| 17 Jun 2024
Budget 2019: FM proposes liberalisation of FDI for media industry

MUMBAI: “An up-splurge was been observed in 2018-19 when India’s FDI investments grew by six per cent to USD 64.37 billion,” stated union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Budget speech 2019, while proposing to boost FDI investments in media, AVGC and aviation sectors.

She announced, “I propose to further consolidate the gains in order to make India more attractive FDI destination. The government will examine suggestions of further opening up of FDI in aviation, media, AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Gaming, and Comics) and insurance sector in consultation with stakeholders.”

RED FM and Magic FM COO and director Nisha Narayanan said, “Indian economy is all set to become a $3 trillion economy and the first Budget by the Modi government has introduced several benefits. It proposes more foreign investment in media. Currently, FDI stands at 49% for the private FM radio industry, which we now hope will be opened up to 100% like DTH and Entertainment. Liberalization of same will also majorly help in private FM station to reach the current media dark cities in India and adapt new era digital technologies and best practices being followed globally.”

“The budget facilitates transformation of the Indian economy into a digital economy with special focus on cashless transactions. We hope that in long run, we will be able to derive benefits of the special initiatives and incentives announced by the finance minister like tax rebate on e-vehicles, push for affordable housing, increase in the turnover limit of 400 crore for companies to fall in the tax bracket of 25%. Additional deduction benefit on home loans focus on empowering women and announcing infrastructure push for railways, highways, and education will also be beneficial for the radio sector,” she further added.

Gaana CEO Prashan Agarwal also commented, “With this budget, we are particularly excited about the potential of Bharat Net in facilitating free access to digital-first services like governance, education, banking and entertainment across rural India. As every panchayat in the country gets internet connectivity, it will make way for an entire generation of digitally literate citizens who live better lives and create a vibrant market for internet entrepreneurs & businesses.”

Hungama Digital Media COO Siddhartha Roy said, “India is steadily becoming a digital powerhouse with businesses increasingly relying on AI, ML and Big Data to make operations easier and more reliable. The coming years will see an increased demand for personnel trained in these technologies. The government’s plans to work towards improving the youth’s skills in AI, Big Data and Robotics is a welcome move and will make our workforce relevant, lucrative and more employable. Further, the government’s decision to consider easing FDI in media and animation will help with the growth of the media and entertainment sector in the country.”

104.8 Ishq operations national head Shivangini Jajoria also said, "The Media and entertainment industry (M&E) has been an aspirational sector for the youth owing to the platform it provides them to think and create original content, and also for the large number of jobs that it creates. The increase of digitalization in the country, along with the private radio industry witnessing tremendous growth with increasing access to music streaming and tuning in the preferable frequency, further enhancing its accessibility to tier II and tier III markets. With the number of platforms having increased across the medium for entertainment, we will witness audience segmentation and growth in revenue in the near future."  

Prior to the announcement of the budget, biggies from the media sector had shared their pre-budget expectations with a leading media portal. Reduction in GST tax was a major expectation cited by most of them.

RED FM Network COO B Surendar had shared that media industry expected issues related to investment, tax and content security to be addressed on priority.