FM players plead for lower entry fee

NEW DELHI: The radio group, the umbrella body of Indian FM companies, made a presentation today to the I&B minister RS Prasad seeking a five per cent revenue share, lower entry fee and a migration package for existing FM players.

They have also requested to set up a task foce with representation from the industry and the government which looks into the framing of industry friendly policy guidelines for the FM radio segment.

According to industry sources, Prasad is understood to have allayed the industry's fears and reportedly conveyed to members of the radio group that he would consult the law ministry in this regard.

Speaking earlier in the day on the sidelines of a media briefing announcing the launch of Radio City in the capital, Star India's radio division COO Sumantra Dutta had told the industry was hoping the government would evolve more industry-friendly guidelines.

"I am sure the government will understand our plight and evolve a mechanism like revenue sharing or a flat fee in the near future, even while coming up with a migration package for the existing FM radio players, like that done in the telecom sector," Dutta had said.

Though Dutta refused to hold forth on the financial details, but according to government data, submitted by the private FM players, the combined loss of the players in the last financial year was to the tune of Rs 1.2 billion. Where Radio City is concerned, it's losses amounted to approximately Rs 360 million with the revenue generated last year being around Rs 190 million. But it is also true that a major part of this loss, about Rs 240 million, was in the form of high license fee that MBPL paid as the first round of licences were given two years back through an open auction.

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