Govt likely to okay FDI in FM on par with print, allow news broadcast

NEW DELHI: The government is likely to accept a recommendation of an expert committee that private radio FM ventures can attract foreign investment - a la print and electronic media - and that news should also be allowed to broadcast.

However, the government is still undecided on whether to allow the existing and future FM radio ventures, the benefit of networking.

Networking or chain broadcasts means simultaneous transmission of programmes by various broadcast stations (transmitters).

Sources from the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry today told that the ministry would wait for some more time to get feedback, before preparing a note on important recommendations 

for the Cabinet to take a final view.

"Still, going by the trend in the other segments of the media, especially where foreign equity norms are concerned, private FM radio ventures ought not to be made exceptions," a source explained, adding that the government would like to put in enough safeguards to see that no company gets a chance to make a mockery of the laws. This was a trend witnessed earlier this year, when the news channels uplinking from India were allowed to bring in 26 per cent foreign equity.

At the moment, only foreign financial institutions are allowed to make portfolio investments in FM radio ventures as per the Reserve Bank of India specifications.

A government-initiated panel, headed by Ficci's secretary-general , Dr Amit Mitra, in its report submitted earlier this year, had suggested allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 26 per cent in FM broadcasting (news as well as entertainment).

"While calculating the 26 per cent limit on FDI, the foreign holding component, if any, in the equity of the Indian shareholder companies of the licensee should be duly factored in on a pro-rata basis to determine the total foreign holding in the licensee," the panel had observed, adding, "The equity held by the largest Indian shareholder group should be at least 51 per cent of the equity, excluding that held by public sector banks and public 

financial institutions."

As far as allowing news and current affairs programming on FM radio, apart from All India Radio, is concerned, ministry sources hinted that barring private players from this "doesn't really serve" any purpose as the sources of news and current affairs for an average Indian has increased, ranging from various modes of TV transmissions to Internet to newspapers.

The very fact that the ministry would take certain recommendations to the Cabinet is indicative that the government is positive on further opening up the FM radio field to make it more investor-friendly, even while giving the 

listener more choice.

But one thing the government is not clear about, according to the source, is whether to agree to the FM radio panel's recommendations on allowing networking for private FM radio players. The ministry is worried if it would lead to less choice for listeners due to same programming being repeated at various centres.

Licensees in phase one are not permitted to network, except on important occasions with the prior permission of the government.

Pointing out that market mechanism would ensure differentiation of content, while making a strong case for allowing networking, the Mitra panel had said, "Networking can significantly reduce the capital expenditure and operating expenditure of a broadcast station (especially in small cities)."

As a precautionary measure, the panel had stated that networking may be permitted during the opening of the second phase only amongst the broadcast stations of the same entity and not across the licensees. Furthermore, networking should not be permitted in the same city, the panel said.

Latest Reads
Sunny Leone in Discovery JEET’s show Man Vs Wild

Sunny Leone will be displaying her adventurous side as host of the mega-popular survival series Man Vs. Wild. The iconic series will telecast in Hindi on the soon-to-be-launched GEC Discovery JEET. The new GEC will premiere in the second week of February 2018 and the series will feature the...

Television TV Channels GECs
Times Now appoints Sujeet Mishra as marketing head

Times Network, part of India’s media conglomerate, The Times Group today announced the appointment of Sujeet Mishra as head of marketing, Times Now.

Television TV Channels People
Experience space with BBC's new VR experience

The BBC is giving you a chance fly. Home - A VR Spacewalk is an interactive virtual reality (VR) experience launched today for the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, and is available to download for free via the Steam Store and the Oculus Store.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Sony BBC Earth presents the Best of 2017

Sony BBC Earth revisits some of its most popular episodes of the best shows in a special programming line-up titled Best of 2017 starting 18 December 2017, every night at 7 pm and 11 pm.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Increased revenue from traditional media boosts Shemaroo numbers

Integrated media content house Shemaroo Entertainment Limited (Shemaroo) reported 18.3 percent higher year-on-year (y-o-y) consolidated total revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2017 (Q2 FY 2017-18, the quarter under review) stood at Rs 1,345.7 million as compared with Rs 1,138.6 million in...

Television Production House Film Production
21st CF spins-off into new live news & sports co Fox

MUMBAI: After the blockbuster acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company, the former has announced that it will spinoff into a new brand Fox’ that will seek to replicate its own success in the newly focussed verticals of live news and sports brands. Using fiscal 2017 as a base, the...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
With Star India, Disney emerges as India's largest M&E firm

MUMBAI: Unlike the US, where the merger of The Walt Disney Co and 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets is between two near equals, the scenario in India is totally different. 21st Century Fox’s India venture Star India is a $1.7 billion dollar media and entertainment behemoth while Disney India...

Television TV Channels People
Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion

The Walt Disney Co has set up a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal to acquire 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
MOVIES NOW brings #StopDreamingAndStartWinning with 100 Mania Season 5 for its viewers

Movies Now, India’s english movie channel, rings in the festive season with its property ‘100 Mania’, beginning Friday, 15 December at 9pm. In its 5th season, the channel has curated a line-up of some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Furious 7, Jurassic World, Disney’s The Jungle Book,...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories