The Government is examining suggestions of further opening up of FDI in media, primarily in the space of animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) in consultation with all stakeholders, India's finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her Budget Speech 2019-20 in Parliament today.
In her budget proposal, the FM also said that the Government proposed to start a television programme within the state-owned DoorDarshan bouquet of channels exclusively for start-ups. "This shall serve as a platform for promoting start-ups, discussing issues affecting their growth, matchmaking with venture capitalists and for funding and tax planning. This channel shall be designed and executed by start-ups themselves," she said in her budget speech.
We present some reactions from the advertising and communications industry leaders:
Amod Khare, Tax Leader, Media & Entertainment, EY India, a leading consultancy, said, “Initiatives and incentives in the animation and AVGC space undertaken in certain states (like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala) have made foreign investments in this space attractive in these states. Recognising the growth and employment potential of this space, the Government has now proposed to examine measures that could be implemented to make India a preferred destination for foreign investment in animation and AVGC.”
"Coming to the M&E industry, one will have to carefully look at the impact of allowing FDI in the media sector. We are happy as BARC India, for the impetus given to start-ups which will further propel efforts of the overall industry on innovation and digitization.” Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India, the broadcast audience research body.
Among the advertising agency networks, Ashish Bhasin, CEO, greater south and chairman & CEO, India Dentsu Aegis Network said, "The government's decision to examine the opening up of foreign direct investment (FDI) in media, is beneficial for the sector. However, some of the actions of the government do seem contradictory and a letdown. The expectations from a government coming with such a majority was that they would undertake substantial reforms, stimulate growth and cut tax rates. However, they have missed the opportunity to do so and have acted contradictorily by implementing surcharge on HNI individuals. Despite everything I expect the next 10 years to be very bright for India.”
Publishers like Deepak Lamba, CEO, Worldwide Media added, "The opening up of FDI in the media and entertainment sector is a welcoming and promising initiative. This is a big step for content creators like us, for it now opens up a host of different avenues for the digital world. The Digital Entertainment Industry will certainly benefit from this."
Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana, a music streaming service, said, “This Budget, we are particularly excited about the potential of Bharat Net in facilitating free access to digital-first services like governance, education, banking and entertainment across rural India.