Tuesday, June 09, 2009

FIPB holds up Worldspace India's audio streaming plans

Satellite radio company WorldSpace's proposal to provide audio music programmes for listening on its website has been returned to the applicant. The FIPB board has advised the company to submit it afresh after the government policy on the related activity is notified.

WorldSpace India will now have to wait until the notification of Government policy pertaining to satellite radio services, to offer streaming of audio music programmes on its website. The Web-based service proposed by Worldspace is seen as B2C (business-to-consumer) activity by the Government and hence needs separate permission.

Under the current law, Web-based service requires the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance.

The deferring will delay the company's plans to deliver the channels via its site, which would have spelt good news for its Indian music subscribers in  different parts of the world. WorldSpace India had stated that the programmes would be streamed, allowing it to receive payment (in lieu of subscriptions to the service) and revenue. It had also pointed out that the proposed service would only involve streaming but not support playback, storage or recording of music.

The company wanted to promote the service, distribute and transmit content over various mediums in locations outside India as well. The proposal had come up for discussion in the previous meeting of the FIPB in April this year, but was deferred.

Worldspace plans to go ahead with its overall organisational plans and without any major changes in its approach of business execution in India, While globally the company has been facing several problems, in India, the company has been  optimistic about future prospects, especially with the expected finalisation of the satellite radio policy. At present, World Space provides 34 radio channels in India that include BBC World and London-based WRN news channels.(http://www.radioandmusic.com)

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