Mumbai: India’s leading private FM Network owners Entertainment Network India Ltd. (ENIL) that operates Radio Mirchi FM has bought 21 radio frequencies under the second batch of the Phase III of FM radio auctions this year.
ENIL, a part of the Times Group that publishes The Economic Times, spent a total of Rs 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 26th October to 14th December 2016, in which 266 frequencies in 92 cities were up for grabs, only 66 in 48 cities got takers. While, The government earned Rs 202 crore from the second batch, compared with Rs 1,160 crore in the first round last year.
The second batch also had fewer participants: 14, compared with 28 that took part 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.