FM radio: Govt. may opt for partial sops

NEW DELHI: Information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is likely to agree to partial sops for private players in the FM radio sector, though he is yet to make up his mind fully on a suggestion by the regulator that the annual licence fee may be deferred till a final view on amendments suggested in the existing policy is taken.

According to government sources, the file was sent to Prasad last week only when he was touring Bihar as part of election duty after I&B ministry secretary Pawan Chopra, as reported by earlier, made a noting on the file concerned.

Chopra had stated that acceding to the sector regulators suggestion would not be feasible at this point of time because of the impending general elections as also the fact that it would mean getting a clearance from the Union Cabinet too.

The sources also indicated that the government can over-rule the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (the sheriff for the broadcast and cable sector) and even the I&B ministry secretarys views. "What needs to be seen is how much political importance does Prasad give to the two viewpoints," an I&B ministry source indicated.

Trai, in an interim measure, had suggested that since its looking into the issue of FM radio broadcasting and the amendments suggested in the guidelines, the government may direct private FM radio players to defer payment of annual licence fee that becomes payable this month-end.

However, government sources also said that some private FM players, especially powerful media companies, have made a representation to the I&B ministry and others in the government, including the Prime Minister, that their licence fee payment may be deferred as Trai is deliberating on the amendments suggested by an expert committee, headed by Dr Amit Mitra.

Soon after such a representation, Trai also came out with a
consultation paper on FM radio seeking opinion from various stakeholders of the industry.

What are the options that Prasad or the government has? Come to think of it, there is more than one of them.

Option 1: Prasad too agrees with I&B ministry secretary Pawan Chopra's line of argument and strikes down the regulator's proposal on deferring the licence fee payment.

Likely Outcome: The private FM radio players would have to shell out a hefty license fee as some of them have licences in more than one city. Especially at a time when most media companies have been investing in their infrastructure with an eye to sharpen their election coverage too.

(The annual license fees, when most of the private FM radio stations started few years back, varied from metro to metro with an in-built clause for a 15 per cent increase every year. The highest fee was Mumbai at Rs 115 million followed by Delhi at 750 million, Lucknow at Rs 70 million and Chennai
at Rs 35 million. Kolkata was the lowest at Rs 10 million.)

Option 2: Prasad uses his discretion and throws up a suggestion that since the new government is likely to be in place by May, the FM radio companies should pay an amount calculated roughly for a month's time.

Likely Outcome: Better than having to pay millions of rupees and then seek refunds from the government - always a difficult proposition - and adjustments. Seems like a good compromise formula.

Option 3: Prasad just forgets about the whole issue citing a busy election schedule.

Likely Outcome: This would be an ideal situation for the licencees, but not so for the government. It could become the butt of criticisms from the Opposition parties, especially the Congress that is now attempting to pull out as many controversial decisions relating to the government as possible.

Latest Reads
Know your karma on IBN7 with 'Karm Path'

In an attempt to give its viewers a refreshing start of the day, IBN7 is launching a new show titled Karm Path. Starting 27 October, the show will predict what the day holds. The show is a differentiator in its own genre as it connotes the supremacy of deeds over destiny.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Big Ganga available on Tata Sky now

Big Ganga has strengthened its distribution with DTH service provider Tata Sky.

Television TV Channels Regional
TV is story-teller's new novel; audience is Bharat, not India: Star's Banerjee

MUMBAI: Since five to six years, television has become the talking point. Th series such as 'Breaking Bad' to Transparent to Narcos to 'Game of Thrones' to 24, and now POW (Prisoners of Wars) has changed the experience of television viewing.

Television TV Channels GECs
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
Saregama returns to film music acquisition with Pen pact

Saregama India has inked a two-movie deal with Pen Movies. With this agreement, Saregama has acquired the music rights of upcoming Bollywood releases of Pen which includes Kahaani 2 -- Durga Rani Singh, featuring Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal.Kahaani 2 is slated for a release on 2 December.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Q2-17: Zeel numbers, PAT up on higher Ad and Subscription revenue

The Subhash Chandra led content and broadcast player Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a 23 per cent hike in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Television TV Channels GECs
Best Deal TV appoints Hari Trivedi as COO

MUMBAI: Best Deal TV has appointed Hari Trivedi as the chief operating officer with immediate effect. Based in Mumbai, Trivedi will be responsible for overall sales and marketing. He would also be initializing lowest price offers and deals on Best Deal TV.

Television TV Channels People
Disney announces successor of MD Siddharth Roy-Kapur

MUMBAI: Walt Disney International has announced the successor to its former managing director Siddharth Roy-Kapur. As a second stint with the organization, Mahesh Samat has made a comeback and will lead The Walt Disney Company India as the managing director. He will pursue his new responsibility...

Television TV Channels People

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories