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On the Cusp of Takeoff

The Indian media and entertainment sector is poised to grow at a CAGR of 13.9 percent to reach an estimated Rs. 1,96,400 crore by 2019. FM Phase III radio expansion and ongoing cable digitization are the key drivers.

The FM radio sector is looking upward, with frequencies allocated for the first batch of private FM radio Phase III auction for 97 channels in 54 cities at a cumulative price of `1157 crore. FM channels will now proliferate in newer cities, covering close to 85 percent of the Indian territory. While radio operators are planning new stations and expanding their reach, vendors are gearing up to provide equipment and setting up the stations.

Phase III of cable TV transmission through digital addressable systems is at a critical juncture, with less than three months to reach the finish line. While the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is firm that there should be no extension, several issues for stakeholders remain. These include shortage, pricing, and sourcing of STBs; delay in registration by some MSOs/LMOs; channel pricing; and in some cases content not being provided by broadcasters to LCOs.

In line with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendation, the government is considering enhancement of FDI limits to 100 percent in broadcasting carriage services – cable TV, DTH, IPTV, mobile TV, HITS, and teleport. FDI to the level of 49 percent to be allowed on the automatic route and beyond 49 percent with prior approval of the FIPB. For TV content services, FDI limits for uplinking of news and current affairs, with prior approval of FIPB, may be enhanced to 49 percent, while maintaining the status quo for uplinking of non-news and downlinking of TV channels.

IBC2015 came to a close recently at the Amsterdam RAI. Clear winners were Virtualization and Software-Defined Videos; Immersive TV; Pay TV and IoT; Drones; and OTT. It will be interesting to see how the Indian broadcast industry warms up to these developments.

We invite our readers to visit us at the Broadcast & CableSat booth at Broadcast India, Mumbai.

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