WorldSpace Satellite Radio: Fading Signals?

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR239
Case Length : 22 Pages
Period : 1990-2006
Organization : WorldSpace Corporation
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : The US, India, Africa
Themes: Corporate Strategy Industry : Media, Entertainment, and Gaming

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"People are as developed as the information that they can access. Hence we are committed to creating information affluence. Radio also reaches out to people where other media simply can't."1

- Noah Samara, Chairman and CEO of WorldSpace Corporation, in 2002.

"If people can pay for superior content on TV, they can do it for radio as well. Those who had heard WorldSpace swore by its content."2

- Farokh Balsara, a senior partner and Media & Entertainment Practice Leader at Ernst & Young India, in 2006.

Creating A New Identity

In July 2006, WorldSpace India Pvt. Ltd. (WorldSpace India) launched an integrated marketing communications campaign in a bid to strengthen its presence in the country. The campaign included a new series of television advertisements as well as special events like concerts and award shows.

The company also signed on popular Indian music composer A R Rahman (Rahman)3 as its brand ambassador. Rahman composed a new signature tune for the company, which was to be featured in all the company's television and radio advertisements. WorldSpace India, which had launched its services in the country in 2000, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of WorldSpace Corporation USA (WorldSpace).

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WorldSpace, the world's first digital satellite radio service provider, had launched its service (also called WorldSpace) in Africa in 1999. The service was initially launched with the mission of creating 'information empowerment' in Africa and other third world regions, although the company later started offering commercial channels and entertainment as well. At the beginning, WorldSpace offered the same channels in all its markets, but after its launch in India, the company adopted a region-centric approach, and launched several channels with Indian content.

The campaign launched in India in 2006 was a part of WorldSpace's attempt to create a new global brand identity for itself, under which it adopted a new logo and embarked on restructuring its business model. (Refer to Exhibit I for WorldSpace's old and new logos).

As of mid-2006, the WorldSpace service was available in over 130 countries around the world, and reportedly covered two-thirds of the world's population. WorldSpace aired a number of channels, which delivered music, news, sports, and other information. As of 2006, the company was the leading provider of digital satellite radio services outside the US and Canada.4

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1] Archana Raghuram, "Distance Education Not So Distant,"The Hindu, September 4, 2002.

2] Amit Ranjan Rai, "Why WorldSpace Scores over Others,"www.rediff.com, August 3, 2006. (Accessed on September 1, 2006)

3] A.R Rahman is a popular Indian film music director and has composed music in Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. He is also popular internationally and had composed music for the successful Broadway musical, "Bombay Dreams". Reportedly, more than 100 million records of his music albums had been sold worldwide by mid 2006.

4] In the US, the leading satellite radio service providers were XM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio as of 2006.

 

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