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Union Budget 2019 reactions: M&E industry hails impetus to growth & digital

The Union Budget 2019, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is being seen as a Budget where there something for everyone. ‘It doesn’t upset the applecart’, is what the general industry view.

The major sop for the media industry is opening up of further FDI in media, along with animation, aviation and single brand outlets. Moreover, prices of set-top boxes are set to fall following the Budget provisions.

However, print industry is set to see an increase in pressure as newsprint costs are expected to go up.

Ashish Bhasin CEO Greater South and Chairman & CEO India:

"The Budget is certainly more inclusive and is focused towards providing a better lifestyle to the common man. From providing better access to toilets, better connectivity by roads and digitally, to promoting the ease of living, this year the budget actually showcases a lot of good stuff. The government's decision to examine the opening up of foreign direct investment (FDI) in media, is beneficial for the sector. However, some of the actions of the government do seem contradictory and a letdown. The expectations from a government coming with such a majority was that they would undertake substantial reforms, stimulate growth and cut tax rates. However, they have missed the opportunity to do so and have acted contradictorily by implementing surcharge on HNI individuals. Despite everything I expect the next 10 years to be very bright for India."

 

Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group:

“A shot in the arm for #DigitalIndia as government plans to invest heavily in the digital infrastructure. With the announcement of BharatNet, we can expect the digital ecosystem expanding in the country, especially in rural India where the next growth is coming from. As we near 2020, I hope to see the digital India gaining more momentum. Relaxation of FDI in media too is a good move. These moves will boost the economy and we should reach the $5 trillion mark, as mentioned by the FM, sooner than expected.”

 

Gautam Sinha, CEO, Times Internet:

“The government’s progressive steps in opening up FDI further in the media, tax benefits for corporate taxpayers and annual meet to get Industrialists, corporate leaders and venture funds on the same table would offer significant impetus to the private sector. We are hopeful these measures along with efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc will trigger a virtuous cycle of investment & consumption that will catapult us towards becoming a $5 trillion economy.”

 

Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India:

“Today’s budget directionally augurs well for boosting long-term economic growth by focus shown on infrastructure improvements, strengthening benefits to MSME sector and investments on improved skill sets of human recourses. Steps taken to attract investments by relaxing FDI, FPI and NRI norms, coupled with boosting public sector banks and NBFC, will trigger the much-desired credit boost.

Coming to the M&E industry, one will have to carefully look at the impact of allowing FDI in the media sector. We are happy as BARC India, for the impetus given to start-ups which will further propel efforts of the overall industry on innovation and digitisation.”

Amod Khare, Tax Leader - Media & Entertainment, EY India:

“Initiatives and incentives in the animation and AVGC space undertaken in certain states (for example, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala) have made foreign investments in this space attractive in these states. Recognising the growth and employment potential of this space, the Government has now proposed to examine measures that could be implemented to make India a preferred destination for foreign investment in animation and AVGC.”

 

Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana:

“This Budget, we are particularly excited about the potential of Bharat Net in facilitating free access to digital-first services like governance, education, banking and entertainment across rural India. As every panchayat in the country gets internet connectivity, it will make way for an entire generation of digitally literate citizens who live better lives and create a vibrant market for internet entrepreneurs and businesses.”

 

Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player:

“The government’s steps in opening up FDI further in the media and entertainment sector would help boost media entrepreneurs as well as talent. MX Player’s growth strategy is based on creating premium original content for the larger Indian audience, and the expansion of Bharat Net would offer a great opportunity to OTT platforms like ours to reach a vibrant and diverse audience beyond the metros and Tier I cities.” 

 

Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head,DCMN India:

“The Union Budget comes with some good news for the start-up industry in India. The government took some concrete steps to ease the challenges that start-ups are facing. The biggest step was taken in resolving the angel tax issue by withdrawing the scrutiny of start-ups in terms of valuation of share premium. Setting up of an e-verification for source of funds of investors would ease the processes on the investor side as well. These steps along with the broadening of the age cap for companies to qualify as start-ups from 7 to 10 years would also give a breather to many young companies, including digital first brands. With these new regulations in place, we can hope to witness an even bigger surge in the number of new start-ups. The government has ambitious plans to set up 500 new incubators and 100 innovation zones across India by 2024. The other welcome development has been the focus on enhancing FDI in certain industries, especially media. We will have to wait and see how this would play out in the coming months and the impact it would have on various media across TV, Radio, Print, Digital etc.”

 

Sabyasachi Mitter, Founder and Managing Director, Fulcro:

“In my opinion, this Budget is focused on all round growth of the economy, rapid growth in infrastructure and generating employment by encouraging entrepreneurship. I particularly welcome the focus on startups especially addressing the waxing issue of angel tax as well as further incentives for women entrepreneurs. The increase of turnover of companies who can avail of 25 per cent tax slab to Rs 400 crore would lead to further capital in the hands of businesses to invest in growth.

The focus on electric mobility for both manufactures as well as consumers as well as incentives for components that are critical for electrification of commuting is especially heartening. Reducing our oil import bill through such measures would have a compounding effect on the economy.

The allocation of hundred lakh crores for infrastructure is most welcome and long overdue if we have to have a realistic chance of being a $5 trillion economy.

Overall, there is something for everyone to look forward to. Modi 2.0 is off to a roaring start.”

 

Ashutosh Harbola, CEO & Co-founder, Buzzoka:

“The Budget looks to be a Truly Digital one in nature and strong steps are seen for the upcoming fiscal year. From a new channel to be started under Doordarshan’s bouquet to provide a platform for start-ups to disseminate information in the industry to Bharat Net, which is targeting internet connectivity in local bodies in every panchayat in the country are all welcome steps.

Also, training of 10 million in industry-relevant skills like AI, IoT, and Big Data will help address the severe skill-shortage of technology and IT. We are really optimistic that the digital path taken by the government is surely matching the $3 Trillion vision.”

 

Shrenik Gandhi, CEO & Co-Founder, White Rivers Media:

“Media is a field of innovation and FDI in media is a very positive sign. Any kind of FDI, if utilised in a right way, generally benefits. FDI relaxation in media opens up a wide scope of innovation and adaptation of new technologies in media. Better technologies will result into better research, better creation, better buying, better optimization, better reporting. Overall, it shall give cost optimisations resulting to strategic efficiencies!”

 

Ashish Patkar, Founder and CEO, Monk Media Network:

“The advent of the mobile phone has ensured that more and more people are accessing content both entertainment and informational. The need of the hour is to ensure the content supply matches the consumption demand. FDI limit increase will allow companies to robustly invest in content creation which will take us towards a content rich economy.”

 

Deepak Lamba, CEO, Worldwide Media:

“The current Budget is well and truly encouraging. The opening up of FDI in the media and entertainment sector is a welcoming and promising initiative. This is a big step for content creators like us, for it now opens up a host of different avenues for the digital world. It's a budget that the Digital Entertainment Industry will certainly benefit from this. The growth of India’s FDI inflows for 2018-19 was a resounding 6 percent increase compared to last year will have a positive impact for all players across sectors in the long run.”

 

 

 

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