Carriers Hope Satellite Radio Can Fly Outside the United States
As Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio eagerly await approval of their year-old merger attempt, media watchers wonder whether satellite radio anywhere else can copy the success achieved by those space-age broadcasters in the U.S. market. While Sirius and XM operate in the U.S. (and to a small extent, Canada) the other regions of the world are in the hands of a collection of four other broadcasters. Of these, WorldSpace may be showing the most promising signs of life.
Thanks largely to OEM relationships with vehicle manufacturers, Sirius and XM have built up a clientele of some 17.3 million subscribers. Collectively the two carriers offer satellite radio as a popular feature in nearly every vehicle brand in the U.S. market. But according to a market research report available at Electronics.ca Publications, "The Worldwide Market for In-Car Audio, Infotainment & Driver Information/Telematics Systems", that model has not yet been replicated by the world's other satellite radio players - which include TU Media (serving South Korea), MBCO (Japan), Ondas Media (Europe), and the most ambitious of the lot, WorldSpace, which plans to serve Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
The Korean and Japanese services, launched in 2005 and broadcasting to the two countries from a shared satellite, have had little penetration into the automotive market. In fact they've had little impact overall and face stiff competition from terrestrial systems designed for mobile digital media.
In-car satellite radio may receive a better reception in Europe. Though commercial service there has yet to be launched, both Ondas and WorldSpace have announced their first OEM deals with automakers - Ondas with Nissan, and WorldSpace with Fiat.
Of the two, WorldSpace appears to be making the quickest progress - it has secured necessary terrestrial-repeater licenses for Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, and plans to roll out its first European broadcasts next year. Meanwhile both companies may be challenged to retain enough capital to stay afloat until subscriber cash flow starts to roll in.
Will Europeans embrace satellite radio like Americans have? Will the fact that the European market is more varied in terms of language and culture help or hinder satellite adoption? Within a year or two we may finally know the answers.
Details of the new report, table of contents and ordering information can be found on Electronics.ca Publications' web site. View the report: http://www.electronics.ca/reports/automotive/car_infotainment.html
Electronics.ca Publications is a world-class research network and publishing company whose focus is technology and market research for the electronics industry. Our network spans dozens of areas of electronics expertise, and taps the knowledge of researchers and analysts internationally. We deliver critical information on the semiconductor, advanced materials, nanotechnology, electronics manufacturing, wireless technology and converging markets, to name a few.
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