Television

FM radio Round 2: Govt. to get richer by Rs 11 billion

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NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: The government is set to collect approximately Rs 11.34 billion in licence fee from the second round of FM radio licensing. This is inclusive of Rs 2.27 billion in migration fee from existing players.

At today's last round of bidding for the South India zone, the government collected Rs 1.77 billion as licence fee from successful bidders.

In 19 cities of five South Indian states, 64 frequencies were up for grabs. Of these, 53 bids prima facie qualified.

Of the frequencies auctioned today, 17 are in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while 15 are for five cities in Andhra Pradesh, 12 in three Karnataka cities and three in Pondicherry.

Anil Ambani's Adlabs, Sun Group (through Kal and South Asia FM), Radio Mirchi, Synergy Media (Bhaskar group) and Radio City have emerged as major players till now.

Media Broadcast Private Ltd, which manages the brand Radio City won bids in Coimbatore and Vizag. The company will pay the migration fee amounting to Rs 7.2 million for its four existing stations of Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Lucknow.

According to rough estimates, Adlabs is likely to end up spending approximately Rs 1.5-1.6 billion after surrendering some licences as their total claim has gone up way above the 15 per cent national cap on FM radio licences.

ENIL, which manages Radio Mirchi, bagged licences in six cities of Coimbatore, Madurai, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Vijaywada and Visakhapatnam. With the entry in the six Southern cities, Radio Mirchis presence extends to almost all the major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune.

According to a spokesperson for Radio Mirchi, the company has bagged 32 licences till now and will be spending approximately Rs 1.3 billion as one time licence fee in the second phase of FM radio. The migration fee amount
will be Rs 820 millions for the seven cities, in which they are operational.

As for the Sun Group, a company source today said that the southern media powerhouse might end up investing nearly Rs 2 billion towards FM licence fees. Kal and South Asia FM together have, however, to give up some stations to adhere to the national cap of 15 per cent as they have bagged over 65 frequencies.

Century Communications Ltd bagged in six towns, including Gulbarga, Mangalore, Rajamundry, Tirunelveli, Warangal and Tuticorin amounting to approximately Rs 35 million.

The government had put up for sale 338 frequencies in 91 cities in the second round of radio FM licensing. Out of the total frequencies under hammer, 279 have been sold till now.

Another round of bidding is likely to take place for those frequencies that would be given up by the leaders topping the national cap of 15 per cent. A decision on that issue will be taken later by the government.

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