Update: Saregama has informed MediaNama that the Saregama WorldSpace Radio app on Windows PC and Android are 1.5-2 year old products and new version of these products will be updated in next six months. Avinash Mudaliar, who recently joined Saregama as its Head of Internet Products and Services, has informed us that the company will be coming up with a suite of new products in next six to eight months.
Earlier: We are not sure when it was launched, since we couldn’t find any official information on this but we just noticed that Saregama has launched WorldSpace Radio app on Windows PC and Android. The Windows app can be downloaded from the site, whereas the Android app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Remember that in July 2011, Saregama had acquired 10% stake in Timbre Media, the company which provided music programming to satellite radio service WorldSpace, to revive the WorldSpace brand in India.
One needs to register to stream music on the radio app. While registering is free, the service is based on subscription model. When we used the service, we were offered to use the service for free for a month, so we couldn’t check the subscription cost.
The app offers free radio stations in nine languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, among others.
Things that irked us: the app asks us to login every time, which is kind of time consuming. It, however, remembers username and password. Another thing is that on desktop the app works full screen, hiding even the taskbar. Though there’s an option to resize the screen, it doesn’t provide an option to go to previous screen once resized. That said the entire UI of the app is hideous.
The paid subscription service gives access to Artists stations, which plays songs from a particular artists. For some reason, the app does not give us an option to upgrade to premium subscription plan. Besides this, the app also gives an option to purchase the song that is being played. Users need to purchase app credits to buy a song. One credit equals to one song download and 5 credits can be purchased for $1, 35 credits for $5 and 50 credits for $10. One can make a payment either through cheque (!) or credit card. At the time of writing this article, none of the options worked. So we are not sure what’s really happening.
– 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.
– 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.
– In October 2012, Bharti Airtel relaunched WorldSpace radio on its DTH service, Airtel Digital TV.