FM radio auctions: Govt sells 25% of frequencies on offer

Out of the 266 frequencies on offer during the latest FM auction, the I&B ministry sold only 66 frequencies in 48 cities for Rs200 crore


The slot for FM Radio in Dehradun notched the second highest bid of nearly Rs15.61 crore. Photo: iStockphoto
The slot for FM Radio in Dehradun notched the second highest bid of nearly Rs15.61 crore. Photo: iStockphoto

New Delhi: Out of the 266 frequencies offered in the second batch of the phase 3 FM radio auctions, the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry sold only 66 frequencies in 48 cities, the government said on Monday.

The electronic auction of the FM radio frequencies, conducted between October and December, had on offer 266 frequencies in 92 cities, which mostly included small towns, with a few exceptions such as Hyderabad, Dehradun and Vijayawada.

According to the auction results on the official website of the I&B ministry, the total value of the channels sold was Rs200.24 crore.

Sun Group-owned Kal Radio Ltd outspent rivals to win six licences worth Rs58.5 crore, followed by Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), the radio broadcasting unit of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd that won 21 licences for Rs51.3 crore. ENIL operates FM brands Radio Mirchi and Mirchi Love.

South Asia FM Ltd, also owned by Sun group, won seven frequencies for Rs22.05 crore. Sun group operates 93.5 Red FM, Kal Radio and South Asia FM radio stations.

Other radio operators that won licences include Sambhaav Media Ltd, Purvy Broadcast (P) Ltd, Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd, Malayala Manorama Co. Ltd, JCL Infra Ltd and Ushodaya Enterprises (P) Ltd among others. A total of 14 firms participated in the auctions.

HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint, which runs the FM radio stations Fever and Radio Nasha, competes with the radio channels of some of these companies in several markets. HT Media did not take part in the latest auction.

With this auction, Kal Radio, which won frequencies in cities like Hyderabad, Nellore and Salem, plans to expand its presence in all the state capitals.

“As a network (Sun group), we have spent close to Rs80 crore and we have won 13 licences, making us a 70 station network. We have strengthened our presence in the south and the north-east,” said Nisha Narayanan, chief operating officer at Sun group-owned 93.5 Red FM.

ENIL will also expand its Mirchi brand to 64 cities from the current 43.

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