Bollywood In Bahrain: Dramatic Twist In This Times Group Firm's Middle-East Adventures

Shares of Entertainment Network (India) shot up on Tuesday after a dramatic twist in the company’s bid to run a radio station in Bahrain.

What Happened: The Times Group-owned firm said it had been given a license by the Ministry of Information Affairs (MIA) in Bahrain to operate the Entertainment Radio Channel Frequency for five years, following “constructive” discussions.

The company, which owns the Radio Mirchi FM radio brand said in an exchange filing that it would cater to the large South Asian demographic in the country, which includes a significant Indian diaspora, by providing Bollywood and South Asian content within Bahrain through the entertainment radio channel frequency.

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The development is a major reversal in the company’s fortunes in the Middle-Eastern island country. The firm had until recently been seeking the early termination of its contract to run a radio station through unit Mirchi Bahrain by December 31, 2022.

The company had in June 2020 won the bidding for the entertainment radio channel frequency, put up for sale by the Bahrain government. however, after setting up and running the station for over a year, the unit was hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to its advertising revenue dropping by over 50-60% and causing complete disruption of its business estimates, the firm had said.

However, the termination of the contract appears to not have gone through and discussions may have provided the business unit a path forward.

Price Action: Entertainment Network (India)’s share price was up 1.92% at ₹161.50 in late afternoon trade on Tuesday.

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