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'Media' is the medium of carrying information, education and entertainment to the masses. It is an easier and efficient means of communication which plays a key role in the overall development of an economy. In an era where knowledge and facts are the tools for economic, political and cultural exchange, presence of the strong and constructive media in a country is important for catering to the diverse needs of individuals, society as a whole, small and large business and production houses, various research organizations, private sectors as well as the public sectors. Media is a conscience-keeper of the nation and has many tasks to perform in our day-to-day lives. It helps the Government to achieve various socioeconomic and political goals; educate urban and rural masses; instill a sense of responsibility among the people; as well as provide justice to the needy. It largely consists of print media like newspapers, magazines, journals and other publications, etc. as well as electronic media like radio, television, internet, etc. With the changing scenario of the world, it has acquired the status of an industry.

In India, the media and entertainment industry is undergoing remarkable change and is one of the fastest growing sectors. The main factors responsible for this are rising per capita/ national income; high economic growth and strong macro-economic fundamentals; and democratic set up, good governance as well as law and order position in the country. Specifically, spectacular growth of the television industry, new formats for film production and distribution, privatisation and growth of radio, gradually liberalising attitude of Government towards the sector, easier access to and for international companies as well as advent of digital communication and its technological innovations are the other attributes of the growth of the sector. The media industry plays an important role in creating people's awareness about national policies and programmes by providing information and education, besides creating healthy business environment in the country. Thus, it helps people to be active partners in the nation-building endeavour.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is the nodal authority in India for formulation and administration of the rules, regulations and laws relating to media industry. It is involved in catering to the entertainment and intellectual needs of various age groups and focusing attention of the masses on issues of national integrity, environmental protection, health care and family welfare, eradication of illiteracy as well as issues relating to women, children and weaker sections of the society. It plays a significant part in helping the people to have access to free flow of information. It is also responsible for international co-operation in the field of mass media, films and broadcasting and interacts with its foreign counterparts on behalf of Government of India. The main functions of the Ministry are to:-
  • Provide news services through All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD) to the people

  • Develop the broadcasting and television network as well as promote import and export of films

  • Educate and motivate the people for greater participative involvement in the various developmental activities and programmes of the Government

  • Liaise with State Governments and their organisations in the field of information and publicity

  • Organise film festivals and cultural exchanges in the country

  • Administer the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 in respect of newspapers

  • Disseminate information about India within and outside the country through publications on matters of national importance

  • Use interpersonal communication and traditional folk art forms for information/ publicity campaigns on public interest issues

  • Serve as a constant link between the Government and the Press, by acting as a clearing house of official information and authentic data pertaining to the Union Government’s plans and programmes.
The Ministry is divided into the following wings, namely:-
  • Information Wing - deals with the policy matters, the print media as well as the press and publicity requirements of the Government. The media units in this wing are:-

    • Press Information Bureau

    • Photo Division

    • Research, Reference and Training Division

    • Publications Division

    • Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity

    • Directorate of Field Publicity

    • Song and Drama Division

    • Registrar of Newspapers for India

    • Press Council of India

    • Indian Institute of Mass Communication

  • Broadcasting Wing - handles matters relating to the electronic media. It formulates policies and frames rules and regulations for this sector, which include public service broadcasting, operation of cable television, private television channels,, satellite radio, community radio, DTH services, etc. The organizations under this wing include:-

    • Electronic Media Monitoring Centre

    • The Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) - has been set up with the mandate to organise and entertain people and to ensure balanced development of broadcasting on radio and television through agencies like:- (i) All India Radio, and (ii) Doordarshan.

    • Broadcast Engineering Consultants (India) Limited (BECIL)

  • Films Wing - handles matters relating to the film sector. Through its various units, it is involved in the production and distribution of documentary films required for internal and external publicity, development and promotional activities relating to film industries including training, promotion of good cinema, organization of film festivals, import and export regulations, etc. This wing has the following media units:

    • Films Division

    • Central Board of Film Certification

    • National Film Archive of India

    • National Film Development Corporation

    • Film and Television Institute of India

    • Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute

    • Directorate of Film Festivals

    • Children’s Film Society

  • Integrated Finance Wing - performs important functions of maintaining and monitoring the Accounts of the Ministry, through its subordinate office of 'Chief Controller of Accounts'.

The media industry has significantly benefited from liberal investment regime in the country. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been permitted in its various segments. FDI upto 100 per cent has now been allowed for print media covering non-news publications and FDI (with FII) upto 26 per cent has been allowed for print and electronic media covering news and current affairs. However, the news sector has also been opened up for FIIs, NRIs and PIOs. The FDI (including FII) in FM radio broadcasting sector has been allowed at 20 per cent. While, FDI and FII upto 49 per cent have been permitted for cable network; direct to home (DTH) - (within this limit, FDI component not to exceed 20 per cent); setting up hardware facilities such as up-linking, hub (teleports); etc.

At present, there are 110 million TV households in India, out of which 70 million are cable and satellite homes and rest 40 million are served by the public broadcaster, that is, Doordarshan. Similarly, there are 132 million radio sets in the country. Further, over the years, the number of private satellite TV channels have grown very fast from 1 TV channel in 2000 to 273 TV channels till 31.12.2007. The news and current affairs TV channels constitute 58 per cent and non-news and current affairs TV channels constitute 42 per cent of total permitted 273 TV channels. The former channels have grown from 1 in 2000 to 158 till 31.12.2007, while latter rose from 0 to 115.

The Ministry has been making several policy announcements as well as framing guidelines in order to create conducive environment for healthy development of various mass media in the country. Some of these are:-

  1. The formulation of 'Policy Guidelines for Downlinking of Television Channels' which implies downlinking all satellite television channels downlinked / received / transmitted and re-transmitted in India for public viewing. Under it, no person/entity shall downlink a channel which has not been registered by the Ministry. Henceforth, all persons/ entities providing Television Satellite Broadcasting Services (TV Channels) uplinked from other countries to viewers in India as well as any entity desirous of providing such a Television Satellite Broadcasting Service (TV Channel), receivable in India for public viewership, shall be required to obtain permission from Ministry, in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed. The policy guidelines enumerates certain eligibility criteria's for applicant company, which are as follows:-

    • The entity (applicant company) applying for permission of downlinking a channel, uplinked from abroad, must be a company registered in India under the Companies Act, 1956, irrespective of its equity structure, foreign ownership or management control;

    • The applicant company must have a commercial presence in India with its principal place of business in India;.

    • It must either own the channel it wants to downlink for public viewing, or must enjoy, for the territory of India, exclusive marketing/ distribution rights for the same, inclusive of the rights to the advertising and subscription revenues for the channel and must submit adequate proof at the time of application;

    • In case the applicant company has exclusive marketing / distribution rights, it should also have the authority to conclude contracts on behalf of the channel for advertisements, subscription and programme content;

    • The applicant company should have a minimum net worth as prescribed, that is, networth of Rs. 1.5 crore for downlinking of one channel and Rs. 1 crore for each additional channel;

    • It must provide names and details of all the Directors of the company as well as key executives such as CEO, CFO and Head of Marketing, etc to get their national security clearance;

    • It shall furnish technical details such as nomenclature, make, model, name and address of the manufacturers of the equipments/instruments to be used for downlinking and distribution, the Block schematic diagram of the downlinking and distribution system as well as also demonstrate the facilities for monitoring and storing record for 90 days.

  2. Similarly, the notification of 'Guidelines for Uplinking from India', wherein the applicant, seeking permission to set up an uplinking hub/ teleport or uplink a TV Channel or uplink facility by a News Agency, should be a company registered in India under the Companies Act, 1956. The company shall uplink only those TV channels which are specifically approved or permitted by the Ministry. For setting up of uplinking hub/ teleports in applicant company, the foreign equity holding including NRI/OCB/PIO should not exceed 49%. The networth requirement varies from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 3 crores for channel capacity one to ten. The applicant company, irrespective of its ownership, equity structure or management control, would be eligible to seek permission for uplinking a non-News and current affairs TV channel. Networth required for single TV channel is Rs. 1.5 crore and Rs. 1 crore for each additional channel. While, for uplinking a news and current affairs TV channel, networth required for single TV channel is Rs. 3 crores and Rs. 2 crores for each additional TV channel.

  3. The Ministry has issued 'Guidelines for Obtaining License for Providing Direct-To-Home (DTH) Broadcasting Service in India', wherein DTH service refers to the distribution of multi-channel TV programmes in Ku Band by using a satellite system for providing TV signals direct to subscribers premises, without passing through an intermediary such as cable operator. The eligibility criteria's in the guidelines include:-

    • Applicant Company to be an Indian Company registered under Indian Companies Act, 1956.

    • Total foreign equity holding including FDI/NRI/OCB/FII in the applicant company not to exceed 49%. Within the foreign equity, the FDI component not to exceed 20%.

    • The applicant company must have Indian Management Control with majority representatives on the board as well as the Chief Executive of the company being a resident Indian; etc.

  4. A 'Policy on expansion of FM Radio Broadcasting Services through Private Agencies (Phase-II)' has also been announced to expand FM radio network through private agencies to supplement and complement the efforts of All India Radio. This is to be done by operationalising radio stations that provide programmes with local content and relevance, improving the quality of fidelity in reception and generation, encouraging participation by local talent and generating employment. There are 21 channels already in operation under Phase-I. Out of 337 channels offered for bid in Phase II, Letter of Indent (LOI) has been issued to 245 channels, of which all channels have signed the agreements. In all, 178 private FM channels are in operation till date in India including the 21 channels of Phase I.

  5. There is also a 'Policy for Import of Cinematograph Films and Other Films', wherein import of cinematograph feature films and other films (including film on video tape, compact video disc, laser video disc or digital video disc) has been allowed without a licence. The importer of the film shall comply with the provisions of all applicable Indian laws governing the distribution and exhibition of films, including the requirement of obtaining a certificate of public exhibition prescribed under the Cinematograph Act 1952. Under it, import of any unauthorized/pirated films shall be prohibited. Import of foreign reprints of Indian films shall not be permitted without the prior permission in writing from the Ministry.

  6. 'Draft Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, 2007' has been announced to promote, facilitate and develop in an orderly manner the carriage and content of broadcasting. For the purpose, it aims to provide for the establishment of an independent authority to be known as the Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India as well as encourage broadcasting services to be responsive for the educational, developmental, social, cultural and other needs and aspirations of people and include in their programming public service messaging and content; etc.

As a result of all such incentives, the media industry in India has shown considerable growth over the years, with almost double-digit growth. It is projected to grow from an estimated size of Rs. 437 billion to Rs. 1 trillion by 2011. It provides ample opportunities for investors the world over, brings in more capital inflow into the country and presents significant avenues for both direct and indirect employment. It helps in shaping people's views and outlooks about various national and international issues and thus helps in formulation of schemes, policies and programmes. It is a powerful medium for providing entertainment, disseminating information, nurturing and cultivating diverse opinions, educating and empowering the people of India to be informed citizens so as to effectively participate in the democratic process; as well as preserving, promoting and projecting the diversity of Indian culture and talent of the country.

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