The government, however, took a lenient view. A senior official told eFE that a decision to forfeit the bank guarantee in the case of defaulters, would not be taken before Monday (September 2). Reason: Thats the next working day after the deadline. So, for all practical purposes, the government has extended the deadline for paying the licence fee by at least three days! The expected revenue from the licence fee (including any forfeiture of bank guarantee) is around Rs 45 crore from 14 licencees.
For now, Mid-Day has decided to pursue its radio business in Mumbai only, but it might change its strategy later on, Mid-Day has pointed out. Although Music Broadcast Private Ltd (MBPL) of the Ispat group, for which Star provides content and marketing inputs, had shown interest in the Chennai circle, it found the going tough in that direction. A senior official of MBPL told eFE that the company had explored the possibility of buying out a licence from another player, indicating that Mid-Day was an option. But since there werent positive feelers from the government, MBPL is not thinking on those lines currently.
With Mid-Days exit from Chennai and Delhi (it hadnt bid for Kolkata), only 11 licencees are left in the fray for one or more of the three metros Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. These players include Radio Today (Living Media), Entertainment Network (Bennett Coleman), Music Broadcast Private Ltd (Star-Ispat venture), Millennium and Sun.