Indian section of WorldSpace radio is heading for a quiet demise at the end of this year. Subscribers have been left high and dry! The good days of advertisement free radio are gone! So what went wrong? Why has WorldSpace generally gone from a great concept to a broke company?
The foremost reason is the exclusive device which was a necessary ingredient in their service. This device was unusable with any other service and rarely had any other peripheral uses other than listening to music. Their was no bundled mp3 capability, no FM capability and no video capability. So the device was just that – a WorldSpace device. This made the customer wary of his future with the service. You see the big selling point of any product in India is multi-functionality. People like their gadgets to do “everything”, even if that means having three instances of the same service/function in different devices. The concept a “device only for WorldSpace” was a difficult idea to sell to the average customer.
The second reason was the “directional antenna”. Any other radio like FM or AM did not need a radio hanging outside your window! The antenna system also made it impossible to carry it conveniently in a car. People are rarely listening to music except in the car. That is because they spend the better part of their days sitting in a car waiting for the daily traffic jam to ease! No car capability made WorldSpace a difficult choice for the average buyer.
The third reason was competition from FM ad-supported stations. FM works from the word go in your car. It does not need special “installations” and they keep playing the same “hot” tunes throughout the day. Their idea is the catch various drivers in their cars. In fact a lot of programming content on FM is directed squarely at the average driver.
Thanks to these important details, WorldSpace has breathed its last on Indian soil. There have been many lovers of their service in the short time that they were here. But they failed to capitalize on their initial gains. Hopefully alternative services will spring up to fill the void.