Foreign investment in media sector rises

Mumbai, March 31 (IANS) In keeping with the Indian entertainment industry's growing presence in the international market, foreign direct investment (FDI) in this sector went up to Rs.80 billion in 2007, according to a PricewaterHouse Coopers (PWC) report for the year 2008.

Though FDI receipts in the entertainment sector amounted to only 1.5 percent of the overall receipts of foreign investment in the country last year, the rise over the previous year indicates the growth of the industry.

INX Media was the biggest recipient of FDI last year. It received Rs.11 billion from Temasek Holdings via Dunearn Investment, New Silk Routes, Kotak and SREI Group.

The money is being utilised to expand INX's television broadcasting network.

Sun Direct Television received Rs.7 billion from South Asian Entertainment Holdings Ltd, a group company of Astro All Asia Networks Plc, to expand its direct to home broadcast reach. The company acquired a 20 percent stake in Sun Direct TV.

American investor George Soros acquired a 3 percent stake in Reliance Entertainment Ltd. by putting in Rs.4 billion in the company for development of the Internet, new media, movies and television broadcasting.

Innovative Media Ltd., the out-of-home media subsidiary of Entertainment Network India Ltd. (ENIL) received Rs.2 billion from Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers for out-of-home media expansion.

Both the companies acquired a stake of 8.28 percent each in ENIL.

Prime Focus Group invested Rs.1.72 billion in Frantic Films VFX and Post Logic Studios.

Apart from these, other Indian companies which received FDI largesse last year included UTV Software (Rs.295.05 million), Broadcast Initiatives (Rs.421.91 million), Integrid Media (Rs.178.71 million), K Sera Sera (Rs.138.57 million), Shree Asthaviniyak Cine Vision Rs.144.56 million), Cinemeta Entertainment (Rs. 9.90 million) and United Home Entertainment Ltd. (Rs.1,619.79 million) from various foreign entities.

Walt Disney invested in United Home Entertainment Ltd, while ILabs Investment Funds LLC pumped money into Integrid Media. Singapore-based Ratnam Sudesh Iyer invested in Cinemeta Entertainment.

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