Ra­dio Mirchi Buys 21 Fre­quen­cies in Lat­est FM Auc­tions

New fre­quen­cies may go live by the end of FY18, in­crease co’s foot­print to 64 cities

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Our Bureau

Mum­bai: Ra­dio Mirchi, In­dia’s lead­ing pri­vate FM brand housed un­der En­ter­tain­ment Net­work In­dia (ENIL), bought 21 ra­dio fre­quen­cies un­der the sec­ond batch of the Phase III of FM ra­dio auc­tions.

ENIL, a part of the Times Group that pub­lishes The Eco­nomic Times, spent a to­tal of ₹ 51.3 crore to ac­quire the new fre­quen­cies in cities like Akola, Am­ra­vati, Asan­sol, Bharuch, Bhav­na­gar, Durg, Jam­na­gar, Jhansi, Ju­na­garh, My­suru, Puducherry, Silig­uri, Uj­jain and Waran­gal.

These fre­quen­cies are ex­pected to be­come op­er­a­tional to­wards the end of 2017-18, and will in­crease the com­pany’s foot­prints to 64 cities from 43 at present.

Prashant Pan­day, CEO of ENIL, said: “We are very ex­cited with the re­sults of the sec­ond batch of auc­tions. Our 21 new cities give us depth in the most vi­brant ra­dio mar­kets in the coun­try. With this ex­pan­sion, we’ll have 74 fre­quen­cies in 64 cities. We look for­ward to ex­pand­ing more in the fu­ture. How­ever, only if the gov­ern­ment amends the pol­icy and makes the smaller sta­tions vi­able.”

Auc­tions for batch II of the third phase were con­ducted be­tween Oc­to­ber 26 and De­cem­ber 14, last year. While 266 fre­quen­cies in 92 cities were up for grabs, only 66 in 48 cities got tak­ers. The gov­ern­ment earned ₹ 202 crore from the sec­ond batch, com­pared with ₹ 1,160 crore in the first round last year.

The sec­ond batch also had fewer par­tic­i­pants: 14, com­pared with 28 in the first batch. Some big play­ers, in­clud­ing DB Corp, HT Me­dia, Reliance Broad­cast Net­work and Ja­gran Prakashan-owned Mu­sic Broad­cast, did not par­tic­i­pate in the lat­est round. Among other play­ers who took part in­cluded South Asia FM and Kal Ra­dio (owned by Sun TV), Malay­ala Manorama, Mathrub­humi Print­ing & Pub­lish­ing, Samb­haav Me­dia, Malar Pub­li­ca­tions and Usho­daya En­ter­prises.

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