WorldSpace Inc, which had sought the permission from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board, for “providing web based audio music programmes on their website” has been asked to apply again “after the Government policy on the related activity is notified”.
The directive doesn’t mention which related activity, and for a while there, we thought it was referring to a potential government policy on online radio; that would have been disastrous. We’ve contacted Worldspace for inputs. The Hindu offers some clarity: Worldspace India MD M Sebastian told the newspaper that they will have to wait for a government policy on Satellite Radio policy, which will result in a delay in launching web services. “It appears that the policy will be finalised soon and we look forward to the same, ” he said.
We had reported on Worldspace’s application to the FIPB earlier – the application is not available on the FIPBs website. Worldspace had briefly launched Online Radio services with MSN before it was pulled. Industry sources had told us then that Worldspace only had satellite radio rights, and content owners hadn’t licensed them digital (Internet and Mobile) rights. Online Radio rights would have to be bought separately.