BBC Worldwide and Indian media company, Mid-Day Multimedia Limited, today formally announced a joint venture agreement and confirmed plans to bid for licences in the Indian FM radio sector. The joint venture will operate locally under the name Radio Mid-Day West.
The agreement follows a move by the Indian government to liberalise the FM radio market in India and release 338 new FM radio licences across 91 major cities in early 2006.
Bidding opens in January and closes in February, after which successful applicants will have 12 months to establish operational FM radio stations.
Announcing the partnership, BBC Worldwide managing director Global TV Sales, Mark Young, said: “This is a very exciting and pivotal time to enter the Indian FM radio market. With liberalisation of this sector offering unprecedented opportunities in FM radio, and Mid-Day Multimedia’s wealth of experience and expertise, our new partnership is well on course to establish a leading national radio business across India.”
Tariq Ansari, managing director, Mid-Day Multimedia Limited, added: “BBC Worldwide’s experience as a global media player brings our radio business to a new level. With access to one of the world’s most respected media organisations, we expect to establish a network of radio stations where producers can use the BBC’s radio expertise to develop and inspire their programming on a local level.”
The joint venture was confirmed following the approval of India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Foreign investment of radio media in India is capped at 20%. While Mid-Day Multimedia will be promoters and primary shareholders, BBC will invest roughly ?4 million in the joint venture.