| 18 Apr 2024
Rajyavardhan Rathore hopes to have one or multiple FM stations in 800-900 cities

MUMBAI: On the first day of FICCI Frames 2015, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry Additional Secretary, J S Mathur revealed that there will be 1000 odd channels across the length and breadth of the country. Adding to this, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore on the last day of FICCI stated that 800-900 cities will have one or multiple FM stations, which will probably happen within two years.

As of now, 243 private FM channels are in operation in 86 cities of the country, spanning 26 States and 3 Union Territories. In the first batch of Phase III FM auctions there will be 135 stations added in 69 cities, which already have FM channels. But once, the complete auctions take place there will be 839 FM channels in 294 cities. The auction is expected to commence before the end of the present fiscal, but will continue over the next three years.

During the valedictory address, ‘Making India the entertainment Superpower: Innovating for an entertainment ecosystem’, Rathore said, “We are working hard to improve our media units. The PM himself has been able to popularise the radio and it has been expanding by leaps and bounds. We are about to launch Phase III auctions.” He further added that the number of stations will move to many more. “Perhaps within two years’ time, we will have 800-900 cities having FM stations or multiple FM stations.”

Rathore also stressed on the fact that 92 per cent of the country is covered by Radio. He was optimistic of the fact that India can be the superpower of Media and Entertainment understanding the rate at which the Indian M&E industry is growing, and the partnerships and alliance being signed by various countries with India.

Rathore maintained that the Government is willing to help, which will only be possible if the industry comes forward to interact and he continued to praise the media. “Now is the time to use the fundamental resource to the best of its ability,” expressed Rathore. “You have the ability to reach out to every world citizen and you (media) appeal to their heart. You being the ambassadors of the country it is extremely critical for us and we would like to make things stronger”

It was followed by Disney India MD Siddharth Roy Kapur commenting that more than 90 per cent of the content and revenue in India and US comes from local content.

Roy added that India is among the top ten media countries in the world, with a target of double digit growth for the next five years. But he said that there are miles to go, in terms of money spent on entertainment, which is much lower as compared to markets like the US.

Rathore pointed out that the reason the industry has not flourished in the way it should have, like other regions, is because they are working in different directions. “It is working on different levels.” Countries like US and China have been able to focus in one direction, which is why it is important that the industry connects with the Government, emphasised Rathore.

When asked to comment on the Copyright Act and starting copyright societies, Rathore said that it would require the industry to interact and put down their comments and views so that the Government can amend and implement things.

Roy concluded the evening saying, “We have more looking in the mirror to do as an industry. The more help we get from the government the easier it will be to become the superpower of the next century.”