The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its recommendations on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limits and approval routes thereof in various segments of the broadcasting sector in India.
These recommendations broadly pertain to three segments of the broadcasting sector – viz. broadcast carriage services, television content services and FM radio services.
TRAI has recommended enhancement to 100 per cent in FDI limit for broadcast carriage services. The regulatory has recommended increasing FDI limit for uplinking of news and current affairs TV channels and FM radio services to 49 per cent.
It has also been recommended that the FIPB approval process be streamlined and made time-bound.
Reacting to the development, Prashant Panday, CEO, Radio Mirchi said, “It’s a good move, considering there will be a huge requirement for capital in the FM sector with Phase III, renewal of Phase II licenses and more frequencies being released under the 400 KHz plan. We wish FDI up to 49 per cent was allowed via the automatic route, but it has been placed under the FIPB route.”
Terming TRAI’s recommendations as a positive development, Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD & CEO, Radio One stressed, “The real need for the industry is extension of licenses expiring in 2014-15. The Government is moving very slow on FM radio and is killing its buoyancy.”
A summary of the recommendations vis-a-vis existing limits/ approval route has been tabulated as under:
These recommendations have been released in pursuance to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s (MIB) letter dated July 12, 2013 to TRAI, seeking its recommendations on the subject. In its communication to TRAI (MIB seeks TRAI & PCI's views on FDI cap in b’casting & print media), MIB has sought comments regarding the paper prepared by the Ministry of Finance relating to revision in existing FDI caps in the broadcasting sector.
With additional inputs from Saloni Surti