Monday, August 18, 2008

1Worldspace - Tick, Tick, Tick

Time is definitely running out for Worldspace. No new investments, no clear business plan and simply no hope. How on earth can you introduce satellite radio into Italy - the one country in Europe with the oldest population - median age for men in 42, and 20% of the population is over 65? Are people demanding more FM stations in a country that was one of the first to tolerate a rash of commercial stations? Why spend the remaining 1.2 million in the bank? Will the US military buy them out like they did Iridium just before the last US elections? (Update - no they won't because they didn't - see comments) And why does the Worldspace India site still display details of programmes that were aired a month ago...this is not an audio on demand service. As you can hear, too many questions. No Answers. I am just surprised these guys have lasted so long. Will they last into September?


Unknown said...

Hello Jonathan,

I work for Iridium's public relations firm. While I'm certain your observations are well intentioned, I'd like to point out that there is an error in your post. The US military never "bought out" Iridium - not before the last US election or at any other time. The original Iridium LLC (a division of Motorola) entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 1999. In December 2000, a group of private investors acquired the operating assets of the bankrupt Iridium LLC. This included the satellite constellation, the terrestrial network, Iridium real property and intellectual capital. The new company was named "Iridium Satellite LLC," and in the same month, the new company did win a contract from the US DoD, but the government does not own any shares. The DoD is simply an Iridium customer and the lion's share of the company's users are actually commercial enterprises. Today, Iridium Satellite LLC is performing remarkably well. For the past five consecutive quarters, the company posted double-digit increases in revenue, earnings and subscriber gains. With second quarter results showing a 31% increase in revenue over the first half of 2007, Iridium now has more than 280,000 subscribers worldwide.

Jonathan Marks said...

Thanks for the correction Jina. It is true that in the long term, Iridium has proved to be a useful communications system, especially in remote areas where terrestrial networks will never reach. They evidently have a business model, which is, unfortunately, not the case for Worldspace.

marco barsotti said...

ciao jonathan

quanto tempo da quando ascoltavo media network in sw.

yes italy is old, and seems not to be moving away from FM. Many DAB+ (plus!) trials, but no dab radios to buy...MW is now a Rai1-only business.

My personal opinion is that future of radio is something like Nokia Internet Radio application running on symbian phones, once WiFi is pervasive...yours ?

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