WorldSpace to exit India

WorldSpace to exit India


It was pretty disappointing to hear that WorldSpace would be discontinuing its operations in India at the end of this year. This was not entirely unexpected as the parent company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US in 2008. At the time however, it was presumed that the Indian ops would continue but apparently that is not the case.

If you’ve paid for services beyond Dec-09, it is quite likely that a long wait is in store for you to get your money back, as according to the bankruptcy proceedings, you will be treated like any other creditor.

WorldSpace operated 36 channels, encompassing a wide range of music, but without any ads. A statistic I found truly amazing was that WorldSpace has a subscriber base of almost 4.5 lakh in India, unbelievable when you consider Indians in general like things for “free”!  India also happened to be WorldSpace’s biggest market, accounting for more than 90% of its subscriber base.

Given all this, it is so ironic that India is also where the company stumbled over almost every regulatory hurdle there was, as India just doesn’t have a satellite radio policy, thereby disallowing WorldSpace from setting up a call centre and a digital recording studio in India, or even to stream music through its website.

Hopefully, there is some way in which this closure can be avoided and fingers are crossed on this one!