WorldSpace radio, which has been available as a service across India for the last two years, is now re-launching itself with some amount of promotional exercise and lots of branding initiatives. Currently, the satellite radio claims to have 60,000 subscribers and plans to expand its base with the promotional exercise.
“We came to India with the intention of providing satellite services and a variety of content, but due to certain reasons, the rollout was not effective enough,” said Deepak Verma, MD, WorldSpace. As a result, the satellite radio is now planning to carry forward its experiential strategy and start experience zones in the new cities.
“We already have two lounges in Bangalore, two in Chennai, two in Hyderabad and now plan to start three lounges in Delhi and another three in Mumbai,” he added. In Delhi, the satellite radio plans to open 150 retail outlets that would provide the sets to the customers. Other than Delhi and Mumbai, WorldSpace is rolling out to Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Kochi and Pune as well.
Verma said, “The paid up capital for the Indian operations is around $25 million and the advertisement spend is around $10 million for this calendar year.” In reply to a question as to when the satellite radio would reach profitability, he said, “As of now, WorldSpace aims to expand its base and presence across the country. The effort is primarily to educate the consumers of the products and services through a huge communication drive.”
With the WorldSpace connection, a subscriber will have to shell out Rs 3,790 for the sets and Rs 1,800 per annum for the subscription. WorldSpace has OEM tie-up for the sets with BPL in India. There were also OEM tie-ups with Japan, Germany and Indonesia, he informed.
So, does North India have the psychographics to go in for paid subscriptions when FM radio stations are going great guns? “Definitely,” stressed Verma, adding, “This service is all about complete music, music with little RJ talk and practically no advertisements.”
Plans are underway to expand the number of channels. At present, there are 39 radio stations, but the rollout will see a slew of new channels being launched, including those on Punjabi and Marathi music.
Verma further said that internationally WorldSpace radio was going for an IPO, which should happen within this quarter. He also denied that WorldSpace operations would change if the government implemented the TRAI recommendations that 100 per cent FDI should be allowed in satellite radio. “It would not make any difference to the operations in India,” he insisted.