With the new government soon to take over, the media and entertainment sector is also hoping to see its ‘achche din’. We spoke to a few stakeholders to know how they see this change of power and what they are hoping to get from the new government.
Ashish Bhasin, chairman & CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, chairman Posterscope and psLive - Asia Pacific
From the media & entertainment point of view, what one wants is a strong and stable economy which depends upon a government that takes decisions and takes them forward. A clear majority government is much required as there seems to be a paralysis for the last few years on decision making. To that extent, whatever is good for the economy is good for the media and entertainment sector. From that point of view, having a stable government with a clear majority will be a good change.
Nagesh Alai, group chairman, FCBUlka
There is a lot of hope after the 10-year Congress mishap. There are no industry specific expectations from the new government other than doing away with insidious muzzling of freedom of speech. I would like to see the new government walk the talk on eradicating corruption, have a zero tolerance on corruption and bring about probity and accountability in public life - to start with their own elected candidates and then among corporates, and avoid crony capitalism. Once this is done, the rest will fall in place.
Jehil Thakkar, head of media & entertainment, KPMG
The media & entertainment sector is enthused about the fact that there is a majority verdict in this election. It will hopefully mean a decisive government and movement on the regulatory front. This government will take office with the weight of a lot of expectations – including the expectations from the M&E industry. There are several areas that the industry will expect movement from the government which are:
1. Speedy implementation of Phase III licensing in Radio and associated regulations (networking, multiple station ownership, etc.).
2. Greater friendliness to FDI in media. The industry is hoping that the government will raise the FDI caps in several areas including cable to at least 74%, if not 100%, DTH to 100%, radio to 49% and progressively higher than 50%.
3. The industry is also hoping that the government will allow the radio industry to carry news. It does not make sense that news is restricted to AIR in radio but allowed to be privatised for all other media.
4. Solving the service tax issue for the media industry, where due to content being on the exception list, a pass through option is not available. This will provide great relief to the industry.
In addition, there are other issues that are not specific to media but will certainly help the industry. Rationalisation of customs duty, implementation of GST (assuming entertainment tax is part of GST) and increased focus on infrastructure development.
—By arrangement with MxMIndia.com