WorldSpace Europe, a subsidiary of WorldSpace Inc. (NASDAQ: WRSP), is preparing for the introduction of an important breakthrough in European media: satellite digital radio.
Introducing satellite radio in Europe
WorldSpace will allow millions of people to discover commercial-free, high quality radio entertainment like it's never been experienced before. Offering packages of more than 50 channels per country, WorldSpace plans to deliver diverse and exclusive thematic radios : genre by genre music radios, talk radios, sports, leisure, news, children etc.
These subscription-based radio services will be available on receivers with innovative features. Beyond radio services, listeners will also benefit from a range of practical digital services, such as real-time traffic information, weather forecasts on the go, anywhere in Europe.
The services are designed for a nomad reception, targeting mainly car drivers,
with seamless and complete coverage of each territory. This coverage is achieved thanks to an exclusive "hybrid" system architecture, which combines the advantages of both satellite and terrestrial broadcast networks.
This concept is already a growing success in the United States and Canada where most car manufacturers offer satellite radio as optional or standard equipment in their new vehicles. More than 18 million North American consumers have adopted these services, in approximately 6 years of operation.
WorldSpace Europe has identified a comparable market in Europe, based on market studies conducted on more than 14.000 European consumers.
3 terrestrial licences in Europe and an operational satellite
WorldSpace Europe owns major assets to phase in a rapid introduction of satellite digital radio services in Europe: a first geostationary satellite already in orbit, a second one available from storage, and a technology fully compliant with ETSI's SDR standard.
WorldSpace benefits from international regulatory priority for the deployment of satellite capacity over Europe.
WorldSpace Italia, in partnership with Class Editori, has received approval from the Italian authorities to launch a subscription satellite radio service in Italy, which will start early 2009.
In view of this launch, WorldSpace Italia has commissioned Telecom Italia to deploy a terrestrial network using repeaters developed by Sodielec. The radio bouquet will be offered either on aftermarket receivers, the initial one being developed by Delphi , or on SDR compliant audio systems integrated in new cars. Fiat has already agreed to progressively integrate WorldSpace services in their new cars. WorldSpace Italia is now focusing on the preparation of the content line up.
Early 2008, WorldSpace Europe has received approval for satellite radio services in Germany and Switzerland .
WorldSpace Europe plans to launch services in these countries in Western Europe in 2010.