Bharti Airtel has relaunched WorldSpace radio on its DTH service, Airtel Digital TV.  Saregama and Timbre Media will jointly provide the content for the service.

Airtel DTH will offer 12 channels including devotional and kids channels through its iMusicSpace service for Rs 35 per month. The Airtel digital TV customers can access the application via the iTV button on their remote. The 12 new channels include Magikbox – Kids, Shraddha – Devotional, Farishta- Retro Hindi, Falak- Ghazals, Sonar- Bengali, Umang- Gujarati, Surabhi- Marathi, Tunak- Punjabi, Thenisai- Tamil, Madhuri- Malayalam, Sparsha- Kannada and Spandana- Telugu.

Airtel Digital TV users might recall that Airtel used to offer the Worldspace Radio service on its Airtel Digital TV for Rs 10 per month starting 2008, however, it stopped providing the service in 2010 when Worldspace India shut down its operations. In 2011, Airtel launched iRadio, a service on its DTH platform with 21 FM Channels, and at no additional cost. 14 of the channels available are from All India Radio.

It would be interesting to see how many Airtel DTH users sign up for the service, since it’s targeted at a niche segment of listeners. We’re still awaiting the launch of the internet radio offering from WorldSpace.

Previous Developments

– Worldspace Inc, launched in India in 2000, with a monthly fee of $3.3 (Rs. 150) in India for the base package, while the premium package was charged at $9.99. Users also had to buy Worldspace receivers, which costed between Rs.2,499 to Rs.3,599. However, with the growing popularity of free-to-air radio stations, Worldspace failed to gain much traction (163,000 subscribers in India by December 31st 2007).

– In 2009, WorldSpace Inc, along with its US subsidiaries WorldSpace Systems Corporation and AfriSpace Inc, had filed for Chapter 11 (Bankruptcy).

– In June 2009, Worldspace again tried to fuel its operations online, however, since Worldspace only had satellite radio rights, and content owners hadn’t licensed them digital (Internet and Mobile) rights, they had to pull back.

–  Timbre Media, the company which provided music programming to satellite radio service WorldSpace,tied-up with Saregama India Ltd to revive the WorldSpace brand in India, in July last year.

– The two silently launched services on Vodafone network under the moniker Vodafone WorldSpace Radio. Vodafone users can use the service for free for first 300 minutes after which they can avail a top up package of Rs 7, which will offer an additional 70 minutes free of listening time. Vodafone subscribers can activate the service by dialing 58000 or by sending a text message ACT Wradio to 111 or through USSD method by dialing *514*580# on their phones. The service is available to all Vodafone subscribers across the country with an exception of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kolkatta and Himachal Pradesh and is priced at Rs 30 per month.