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
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.