global content marketing team within BBC Global News Ltd, has expanded into India with staff now based in the country for the first time as part of wider growth across the Asia Pacific region.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Firstpost turns 7: a look back at the milestones

MUMBAI: India’s leading digital news platform known for its path breaking content and remarkable journalism, celebrates 7 years in the industry. The platform was launched in 2011 by Network18 as an exclusive online news and views website and app accessible across platforms and...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Star to telecast IPL finale on 17 channels, adds Marathi Malayalam feeds

On the evening of 27 May, Star India wants to ensure you see nothing but IPL on your TV screens, no matter where you are or what language you speak. It has roped in Star Pravah and Asianet movies to add two new language feeds for better reach of the IPL 2018 in Marathi and Malayalam respectively.

Television TV Channels Sports
Sunil Lulla joins Balaji Telefilms as group CEO

MUMBAI: Indian production company Balaji Telefilms has appointed Sunil Lulla as its new group chief executive officer. His new role will be effective from 25 May 2018. He will replace Sameer Nair who quit the company to join Applause Entertainment.

Television TV Channels People
Nielsen on changing landscape of global sports

MUMBAI: The global sports industry is undergoing more disruption than ever as a result of ongoing shifts in media consumption, the emergence of new technologies and a rapidly evolving sponsorship market.

Television TV Channels Sports
ITW Consulting appoints Navneet Sharma as president, international strategy, sales & IP development

ITW Consulting, a global sports commerce specialising in crafting and executing multi-faceted brand management solutions across sports, entertainment and media, has appointed Navneet Sharma as president international strategy sales and IP development w.e.f. from May 2018.

Television TV Channels Sports

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories