One of the key takeaways from Modi government’s budget was the opening up of FDI in various sectors including Media and Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics.
Here are some of the reactions to the union budget from the Indian Media industry, whose opinions really matter.
Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India, said “This budget directionally augurs well for boosting long-term economic growth by focus shown on infrastructure improvements, strengthening benefits to MSME sector and investments on improved skill sets of human recourses. Steps taken to attract investments by relaxing FDI, FPI and NRI norms, coupled with boosting public sector banks and NBFC, will trigger the much-desired credit boost.
He further added, “Coming to the M&E industry, one will have to carefully look at the impact of allowing FDI in the media sector. We are happy as BARC India, for the impetus given to start-ups which will further propel efforts of the overall industry on innovation and digitization.”
Ashish Bhasin, CEO Greater South, Dentsu Aegis Network and Chairman & CEO India, said,“The Budget is certainly more inclusive and is focused towards providing a better lifestyle to the common man. From providing better access to toilets, better connectivity by roads and digitally, to promoting the ease of living, this year the budget actually showcases a lot of good stuff. The government’s decision to examine the opening up of foreign direct investment (FDI) in media is beneficial for the sector. However, some of the actions of the government do seem contradictory and a let-down. The expectations from a government coming with such a majority was that they would undertake substantial reforms, stimulate growth and cut tax rates. However, they have missed the opportunity to do so and have acted contradictorily by implementing surcharge on HNI individuals. Despite everything I expect the next 10 years to be very bright for India.”
Commenting on the Impact of this budget on the FM space, Nisha Narayanan, COO and Director, RED FM and Magic FM said, “Indian economy is all set to become a $3 trillion economy and the first Budget by the Modi government has introduced several benefits. Budget Proposes More Foreign Investment in Media, currently the 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 the transformation of the Indian economy into a digital economy with special focus on cash less transactions. We hope that in long run, we will be able to derive the benefits of the special initiatives and incentives announced by the Financial Minister for tax rebate on e-vehicles, push for affordable housing, increase in the turnover limit of 400 CR 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.”
Gautam Sinha, CEO – Times Internet said,“The government’s progressive steps in opening up FDI further in the media, tax benefits for corporate taxpayers and annual meet to get Industrialists, corporate leaders and venture funds on the same table would offer significant impetus to the private sector.”
“We are hopeful these measures along with efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc will trigger a virtuous cycle of investment & consumption that will catapult us towards becoming a $5 trillion economy.”
Karan Bedi, CEO – MX Player said, “The government’s steps in opening up FDI further in the media and entertainment sector would help boost media entrepreneurs as well as talent. MX Player’s growth strategy is based on creating premium original content for the larger Indian audience, and the expansion of Bharat Net would offer a great opportunity to OTT platforms like ours to reach a vibrant & diverse audience beyond the metros & tier I cities.”
Vivek Lath, Managing Director – GOQUEST Media Ventures, said, “The easing of Angel Tax is a very positive measure by the government. The Startup community is at the forefront of innovation in this country and across the world. Angel Tax was becoming a draconian issue and was stifling innovation at its stem. There is more investment chasing media and entertainment sector today than ever before. It is important we encourage this investment and not penalize the entrepreneurs and investors for contributing to the economy.”
Prashan Agarwal, CEO – Gaana said, “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 and businesses.”
Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO, Mirum India said “In the budget, the government has proposed an increase in FDI in the media industry and in AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics). India is an attractive and emerging market from a media and media services perspective. We also have a robust talent pool in animation, gaming, and visual graphics. Also media consumption in India in increasing. Thus an increase in FDI should see more global players enter the Indian market. This augurs well for this sector.
Overall the budget does not have any big or bold headlines. One sees a sense of caution. The government has stayed away from any big populist measure. There are minor reliefs in the form of a decrease in corporate tax for companies with a turnover between 250cr to 400cr and increase in tax exemption on interest paid towards housing loan. And minor increases in the form of super-rich tax and cess on petrol and diesel.
One senses that the government key priority right now is to fix the financial services sector (NPAs etc) and strengthen the basic economic framework”
Deepak Lamba, CEO, Worldwide Media Ltd said, “The current budget is well and truly encouraging. The opening up of FDI in the media and entertainment sector is a welcoming and promising initiative. This is a big step for content creators like us, for it now opens up a host of different avenues for the digital world. It’s a budget that the Digital Entertainment Industry will certainly benefit from this. The growth of India’s FDI inflows for 2018-19 was a resounding 6 percent increase compared to last year will have a positive impact for all players across sectors in the long run.”