Indian Broadcasting sector is a sunrise sector for the economy
making high growth strides. Indian media industry is on the cusp of
a strong phase of growth, backed by rising consumer demand and
improving advertising revenues. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
inflows in the Information and Broadcasting sector (including Print
Media) in the period April 2000 – March 2016 stood at US$
4.98 billion, as per data released by Department of Industrial
Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
The government has been steadily liberalising FDI framework for
this sector to move towards a digital addressable system because
the higher FDI permission would mean higher investments for
Press Note 5 of 2016 has significantly opened up the sector for
FDI and now up to 100% FDI is allowed in Teleports (setting up of
uplinking HUBs/ Teleports), DTH, Cable Networks (Multi System
Operators (MSOs) undertaking upgradation of networks towards
digitalization and addressability), Mobile TV, Headend-in the Sky
(HITS) and in Cable Networks comprising of other MSO's not
undertaking upgradation of networks towards digitalization and
addressability and Local Cable Operators.
FDI up to 49% by way of Government route is permitted in the
Broadcasting Content Services in case of Terrestrial Broadcasting
FM (FM radio) and in Up-linking of 'News and Current
affairs' TV channels.
FDI up to 100% under automatic route is permitted in Up-linking
of 'Non-News and Current Affairs' TV channels.
Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval however, is
required in situations where the license already exists in the
Company and it is going approval would however, be required in
situations where the license already exists in the Company and it
is going for either foreign investment resulting in change in the
ownership pattern, or where there is transfer of stake by existing
investor to a new foreign investor.
Some likely advantages of the FDI policy change
(i) employment generation in the broadcasting sector;
(ii) boosting forex reserves;
(iii) wider choice for Indian consumers in Carriage and Content
Additionally, FDI policy liberalisation will incentivise for
cable networks who have been bearing the brunt of the costs of
digitization as pushed by the government in the last few years.
Also, fully liberalizing the broadcasting sector has opened up a
lot of avenues for strategic investors from developed countries to
invest in Indian economy. Due to the major reforms in the policy,
the revenue from advertising is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13%
and expected to exceed Rs. 81,600 crore (US$ 12.09 billion) in 2019
from Rs 41,400 crore (US$ 6.17 billion) in 2015.
This could also result in expanding opportunities for
educational and cultural development. The increased FDI limit is
also likely to provide financial support to the news industry
(particularly broadcast news). Therefore, it may be a win -win
situation both for foreign investors and the Indian economy.
Research inputs by my colleague, Priya Nagpal.
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