WorldSpace, a pioneer in direct-to-receiver satellite audio service, has decided to offer four more channels soon on its radio receivers, thereby increasing the number of channels to 29 from the existing 25. The company has already signed up with Indigo for another channel from its stable and with Asianet for two channels (Tamil and Telugu). The fourth addition will be a channel put together by WorldSpace itself.
WorldSpace is also in talks with All India Radio (AIR). The content of the AIR channel has yet to be finalised.
WorldSpace channels tally is expected to go up to 35 by the end of the year and it may have as many as 50 channels in the near future. WorldSpace has chosen to go slow at present in rolling out new channels, its multimedia services and even its marketing campaigns.
The reason behind the slow roll-out, as described by Mr. Sebastian, is two-fold. One, the uplink capacity of WorldSpace is full for now, he said. That is, the present uplinking capacity is for 25 channels only. ‘‘To be able to launch more channels, WorldSpace will have to expand its uplinking capacity at Singapore,’’ Mr. Sebastian added.
The second reason behind WorldSpace going slow on adding channels and marketing the product is low rate of supply. Demand for WorldSpace receivers are much more than the supply. The company has run out of sets. The JVC model is out of stock since January, and the company is left with only around 100 Sanyo sets.
To augment supply, WorldSpace has tied up with BPL and some foreign companies for manufacturing the radio sets. At present, four Japanese companies—Sanyo, Panasonic, JVC and Hitachi—and being marketed by BPL in the Indian market, are manufacturing WorldSpace sets.