When Uncle M went in to meet the Nuclear Deal Maker - Grandfather M a.k.a Manmohan, he 'politely' requested the Prime Minister to increase FDI across all forms of media to 49 per cent. That would be TV news, print news, DTH, radio et al. Uncle M argued that it was a necessity to do such a thing, and if implemented money would flow into all forms of media across the country strengthening media in the country, and positively impacting salaries.
Grandfather M passively listened and then spoke, for once, "Mr Murdoch for you it might be a necessity, but for me it is a compulsion not to." Well, so much for rising salaries! This battle between certain media houses in the country on both sides of the FDI battle is not over yet. The argument given that foreign money will dilute the 'integrity' of the news is a fallacious one. After all, hasn't news already started to plumb the depths of depravity already. How much lower can we go?
Now, Uncle M travelled from Delhi to Pune where he met up with Abhijit Pawar, whose Sakaal Times might be floundering, but he is definiately launching a Marathi news channel, Shaam TV. Now, Uncle M is supposedly making an investment into this channel - getting a 26% stake for around $15-20 million. Uncle M might also buy into a few other regional groups - but nothing concrete when it comes to bigger groups - even though the offhand remark on this blog that he might look at BCCL has supposedly become the gospel truth according to some stories. Uncle M met them, he ain't buying them out - he can't - FDI norms prevent that.
After Pune, Uncle M travelled to Mumbai where a comprehensive review of all Star India businesses was made - even Channel V. Uncle M is surprised that Star India has not been able to tranlate Channel V's success across the rest of Asis into anything concrete in India. Heck, the one channel that INX is rising on is their music channel 9Xm - even though they are paying ridiculous carriage fees for that. I'll even contend that Channel V has some decent shows even, but somehow loves it to MTV when it comes to the hype.
Anyway, this is not the last you have heard of Uncle M. Even though election year compulsions may not allow Grandfather M to allow 49% FDI, Uncle M also met the opposition. He is expected to fight for 49% again.
Plus, while MDA's trip to Delhi last month to meet the Prime Minister and Mrs G was covered, what wasn't covered was his visit the very next day where he supped with Murli Deora. Amar Singh was supposedly not happy about this but given the man's penchant for using the speakerphone, this line was overheard by a journalist recently, "Arre Murliji, hum toh yahin chahte hai ki ek saath khana khaye."