The penultimate round of bidding for FM radio Phase II expansion in Western India spread across five states and one Union Territory saw the rising of a new star in the horizon, the Sun-group owned South Asia FM, which bagged 18 frequencies out of the 21 it had bid for.
At the end of the fourth round of bidding, Sun Group has 56 frequencies in its kitty, including the already four operating stations, though it has to leave a good number of that because of the maximum ‘15 per cent’ restriction.
Adlabs, which has been another very aggressive player so far, bid more cautiously this time, winning eight frequencies out of 14 it had bid for. And as usual, Rajesh Sawhney, President, Reliance Entertainment, had his figures ready, “ We won eight frequencies for just Rs 16.5 crore. We bid cautiously because of the limit on the number of frequencies we can hold. But we are very happy because we have won in all the important cities.”
Times Group owned Radio Mirchi (ENIL) was active once again after being dormant in the Northern and Eastern zones and won in all the nine cities it had bid for. Another rather inactive player, Radio City (MBPL), also jumped into the fray this time and grabbed seven frequencies out of the 11 it had bid for.
Bhaskar promoted Synergy also won six stations out of eight. Other key players were BAG Info, which won four frequencies out of 12, Pan India, which won three frequencies out of 11, and Century Communication, which won two frequencies out of 15 it had bid for.
Speaking about Radio City’s strategy behind the bidding, its CEO, Apurva Purohit, said, “Radio City has strengthened its network in the Western region by bagging seven more licenses. The bidding was done very strategically, keeping in mind the long-term sustainability and revenue generation potential in these markets.”
On the bidding process on January 27, BAG Films’ Director, New Media, Rajiv Mishra, said, “Except in a few cities where the bidding seemed a bit exorbitant, the overall bidding process in the Western region was quite competitive. It was not irrational as in the A+ and A category cities.”
The government garnered revenues of Rs 87.15 crore as One Time Entry Fee (OTEF) from the Western region. Friday’s bidding saw Adlabs as the highest bidder with a bid amount of Rs 5.21 crore for Indore.
So far, 227 frequencies have been allotted against the 274 available frequencies, thus leaving 47 frequencies vacant. Interestingly, Western India saw the least number of unoccupied frequencies (six), whereas even in the A+ and A category cities 10 frequencies remained vacant. Out of the 68 frequencies up for bid, 62 were allotted on January 27.
The last round of bidding for the remaining 64 frequencies in 19 B, C and D category cities in South India will be held on February 3, 2006, ending the month-long exercise.