With an eye to further liberalise radio broadcasting, the Indian government on Tuesday announced a slew of measures, including removing the 15 percent national cap on channel holding.
In this direction, the government has decided to remove the three-year window period for restructuring of FM radio permissions within the same management group during the license period of 15 years.
Though the 15 percent national cap has been removed, an official note posted on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s website stated “every applicant shall be allowed to run not more than 40 percent of the total channels in a city, subject to a minimum of three different operators in the city”.
However, if the 40 percent figure is a decimal, then it would be rounded off to the nearest whole number.
Further, with the simplification of financial eligibility norms in FM radio policy, an applicant company can now participate in bidding for ‘C’ and ‘D’ category cities with a net worth of just Rs.1 crore (Rs. 10 million) in place of Rs.1.5 crore earlier.
These amendments, the government stressed, will together help the private FM radio industry to fully leverage the economies of scale and pave the way for further expansion of FM radio and entertainment to tier-III cities in the country.
“This will not only create new employment opportunities, but also ensure that music and entertainment over the free to air radio media is available to the common man in the remotest corners of the country,” it said.
“To improve Ease of Doing Business in the country, the emphasis of the government has been on simplification and rationalization of the existing rules to make governance more efficient and effective so that its benefits reach the common man,” the official statement read.