Worldspace India plan hits problems

Worldspace India is not part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that has enveloped its Washington-based parent company. Worldspace has enjoyed some limited success with India subscribers, and had hoped to capitalise on that success. Now India’s ministries and bureaucrats have stymied expansion plans.
Worldspace had reportedly wanted to significantly expand its India operation, including building a new transmission suite for international playout. It was also seeking permission to import receivers and accessories, and establish a call centre to handle hoped-for orders.

But Worldspace India needed permission from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which has declined approval pending comment from the Dept. of Information Technology. Evidently both the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting as well as the Dept. of Telecommunications have sidestepped responsibility for approving the ideas.

Worldspace’s revenues, mostly sourced from India, were worth $3.2m in the quarter to June 30 (the latest available data). Its selling expenses alone, however, exceeded $12m, helping drive losses at the parent company to $35.9m for the quarter year, and hence the bankruptcy protection. Worldspace’s losses over the past 4 quarters exceed $155.7m.