Television

FM radio II: Adlabs sweeps stations in East India

NEW DELHI: The government’s financial FM radio juggernaut rolls on with the frequencies put up for sale in eastern part of India fetching it Rs. 207 million in one time licence fee and Adlabs bagging a major of the bids.

In a phased bidding for FM radio licences, the eastern region offered private players 66 frequencies across 17 cities. In all, 59 bids were received of which 48 qualified.

With this, 165 frequencies have been allotted against 206 available frequencies in the metros, north and eastern India. Bidding for the remaining 132 frequencies in 40 south and west Indian cities will be held over the next two Fridays.

After establishing its dominance in the FM radio space in North India, Anil Ambani-controlled Adlabs Films Ltd today made its presence felt in the country's eastern part, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported today.

Adlabs, which had bagged 26 licences so far, including seven in big cities, increased its presence to 41 cities by emerging among the top bidders in 15 new cities today.

Following Adlabs closely was Sun TV group's South Asia FM. The company, which won licences in around nine northern cities in the last round, won licences in 15 cities today.

Times Group's Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), already a major player in the private FM radio sector, bagged one licence in this round, cornering Patna for which it bid Rs 51 million, the highest bid amount in this round.

In today’s bidding, Patna received the highest bid amount of Rs 51 million. In fact, most of the players were bullish on Patna but failed to bag licence as Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL)'s Rs 51 million bid jacked up the reserve price, which is one-fourth of the highest bidder. Puran Multimedia (Rs 12 million) and Adlabs (Rs 12 million) both failed to make the cut.

Interestingly, many of the big players were conspicuous by their absence in this round. These include Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd (Radio City), Radio Mid-Day, Radio Today and HT Music and Entertainment, the PTI report said.

The government had put 66 FM stations on the block for today's bidding in West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and the entire north-eastern region. The cities included Patna, Asansol, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Agartala, Itanagar, Kohima, Shillong and Port Blair. But it sold 48 of the 66 stations, the PTI report said.

The bidding phase was started on January 6, 2006 when 13 A and A+ category cities went for the bidding.

Of the total 206 licences, the government has put on block so far, it has managed to sell 164 radio stations and is assured of revenues of about Rs 6,400 million, which it receives as one-time entry fee.

(Rs.44=1 US$)

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