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Copyright Board slashes royalty rates; Radio industry still unhappy

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Copyright Board slashes royalty rates; Radio industry still unhappy

The measure was supposed to give relief to the radio industry of India, but the industry is feeling miserable and disappointed after receiving the copy of the new order. One of the two copyright societies of Government of India, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) has reduced the standard royalty rate of Rs.1, 500 per needle hour.

Under the revised rate structure by PPL, the new prime time broadcast rate for time periods that is from 8 am to 10 am, and 6 pm to 8 pm, has been reduced to Rs.1, 200 per needle hour. The rate for lean hours in the night (10pm to 6 am) has been reduced to 25% of the prime time rate that is Rs. 300 per hour. And the rate for normal hours in the daytime has been reduced to 60% of the prime time rate. But the radio industry feels, the new rates of PPL are still very high and nowhere near the expectations of the industry.

The radio industry had demanded Rs.160 standard rate per hour, which was about two times the rate charged by Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), the second copyright society of Government of India. The industry had also demanded for differential rates for different cities as the revenue potential of cities differ from each other. Sumantra Dutta, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Radio City, says, "We are unhappy with the new rates, they are still too high for the radio industry in India. We also asked for classification in terms of cities, which has not been considered." In May, 2001, four major private radio players, Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd, Entertainment Network (India) Ltd. Millennium Broadcast Pvt Ltd and Radio Mid Day West (India) Ltd., had filed a case on PPL, demanding lowering of the royalty rates.

As of now, the new reduced rate structure effective from November 2002, stands unchanged till the next meeting of the Copyright Board takes place. The next meeting is scheduled to be between September 2004 and October 2004.


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