Timbre Media-Saregama India to bring back WorldSpace legacy
Moneylife Digital Team 06 July 2011

Here is good news for WorldSpace radio fans. Erstwhile employees of WorldSpace along with Saregama India, plan to provide much-loved music through mobile, Internet and DTH

Saregama India Ltd, which owns the largest music archives in the country, has bought a 10% stake in Timbre Media Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed sum. Both Saregama and Timbre Media will provide a variety of high-quality, genre-based radio channels, similar to WorldSpace, in the Indian market. Timber Media is a venture set up by erstwhile employees of WorldSpace Satellite Radio that was forced to exit from the business.

Seetal Iyer, co-founder and head of content, Timbre Media, said, "Timbre Media was formed in 2010 and has drawn experience from professionals involved with WorldSpace. We focused on returning those lost stations of WorldSpace to the people. For our listeners, this means that their favourite WorldSpace stations like Farishta, Jhankaar, Gandharv, and Shruti, to name a few, will be back again soon on various platforms."

On 31 December 2009, WorldSpace stopped broadcasting its radio signals, leaving thousands of loyal listeners in shock. It was amazing to know and witness the kind of goodwill and customer base WorldSpace enjoyed among its Indian customer base. About 95% of the total WorldSpace subscribers were from India. The goodwill and customer base that WorldSpace India, a prodigy of a US-based company enjoyed across various parts of India, was the envy of Indian FM channels.

Saregama India and Timbre Media plan to leverage the distribution network of Saregama and Timbre Media-developed channels to target the digital domain of mobile, Internet and direct-to-home (DTH) television services.

"We believe that there is still a very loyal customer base that appreciates the quality that the Timbre team provided previously on WorldSpace. Through this alliance we will endeavour to bring the same quality and serve this product in all possible digital formats including mobile, DTH and the Internet," said Adarsh Gupta, business head for music at Saregama India.

The two companies plan to use content from Saregama's industry-leading and extensive library as well as from other popular labels, to provide unparalleled 24-hour stations, broadcasting Indian music ranging from old Hindi films, Hindustani classical, Carnatic classical, new Hindi music, ghazals, and also stations in major Indian languages.

Following the exit of WorldSpace from India, Airtel DTH that used to broadcast the radio channels on its platform, resorted to 10 radio channels of All India Radio (AIR). In 2009, out of about 4.5 lakh WorldSpace subscribers more than 50% used the Airtel DTH pay-TV package. However, WorldSpace India did not earn enough cash from its deal with Airtel DTH.

The DTH services provider offered 10 channels of WorldSpace at Rs10 a month, or Rs120 a year, with subscribers to its Rs200 package and above getting the radio channels absolutely free of cost. At the same time, WorldSpace was charged Rs2,000 per annum for 40 channels. Therefore, in a way, the deal was not profitable for WorldSpace, but helped it to increase its subscriber base in the country.

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Shibaji Dash
1 decade ago
everything you have written about World Space India- that was-is true in every respect. Like many I was desperately waiting for such a news. Frankly, World Space India, to my mind, was charging a pittance considering the super quality of streaming music and excellent informative interviews they were dishing out. Moneylife indeed has a keen eye on everything that's wholesome for life- from creating wealth in bonafide way to health care that ofcourse includes value music. Many thanx.
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