India is home to more than 800 television channels with 140 million homes that have paid TV as well as a film industry that produces more than 1,000 movies in a year. The Committee aims to create direct links between Indian and American businesses and government leaders with the ultimate goal of creating a $100 billion media and entertainment industry by 2020. The Committee holds roundtables and conferences in both India and the United States and leads industry trade missions to India to forge policy reforms and develop platforms for members to interact with business leaders and government officials.

Removing Constraints in FDIs
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended increasing the direct-to-home and satellite cap on foreign direct investments from 74% to 100%. News media is presently capped at 26% and TRAI has recommended boosting this to 49%.

Digitization
With the goal of digitizing approximately 85 million cable television homes, the market for content creators, channels, software technology firms, and information technology providers offers unprecedented opportunity. The Council supports TRAI’s and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s digitization plan and also supports policies that will allow content exclusivity in order to reflect the dynamism of today’s market economy.

Updated Entertainment Tax Policy
Media companies face a number of restrictive and outdated government taxes that impede the realization of a free market environment. Supporting industry efforts to reduce state taxes, and having such taxes ultimately subsumed under the forthcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, will encourage companies to pursue investment opportunities in India.

Copyright Protection
Creating a unified road map on copyright protection is recommended. Copyright needs to be recognized as an industrial property and seen in the eyes of the government as a valuable asset to be protected.

Trade Mission to India
Led an executive mission to India in May during which member company delegates addressed challenges impacting digitization rollout, copyright concerns, film facilitation, and constraints on foreign direct investment in the media sector. Delegates met with key stakeholders in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Department of Telecommunications, and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, among others.

Company support
Provided individualized, company-specific support on localized issues, including film and theatrical permitting and licensing.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Advocacy
Advocated successfully to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India to adopt a more liberalized approach to the media sector. TRAI has now recommended that the Government of India increase foreign direct investment caps in direct-to-home cable, news broadcasting, and in print media.

For more information on participating in the Media and Entertainment Executive Committee, please contact Michael Green.