Onde Numérique receives green light for pay-radio in France

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 08-11-2012

Onde Numérique has recieved the green light from French Media regulator CSA to operate a premium pay-radio package in France on the L-band frequencies.

This has resulted from a call for bids launched at the end of 2011 to service distributors to operate in the L-band using both the terrestrial network and satellite.

Onde Numérique faced competition from another project put forward by MediaMobile, a subsidiary of TDF, Renault and Vinci.

The forthcoming package will broadcast nationally and offer 64 radio stations, including 50 exclusive and ad-free ones, as Onde Numérique concluded a deal with Lagardère’s affiliate Metta. One of the new station will be dedicated to kids aged 7-10. Ouï FM and Radio Classique stations, as well as those from Radio France and Euronews, will also be carried in the package.

Available in digital and in unique frequency over the whole territory (140 cities), this premium pay-radio bouquet will be the first of its kind in Europe. Its development is based upon the Euro ETSI SDR norm combining terrestrial reception and satellite. Onde Numérique has concluded an agreement with SES/Eutelsat joint venture Solaris Mobile, whose satellite feed will complement the terrestrial repeater infrastructure.

The new service will develop in two stages. The first offers for home and on-the-go use will be launched at the end of 2013, and priced at €5 a month. They will be carried through IPTV, Wi-Fi and 3G networks. The process will finalize in 2014 with the launch of a version for cars, available for €10 a month.

Onde Numérique CEO and founder Franz Cantarano is looking to raise €10 million to fund the project. Two options are being studied, he said in an interview to daily Les Echos: launching an IPO and looking for investment funds.