Indonesia Cracks Down on Overseas TV Ownership

05 October 2005

The Indonesian government is planning to limit overseas investment in local television stations.

Minister of Communications and Information Sofyan Djalil says foreign investors will not be allowed to hold a stake larger than 20%.

The aim, he declares, is "to guarantee our media is not influenced by foreigners". He warns that any foreign investor in breach of these rules will be required to divest their shareholding to local companies.

Broadcast ownership now goes under the microscope and first in line for inspection is ANTV, which last week inked a multi-million dollar 20% share sale to Rupert Murdoch's Hong-Kong based cable operator Star TV.

Says ANTV spokeswoman Soraya Perucha: "Star TV and ANTV have no intention of breaching the law. Star TV will have a maximum 20% as required by the law. We welcome the communications ministry's plan to verify our ownership."

In Indonesia's crowded television market, ANTV is a low-ranked but promising partner. Its share of the nation's 180 million viewers has crept up to 5% from 2.5% in the last three years. According to AGB Nielsen, the network generally rates as the country's eighth most popular service.

Local television advertising grew by almost 30% last year, to $1.4 billion (€1.17bn; £797m), 69% of all advertising. In the first seven months of this year, ANTV received $86m in ad revenues, according to an AGB Nielsen estimate.

Data sourced from People