Finance Minister Proposes FDI Norm Relaxation in Media

By Pickle  July 9, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed to further relax norms and open up foreign direct investment (FDI) in Media and AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics) sector in her maiden budget speech on Friday.

“I propose to further consolidate, the gains in order to make India more attractive FDI destination. The government will examine suggestions of further opening up of FDI in media, AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics) in consultation with stakeholders,” she said.

Already India is one the most liberal media markets in the world in foreign direct investment (FDI) for global companies to engage in business.

Currently, the government allows 26% FDI in publishing of newspapers and periodicals involved with news and current affairs through the approval route and 49% FDI in news channels.

While no rules have been framed for FDI in news and current affairs in digital media in India, indications are that government may spell out norms for permitting 26% or 49% for Streaming of news & current affairs through digital media.

It is not clear on what’s to come in FDI in AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics sector. The AVGC sector already enjoys 100 per cent FDI, although no rules have been forumlated for this sector.

MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT SECTOR: CURRENT FDI NORMS

  • FDI in all film-related activities such as film financing, production, distribution, exhibition, marketing etc. is permitted up to 100% for all under the automatic route
  • 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the advertising sector through the automatic route
  • FDI up to 100% now permissible in broadcasting carriage services outlined in FDI Policy, viz., teleports, DTH, Cable Networks, Mobile TV and Headend-In-The-Sky – FDI up to 49% permissible under automatic route and above 49% under Government approval route
  • FDI up to 100% permissible under automatic route in case of up-linking of non-news and current affairs TV channels and down-linking of TV channels
  • FDI up to 100% is permitted in publishing/printing scientific and technical magazines, periodicals and journals
  • 100% FDI for General Entertainment Channels
  • FDI up to 49% permissible under Government route in case of terrestrial broadcasting FM (FM radio), up-linking of ‘news and current affairs’ TV channels
  • In the news and current affairs category, such as newspapers, FDI has been allowed up to 26% subject to certain conditions
  • Companies would require government approval for 49% FDI in news channels. But 100% foreign investment in non-news channels or entertainment broadcasters will be allowed through the automatic route

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