India near TV policy change

B'casting bill crucial to investors

NEW DELHI — Foreign companies will be able to wholly own TV production companies in India as part of a new direct investment policy for TV firms expected to be passed by the government soon.

As many as 13 proposals involving foreign ownership stakes in local software companies are pending with the Indian Foreign Investment Promotion Board, which were put on hold in anticipation of a comprehensive broadcasting policy.

The proposals pending with the board include those of Srishti Video Corp., TV18, Music Asia and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The information and broadcasting ministry has already de-linked the subject of uplinking from the broadcasting bill.

The ministry felt that foreign direct investment in software firms could be permitted, as TV production companies are not directly related to broadcasters.

The long-awaited broadcasting bill is, however, expected to be dealt with in the next session of Parliament in November.

The crucial subject of foreign ownership of broadcasters will depend on the forthcoming legislation. The bill will also address the issue of cross media ownership.

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