Friday, February 03, 2006

Sun TV network emerges biggest FM radio bidder in South India.

After completion of the five-leg financial bidding process for the 337 frequencies in second phase of expansion of private FM radio, Sun TV network emerged as the single largest group claiming 67 frequencies at an estimated investment of over Rs 80 crore.

The government has managed to raise Rs 906 crore by way of one time entry fee (OTEF) from 280 stations being allotted against 337 available frequencies.

The bidding on Friday took place for 64 frequencies in 19 cities of the southern zone and resulted in a record collection of Rs 177.56 crore from B, C and D category cities. Coimbatore contributed Rs 19.15 crore, the highest OTEF for three frequencies. Anil Ambani-backed Adlabs too managed to bag eight out of 19 frequencies in southern region, thereby taking its total tally to 56 stations in India.

The five-leg bidding is part of the exercise undertaken by the ministry of information and broadcasting for allotting 337 frequencies to private companies in 91 cities across India. The process started on January 6 and the first four rounds of financial bidding resulted in the government raising a revenue of Rs 729 crore by way of OTEF from 227 stations being allotted against 274 available frequencies.

As per the rules, one company can only hold upto 15% of the total allotted frequencies. Companies like Adlabs (49 stations) and South Asia FM (56) have already crossed the 15% cut-off mark. According to I&B ministry officials, a final picture is likely to emerge once the companies bagging more than 15% of the allotment vacate some of their stations.