New Delhi : According to the applicants’ ownership details released by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 16th August, the Second Batch of Phase III FM auction has got 14 eligible applicants when compared to 28 in the First batch of the auction.
It may be noted that many of the manor FM operators like Reliance Broadcast Network (Big FM), Jagran Group (Radio City), DB Corp (My FM) and HT Media (Fever FM) are missing from the list of applicants.
The Poor response in Second Batch of Phase III FM auction was in line with the predictions by many industry experts . The first batch auction, that took place around this time last year has brought in revenues close to Rs 1,160 crore to the exchequer.
The Second batch of the Phase III auction has 266 frequencies up for grabs across 92 towns and cities. These include 227 fresh frequencies in 69 FM radio dark cities/towns, while the rest are leftover frequencies from first batch.
The highest spenders were Entertainment Network India Ltd. (ENIL) and HT Media. They both had spent close to Rs 340 crore against acquiring frequencies in metros and mini metros. HT Media picked up the most expensive frequency at Rs 169.16 crore for the lone one available in Delhi and spent Rs 122.81 crore for one of the two frequencies available in Mumbai.
ENIL has shelled out Rs 109.25 crore for the sole frequency in Bengaluru. While HT Media bid for a total of 10 frequencies, ENIL bought 18, including two in Hyderabad for Rs 18 crore each, While RBNL acquired 14 new stations to its existing 45 station network focusing on key cities such as Pune, Nagpur, Lucknow, Patna, Varanasi and Kolhapur, among others in First Batch. It spent Rs 117 crore on these acquisitions. Jagaran Prakashan, through its acquired entity Music Broadcast Limited, paid Rs 62.5 crore for 14 frequencies.
The second batch of auctions did not find many enthusiastic participants because of the high reserve prices, lock-in period and ownership cap issues. Despite the appeal from the Industry body Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI) to the Ministry regarding these issues, the government didn’t make any changes in the policy and due to this many of the players have restrained from participating in the auction.