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Broadcast Sector Reform: FDI Up To 74% To Be Allowed

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In a major decision to liberalise the broadcast sector, the government on 14 September decided to raise FDI cap to 74 per cent in various services of the sector, except the TV news channels and FM radio where the cap of 26 per cent will apply.

The decision of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) will apply to broadcast carriage services providers, including Direct-to-Home, Head-end in the Sky (HITS), Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) and cable TV to bring about uniformity.

Till now, 49 per cent FDI was allowed in cable TV and DTH while it is 74 per cent in HITS.

HITS is a satellite multiplex service that provides TV channels for cable operations.

Among other segments, 74 per cent FDI was allowed in Mobile TV, which is an area of future growth.

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Briefing mediapersons after the meeting, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said of the 74 per cent, 49 per cent will be through automatic route while the rest will be allowed through government route, implying Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance.

However, for TV news channels, current affairs, FM radio and content providers, the FDI limit will stay at 26 per cent.

India is estimated to have about 106 million households with cable and satellite TVs in India, of which 26 million use DTH and 80 million get feed from the cable network.