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Regulatory news in the Indian M&E sector - EY - India

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Here is a list of some recent Television news in the M&E space.

Government in favor of increased FDI in broadcast sector

The Government of India proposes to raise the ceiling on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the broadcasting sector to 74% for all carriage services, including direct to home (DTH), internet protocol television (IPTV), mobile TV, headendin-the-sky (HITS) and teleport services. It plans to increase FDI up to 49% through the automatic route for all carriage services. Although news and current affairs TV channels will remain within the 26% FDI cap, in the case of local cable operators, it will go up to 49%. However, the automatic route will not be allowed in the case of content services such as uplinking, downlinking and FM radio. Since digitalization is a capital-intensive program, this will help to supplement capital requirements through foreign investments1.

Four leading MSOs in merger talks

Four major TV cable distribution companies in India — Digicable Networks (India) Pvt. Ltd., Hathway Cable and Data Com Pvt. Ltd., IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd. (InCable) and DEN Networks Ltd. — are in talks to merge their businesses and create a single cable network, prompted by consolidation moves in other parts of the industry.

Since a consensus on a formal structure may take time, these companies may enter a business alliance prior to the merger. One of the companies being considered for the alliance is Megamedia.

Efforts are also being made to get regional MSOs on board2.

RTL gets FIPB’s nod to invest in JV with RBNL

The European entertainment network, the RTL Group, has received approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for its proposed FDI of up to INR791.4 million in a JV with Reliance Broadcast Network (RBNL), through the latter’s subsidiary Big Showbiz Broadcast Ltd. Big Showbiz Broadcast and the RTL Group had applied for FDI approval for up to 50% of the post-issue share capital of Big Showbiz, which is currently engaged in uplinking and downlinking its non-news and current affairs TV channels3.

Walt Disney offers to buy out UTV’s remaining 49.56% stake and delist the company

Walt Disney Company plans to buy out the remaining 49.56% stake in UTV Software Communications (UTV) for INR20 million and delist the company. The Burbank, a California-based company, which owns 50.44% of UTV Software, seeks to buy out public shareholders at a price not exceeding INR1,000 per share. All the subsidiaries of UTV Software-UTV Motion Pictures, Indiagames and UTV Global Broadcasting will become part of Walt Disney’s Indian unit once the transaction is completed. Disney also plans to buy the 20% stake held by its promoter Rohinton Screwvala and his associates if it garners the required shares to delist the company. If UTV is delisted, Screwvala will cease to be its CMD and will become the MD of The Walt Disney Company India. Mahesh Samat, who currently manages Disney’s assets in India, will become COO and report to Screwvala4.

Asianet News Network acquires majority stake in Kannada Prabha

Asianet News Network (ANN) has acquired a 51% stake in Kannada Prabha, the New Indian Express Group’s daily Kannada newspaper, since it seeks to spread its footprint across television, internet and print media. ANN now owns Asianet News in Malayalam, Suvarna News in Kannada and a major part of Kannada Prabha. This alliance will leverage the synergy between two Kannada news brands, Kannada Prabha and Suvarna News 24×75.


1 “Govt wants FDI hike in broadcast sector: Jatua,” Indiantelevision, 10 August 2011, via Dow Jones Factiva © 2011

2 “Four leading cable firms in merger talks,” Mint, 16 July 2011, via Dow Jones Factiva © 2011 HT Media Limited.

3 “RTL gets FIPB nod to invest in JV with RBNL,” Indiantelevision, 21 July 2011; “Big Showbiz Broadcast gets FIPB nod for INR791.4 mn,” Indiantelevision, 20 July 2011, via Dow Jones Factiva © 2011

4 Walt Disney offers to buy out UTV’s rest 49.56% stake for INR2,000 cr,” The Economic Times, 27 July 2011, via Dow Jones Factiva © 2011 The Times of India Group.

5 “Asianet News Network acquires 51% stake in Kannada Prabha,” Indiantelevision, 19 July 2011, via Dow Jones Factiva © 2011

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