Regulators

TRAI: 35 companies control 243 operational FM channels, seven control 169

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New Delhi: Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd holds the largest number of FM radio channels with 45 Big FM channels in various cities.

Figures released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as part of its consultation paper on ‘Issues related to Radio Audience Measurement and Ratings in India’ shows that seven companies hold the largest number of FM channels (169) of the 243 channels currently operational after Phase II.

Entertainment Network India Ltd through Radio Mirchi holds 36; South Asia FM Ltd through S FM has 23; Kal Radio Pvt. Ltd with S FM has 18; Music Broadcast Pvt. Ltd has 20 Radio City channels; D B Corp Ltd has 17 My FM channels; and BAG Information P Ltd runs ten Radio Dhamaal channels.A total of 28 companies run the remaining 74 FM channels in various parts of the country.

Radio broadcasting services were opened to private sector in 2000 when the Government auctioned 108 FM radio channels in the VHF band (88 –108 MHz) in 40 cities in Phase-I of FM Radio. Out of these, only 21 FM radio channels became operational and subsequently migrated to Phase-II in 2005. In Phase-II of FM Radio, a total of 337 channels were put on bid across 91 cities having population equal to or more than 300,000. Of 337 channels, 222 channels became operational. At present, 243 FM Radio channels are operational in 86 cities.

Phase-III auctions have begun to enable setting up of private FM Radio channels in all cities with a population of more than 100,000. As part of this Phase, auctions were done for 135 FM Radio channels in 69 cities where at least one channel of FM radio is already operational. Out of these, 91 FM Radio channels in 54 cities have been successfully auctioned.

A total of 831 more FM Radio channels will be put up for auction in 264 new cities under FM radio Phase-III in addition to remaining channels of 135 FM radio channels put for auction recently.

Terrestrial radio broadcasting which includes FM is a free-to-air service. A consumer can simply procure radio receiver equipment and tune into various radio channels available in that region. The business model of radio broadcasting service is based on advertisement revenue. Radio broadcasters are permitted to air commercials during their programme.

The revenue of radio broadcasting sector in 2014 was Rs 1720 crore, with a year-on year increase of 18 per cent from 2013 to 2014, driven by increasing popularity of radio in smaller towns and cities. The radio broadcasting sector revenues are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18 per cent to reach Rs. 3950 crore by 2019.

The total advertisement revenue of Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry was Rs. 41,400 crore in 2014, contributing approximately 31 per cent to the total M&E revenues. The advertisement revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5 per cent to reach Rs 81,600 crore by 2019. Presently television and print media sectors corner the maximum advertisement revenue (approximately 80 per cent of the total revenues) spend in India. Though the radio broadcasting sector presently accounted for only 4 per cent of total advertisement revenue in 20143, it is however expected to garner 5 per cent of the total advertisement revenues by 2019.

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