Govt plans to hike FDI limit to 74% for DTH: Singh The government feels the foreign investment for services and infrastructure in the television sector can be increased to 74 per cent while there are no plans to change the limit in the TV news and current affairs segment, Information and Broadcasting secretary Sushma Singh said. Singh said the policy on Headend-In-The-Sky was being hurried since two-thirds of the viewers were still getting their TV through cable operators. "We are of the opinion that the composite limits for FDI (foreign direct investment) can be kept at 74 per cent in case of DTH, HITS, teleport, and satellite radio (currently there is no FDI cap in case of satellite radio). No changes are proposed in the 26 per cent limit for news and current affairs channels. But to protect the interests of local cable operators perhaps one can think of retaining the FDI limits at 49 per cent for a local cable operator, while the limit may be raised to 74 per cent for MSOs," Singh said here today while addressing the second Assocham global summit on entertainment and media. While the policy on HITS was on the anvil, the I&B Ministry was actively considering the policy on mobile television. Singh also said that the regulatory format for digitalisation was being worked out. While the cost of converting analogue to digital all over the country could be as high as Rs 640 billion in India, HITS could help reduce this cost. The ministry, she said, is also extending conditional access system (Cas) areas to the remaining parts of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Currently, only the southern parts of these cities and the entire city of Chennai have this facility. Piracy being a major problem for both TV and cinema, Singh said that the government was considering an Optic Disc law and had also approached the Human Resources Development Ministry for amending the Copyright Act and giving more penal powers for its implementation. Direct to Home (DTH) TV was expected to rise to cover 115 million TV homes by 2012 at an annual CAGR of 48 per cent. The government was hoping to increase the number of FM channels to 780 in 80 cities over the next few years. She said the government had been taking several steps for providing a level playing field to all stakeholders and had succeeded in this. Committed to increasing broadband in the country, she said the expeditious clearance of the IPTV Policy was a step in this direction to give greater interactivity and create diverse business platforms. Referring to cinema, she noted that the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) still preferred to give loans to corporates and, therefore, the film industry should come forward with greater corporatisation. Though the number of people employed by the Indian film industry directly or indirectly was 5.1 million, the number of cinema houses had fallen to 12,548 which was very low for a country like India. She hoped the entertainment tax which was down to almost 50 per cent in most states would come down to just 25 per cent. The participation of India on the foreign scene was expected to grow by 19 per cent to Rs 22 billion by 2012. The Government was setting up a National Centre of Excellence in Animation and Gaming which was at the stage of project report. Nasscom had been asked to give a model for teaching institutions since there was a proliferation of such institutes. The Film and Television Institute of India in Pune was being converted into a global film school. Singh released a report by Ernst and Young on the future of entertainment in India titled ‘ What’ s Next ’ . Farokh Balsara, who is partner with E&Y, presented a report on the occasion. He referred to some clear trends like cross-media acquisitions, joint ventures between Indian and foreign companies, and easier access to capital for investment. Motion Pictures Association of America President Mike Ellis listed several cases where Hollywood majors had collaborated with Indian filmmakers, and also of Anil Ambani ’ s Reliance which had invested in Hollywood. He referred to link-ups like that of Sony for Saawariya, Walt Disney for Roadside Romeo, Fox Searchlight with UTV for three films, Fox Star with Vipul Shah, Viacom and Network 18 for more than 20 films, Warner and Ramesh Sippy for From Chandni Chowk to China and some with filmmakers in south India. Time Broadband Services Ltd MD & CEO Sujata Dev said the global meltdown and piracy had affected the entertainment industry and it was time for the government to wake up and act.