Saturday, March 28, 2015

​Multiple-station FM radio to reach 800 cities in a couple of years: MoS Col. Rathore

MUMBAI, March 27, 2015.The three-day FICCI FRAMES 2015 convention drew to a close with a valedictory session, where Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Union  Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, delivered a keynote address on the theme ‘Making India the Entertainment Superpower: Innovating for an Entertainment Ecosystem”.

Mr Rathore paid tribute to the media and entertainment industry, saying that they are at the foundation of nation building. “What truly makes a nation is character, and what all of you are associated with is something that builds character.” He heaped praise on the industry, saying that it has the ability to reach out to the world. But he also cautioned that content is important despite all the technology. “We should be able to produce content irrespective of packaging and marketing and should be able to take a foothold in any nation.”

He pledged his Government’s support to the industry. Speaking about how radio is expanding by leaps and bounds, he said that the Government is about to launch phase 3 auctions in 315 cities. In a couple of years, they hope to cover about 800 cities with multiple FM stations. They are also re-doing the Cinematographic Act. They want to make certification content based, and go online. Film and television institutes will be improved and the ministry wants to create a centre of excellence for gaming, animation and special effects. This will be a benchmark for all centres of excellence that come up later. He called upon the industry to partner the Government in this pursuit.

His keynote address was followed by a question-answer session with Mr Siddharth Roy Kapur, MD, Disney India. Mr Kapur hoped that India could be viewed as the soft power of the 21st century. “India and the US are the only two countries where 90 per cent of the revenue and viewership comes from local content. Most other countries don’t have such a thriving film and TV industry.” Mr Rathore concurred that this would be the best way to enter the hearts and minds of all citizens throughout the world. “There is nothing better to promote our culture than film,” he said.

Mr Kapur also highlighted some of the pitfalls faced by the industry, particularly in terms of regulation and taxation. Mr Rathore agreed that changes were needed, but called for an interaction between the Government and the media and entertainment industry, so that the former could be seized of the constraints faced by the latter. “We want to make it clear that if there is something that the Government can do, we will be more than pleased to do it.” Mr Kapur acknowledged that it is refreshing to have a minister and a Government so open to dialogue, and looked forward to the journey in the future.

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