FDI cap on cable will not be hiked to 74% as sector has 70,000 operators: Swarup

MUMBAI: While the government has decided to up the foreign direct investment cap on distribution platforms like DTH (direct-to-home) and HITS (Headend-In-The-Sky) to 74 per cent, the cable TV sector will have to stay content with its current limit of 49 per cent.

The government‘s logic: there are too many cable operators and it doesn‘t want foreign investors to gobble them up.


Replying to a query by Indiantelevision.com, information & broadcasting secretary Asha Swarup said, "There are 70,000 cable operators spread across the country. We don‘t want to lift the FDI cap on cable at this stage. Besides, even with 49 per cent being allowed, foreign investors are not exercising this limit to the full."

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), however, wants the cable TV sector to consolidate as a step up to attract investments. Digitalisation, the sector regulator feels, will pave the path to consolidation in the sector.

In order to push digitalisation, the government will come out with the HITS policy in a month‘s time. "We have looked at the Trai recommendations and are largely in agreement with it. We are looking at C-band for HITS," said Swarup.

The government will also come out with the IPTV policy. "We should have it by April-end," said Swarup.


On the content front, Swarup urged the industry to look at increasing the amount of children‘s content available. "Our children should not only have access to Tom and Jerry and Pogo," she said.

Swarup said it is a welcome sign that the broadcasters and advertisers are setting up a national TV ratings system. The government has been concerned with how TRPs are arrived at for sometime now, she explained.

On the price freeze issue, Swarup said that broadcasters should take this up with Trai.

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