| 01 Feb 2023
Phase III: Construction, coal and media companies eye expansion to radio industry

MUMBAI: The Phase III expansion will be an opportunity for not just existing players, but for potential players who are eyeing to contribute to the Rs 22.3 billion radio market, as per the predication for 2016.  Along with adding stations in new and existing cities, the expansion will also add variety to on-air programming.

According to the statement issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) recently, there are a total of 28 applicants who have applied for the e-auction of 135 Private FM Radio channels for the first batch of the Phase III expansion plan. It is natural for big players to want to expand, but for the first time players like Abhijit Realtors & Infraventures Pvt Ltd and Sarthak films Pvt. Ltd. it is a new path of diversification.

For real estate builders and construction company- Abhijit Realtors & Infraventures Pvt. Ltd., this seemed “an apt path of diversification,” said a source working with the company. The firm has hired a consultant for this task. According to the details submitted by the company to MIB, it has three main promoters/shareholders who are based in Nagpur, as is the company. Abhijit Majumdar holds a major share of a little over 87 per cent, followed by Joydebkumar and Inu Majumdar. As per the audit carried out on the company, its net worth is Rs 1,583.35 lakh. Sources also informed that the company is looking at expanding in Nagpur, Bilaspur and Akola.

Jaipur-based Nirmal Sagar Buildcon Pvt. Ltd. is trying to diversify into the radio business as well. One of the company’s directors- Divya Dutt Agarwal said, “We wanted to explore something new and we thought why not explore radio businesses. If we are selected, we will only bid for one radio station that is based in Jaipur.” The net worth of Nirmal Sagar Buildcon Private Limited is Rs 276 lakh, as per the submission made to the MIB.

Meanwhile, Odisha-based Sarthak films Pvt. Ltd., which has a TV channel, film production company and a music business under the name Sarthak Music Private Ltd, is hoping to further strengthen its reach in Odisha through two stations, one each in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.Sarthak TV DGM Amit Pani informed that the company has a huge Odia music catalogue which is not been pushed across any radio stations in the region. “We have a list of terms and conditions when it comes to sharing our content. We have not permitted any channel to use music produced under our banner, thus, we enjoy exclusivity of our content. We hope to use that content on our radio stations,” said Pani. The promoters of the company are Sitaram Agarwalla and his wife Namita Agarwal and the net worth of the company is Rs 135 lakhs.

Pratidin FM Private Limited, which is part of the Northeast-based Pratidin Group, was recently registered to run the radio business. Rishi Baruah, one of the promoters of Pratidin FM Pvt. Ltd. said, “We have been in the media business for a very long time. We run print, outdoor, digital and TV business, and radio was the only leg required to become a 360 degree media house. Thus, we decided to participate in the auctions.” The company’s net worth is little over Rs 116 Lakh.

Baruah also added that the company was not ready during Phase II even though they were looking at expansion then. He stressed, “It is dream come true for any media company to be present across various sectors in the media business.” However, he did not reveal the region he plans to expand into, which is most likely to be North-eastern region.

Pratidin Group’s competition- Odisha Television Limited, on the other hand, is very open about the space it plans to expand into. Prag AM Television chairman and managing director Sanjiv Narain said, “We are looking at bidding for Guwahati as expanding in North-east sync’s well with our existing medium.” Odisha Television Limited’s net worth is Rs 4,610 lakh and has two major shareholders- Baijayant Panda and Jagi Mangat Panda.

Other companies looking at diversification include Embassy Nirman Pvt. Ltd., Remi Overseas Pvt. Ltd. and Sunplant broadcasting Pvt. Ltd., amongst others. Some of the big players in the auction list include The Mathrubhumi Printing & Publishing Co. Ltd., DB Corp Ltd., Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd., Entertainment Network (India) Ltd., HT Media Limited, South Asia FM Limited, Sun TV Network Ltd., Digital Radio (Mumbai) Broadcasting Ltd., Pudhari Publications Pvt. Ltd. and Kal Radio Ltd.

Through the applications, the Ministry received Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) of about Rs 316.91 crores.