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Saregama to tune into FM with 108 stations

Saregama India Ltd, is planning to set up an FM radio broadcast network of 108 stations with studios, and also plans to develop software and sell time

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
CALCUTTA, Sep 03

The Gramophone Co of India Ltd (GCI), which has acquired a new name, Saregama India Ltd (SIL), is pressing ahead with plans to set up a 108-station network for FM radio. Industry watchers feel that the decision can be linked to the upward swing in the company's fortunes.
SIL, best known for its HMV brand, registered a turnover of Rs 146.09 crore for the fiscal 1999-2000, as against the Rs 123.18-crore turnover the previous year. Net profit too went up a couple of notches to Rs 6 crore, against the Rs 3.94-crore figure for 1998-99.
Apart from setting up the 108-station FM broadcast network with studios, the company also plans to develop software and sell time to advertisers. In fact, Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman, SIL, sees selling of broadcasting software as a new major area for growth.
Initially, studios will be set up in Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai, and the broadcasting will be in Hindi, English, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu. The private parties would be offered broadcasting facilities by means of letters of intent, wherein they would be given 1,300 broadcasting hours per day.
Incidentally, SIL draws its new name, Saregama, from its music retailing web site, launched last year. For the company, Saregama is proving to be a major leap into e-commerce, with its digital downloading facility. The company's two web sites would soon make this facility available to music buffs.
SIL currently has a cassette manufacturing plant in Dum Dum, West Bengal. Keeping in mind the growing demand for CDs, it is now contemplating setting up a CD manufacturing unit. A decision to this effect will be taken during this month after ascertaining which of the two - manufacturing or outsourcing of CDs - would be more economical.
Given these initiatives, Goenka is optimistic about closing the current fiscal with a three-fold increase in profits.

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