The government announced an increase in the FDI limit (foreign direct investment) of news and current affair channels, DTH and Cable Operators. The government announced that foreign investment will be relaxed in 15 sectors. While 100% FDI has been allowed in DTH and Cable Networks (MSOs and LCOs), the foreign investment in the uplinking of news and current affairs TV channels has been raised to 49% from 26% earlier.
Commenting on the move, Kartikeya Sharma, MD, ITV Network said, “I welcome this move from the government and appreciate this. The industry is going through a tough phase and this move will definitely help in operating in media space.”
Sharma also praised the automatic route that has been initiated by the government. “It’ll help in the entire domain such as news, non news, radio or DTH. He said, it is the right step in right direction, they should have done it long time ago but now they have done it and I am happy,” he added.
Punit Goenka, MD and CEO of ZEEL said, “As long as the control lies with the Indian counterpart and the editors are of Indian nationality there is no problem. It’ll help in funding as well. Goenka also highlighted one important point why government has not cleared FDI in print. I don’t understand why are they distinguishing between print and broadcasting and not treating both at par.”
The government has also raised the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)’s monetary limit to Rs.5,000 crore from Rs.3,000 crore for the approving of FDI proposals.
All the leading broadcasters are in favour of FDI in news media. In an earlier interaction with exchange4media last month, Executive Vice Chairperson, NDTV Group, KVL Narayan Rao, DD Purkayastha and Anurradha Prasad expressed their support for hike in FDI limit.
Narayan Rao said he only see benefits with FDI coming. He said, I have always supported an FDI increase in news media to 49%. It will help news broadcasters get funding that is most necessary at this moment. And yet, all stipulations of the uplinking guidelines, largest Indian shareholder owning 51%, editor being an Indian etc, can continue to be followed. Most importantly, there will be Indian editorial control. So where is the problem? I only see benefits.”
Agreeing with Rao, Anurradha Agarwal, Chairperson and MD, BAG Network also welcomed the move she said, “We are only hearing about this, its welcome move I think govt should do it.”
DD Purkayastha, MD& CEO of ABP Group said, “Regarding higher FDI in news ABP has always be in favour and our stand continues.”