SME sector optimistic over export potential

Exports from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are growing despite rising cost of raw material and international competition

Exports from the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are increasing, despite high raw material costs, difficult global markets and stiff international competition.

According to a survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), 42% of exporters recorded a rise in volumes during the first half of FY10 while about 50% exporters saw an increase in volumes in the second half. It said that around 56% exporters expect an increase in exports in dollar terms while 42% foresee a decline.

The survey revealed that rising cost of raw material, international competition, price competitiveness and delay in payments are the key impediments limiting the growth of exports.

The top five regions for exports by Indian MSMEs are Europe, North America, South-east Asia, the Middle-east and the Far-east. A majority of them anticipate that Europe and North America are the markets with most potential for their exports.

A recent Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) study said that SMEs are expected to contribute 22% to India's GDP by 2012, up from about 17% currently.

The Indian government has recently announced that it would raise Rs1,000 crore for developing MSMEs under the 11th five-year plan.
 

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The WorldSpace show must go on, say subscribers

WorldSpace subscribers from India are shocked that the music offered by the satellite radio service will go out of their lives. A number of music buffs want the services to be revived – they are not clamouring for refunds.

Most Indian subscribers are not agitated, but rather aggrieved that WorldSpace India will be off the air from the New Year. This speaks volumes about the quality of service that WorldSpace has been providing.

“WorldSpace was my companion when I used to be alone at home. We will really miss ‘Jhankaar’, ‘Farishta’, ‘System’, ‘Maestro’ and ‘Falak’,” said Parimal Raj, commenting on the previous Moneylife story stating that the satellite radio will terminate its services from 31 December 2009.

Interestingly, Mr Raj had renewed his subscription as recently as 16 December 2009. However, more than the refund, what he really wants is the service. “I only hope that it gets revived and this turns out to be good news for WorldSpace subscribers in India in 2010. I am hopeful and hence will keep the receiver safe,” he added.

“Please do not terminate the services. I will be shattered. I am really not worried about my subscription being refunded. I just want the service to continue,” commented another subscriber, Usha Sunderasan.

“It is a pity to lose this good service. Indian FM channels are nothing compared to the quality WorldSpace offered. We sold our TV as we found WorldSpace more enlightening. Don’t we have a single entrepreneur who can spot opportunity in this venture and ensure that the satellite radio makes a great comeback into our lives?” commented another WorldSpace fan, Ravi Krishnamurthy.

With subscribers themselves suggesting a way out, the question remains if any corporate entities in India will spot the potential.  To get such a faithful clientele without any advertising, would be dream come true for any radio services provider, especially the Indian FM channel. Some of the channels—like Red FM, Radio Mirchi and Big FM—spend considerable amount on advertising.

WorldSpace, on the other hand, has managed to tap into the local market very efficiently—Indians make up more than 90% of its total subscriber base. This base is believed to have trebled recently, thanks to Airtel which offers WorldSpace radio services through its direct to home (DTH) platform. 

WorldSpace initiated its advertisements—endorsed by music composer AR Rahman—a few years back, only to mark its Indian launch. It has managed to improve its subscriber base purely on the quality of its service, with a number of subscribers renewing their subscriptions automatically.

Surely, a takeover of WorldSpace operations in India would translate into a huge business opportunity for any entrepreneur. On offer is a huge, loyal customer base with a pan-India presence.

An investment banker, who is also an ardent WorldSpace listener, believes that an operational takeover is most likely to happen. However, any possible business deal will have to ensure that the quality for which WorldSpace was famous does not get diluted.

For example, the service was entirely free of any commercials and was driven purely on revenues from subscriptions. Any entity planning to take over WorldSpace will have to operate on a similar—if not the same—revenue model to retain subscribers.

A few subscribers are trying to keep the service alive. “Join hands to keep the service alive. Can some enterprising subscriber initiate action to keep the service afloat?” asked subscriber Ashok Dullu. “I have started to surf the Internet to see if somebody in India will buy the assets and continue the operation,” added another subscriber, S Devarshi. 

So will WorldSpace—or at least, its Indian operations—make a comeback? Subscribers can only wish that their hopes strike the right chord with some corporate entity.

It is amazing to know and witness the kind of goodwill and customer base Worldspace enjoys amongst its Indian customer base. Around 90% of the total Worldspace subscribers are from India. The kind of goodwill and customer base that Worldspace India, a prodigy of a US based company could enjoy across various parts of India, could be any Indian FM channels envy.

However, now on offer is the time to change this envy into the best ever opportunity that FM radio channels in India could cash on for quite some time. With subscribers also willing to pay multiple times, of the tariff that they are currently paying for the service, is the icing of the cake.

Ideally, what would an FM channel in a competitive market like India, can ask for. Currently, most of the FM channels in India are predominant in particular geographic region, but failed to achieve a pan-India presence.

As of now, one can only speculate on the future of the Indian operations of WorldSpace.
 

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COMMENTS

Jyoti Shah

6 years ago

If many of us consider writing to Times Music, may be we could do something to revive WSR in India. Go to their website and find the id of the COO and dash of a mail. I just did that.

Jyoti Shah

6 years ago

Music is food for the soul. I sometimes wonder why Times of India which has as its subsidiary Times Music cannot take over World Space Radio broadcast in India and do a service to both its own archives as well as to all music lovers in the India.

B C Jain

6 years ago

Two points for all fellow WS listeners.

1. First one good news for all lovers of old music. Now 9x TV Satellite channel telecasts every evening from 0900PM to 1200 PM (00-00 midnight) every day on all weekdays Hindi music with visuals. Although it is available as Yoodlee ( meaning ads in between every song) but somewhat solace. As this has been sponsored by ex HMV now Saregama TV but for a continuous three hors of music. Although it does not have so sense of music compiling but if we people write regularly some day they can fall to our lines. As of now they dont have so vast library of songs with visuals they are not in a position to take as much vast as we would like at par to Worldspace. But some day they too can start a new or at least transform their 9xM channel into an audio only channel. That way they would get every Hindi WS Farishta listeners to their fold. Timings from present three hours could be increased as soon as they realise and present before their sponsors about our vast majority. Later on they can also think about other music channels as Worldspace had. More others can add.

2. One very surprising thing has been observed by me that neither organised propaganda or media efforts have been done by ex WS India Operation employees. Nothing important has been heard from them as they are expecting comepensation and retrenchment payments at par with their US collegues. They seem to are afraid of loosing any thing substantial or have been silenced by paying some thing more or less. As we all know, had they started strong opposition of lossing their jobs or their bread certainly media, which is very strong now a days, has taken the matter very seriously. Alas, we see, only hue and cry is through only blogs and limited to internet only.

Now what I suggest to those ex-employees of WS Bangalore to contact TV Channel 9x for their recruitment there. They certainly will be an asset to them providing their expertise by compiling songs in such a manner that even commercial ads do not pinch much. to viewers Hope others too comment.

P Gururaj

6 years ago

Interest in revival of World Space seems to have waned. I am wondering - is it because of enormous funds required or the efforts involved.

But we require few technical friends and experienced MBAs to give us an idea of how much the business venture would cost.

P Gururaj

6 years ago

• In these columns I have given links for the news on World space which gives fair idea of how this company was not able to sustain and also many details of how it came into being. Somehow in India this has become successful and 90%, if not more of subscribers have enjoyed the music and want this to continue.
From the news item (extract given below) a business person can estimate how much finances India operations might require and how many promoters have to contribute, how much can be funded from public issue and banks.
News on cost of buying running the World
• WorldSpace, Inc. Voluntarily Files For Bankruptcy Protection
WorldSpace, Inc. announced it, along with its U.S. subsidiaries WorldSpace Systems Corporation and AfriSpace, Inc. have filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The WorldSpace Board of Directors unanimously determined that Chapter 11 reorganization was necessary for the Company to engage in an orderly process to raise sufficient funds to repay its senior secured and convertible notes by means of either a sale of the Company or its assets, or a recapitalization of the Company. WorldSpace will continue to operate its business and manage its assets as a "debtor-in-possession" under the jurisdiction of the court and in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Bankruptcy Code and the orders of the court. The holders of the Company's existing senior secured and convertible notes have agreed to provide a "debtor-in-possession" financing facility of up to $13 million for a period of 90 days in order to facilitate a sale transaction.
Disturbing news below :
WorldSpace is seeking to sell its assets to Samara’s Yazmi USA LLC for $5.5 million, according to papers filed Wednesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.
Under the deal struck with Yazmi, if the buyer fails to acquire the assets, it will pay $100,000 to deactivate the satellites, a process that likely includes them crashing back toward earth.
WorldSpace was founded in 1990 with plans to provide satellite radio services to the emerging markets of Asia and Africa, but it has fallen on hard times in recent years.
The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in October 2008 and has twice had deals to sell itself fall through.
First, another one of Samara’s companies, Yenura Pte. Ltd., defaulted on a deal to buy the assets for $28 million in 2009. And in March, an affiliate of Liberty Satellite Radio Inc. broke off talks to purchase the assets. Liberty had previously acquired a majority of WorldSpace’s secured debt.


I appeal to all lovers of World Space music and especially employees of World Space to come forward to start the process of making a company like World Space if we can not revive.

K Yagnaraman

6 years ago

Good idea to form a company & run it by ourselfs through shares. We need to locate a CA who is well versed with company law. Let me search seriously for a CA.

REPLY

Subramanian V

In Reply to K Yagnaraman 6 years ago

Nice idea. I am ready to take part. without worldspace i feel like a bird without wings. I am in coimbatore.

B C Jain

6 years ago

As I have been closely associated with media since 1969. I invite all of you supporters to form a company incorporated in India. We all can become a team by issuing shares amongst ourselves. If any among us is a Chartered Accountant and he can pave our way to form the company, we are more than confident to take over India Operations. Pl. reply. I am in New Delhi.

REPLY

P Gururaj

In Reply to B C Jain 6 years ago

Just now I saw your comments. I am in Mumbai and will be interested and willing to take care of any work in Mumbai. I am an Engineer by profession and employed. I appeal to any one who is CA and versed in company laws to come forward and start the process of forming a company. We can discuss and contribute and start a company in Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore(their operations were from Bangalore) whichever place is better.
In the meantime we should be able to find somebody in US to monitor the judicial process officially as India subscribers, form big chunk and our interest need to be protected. What I mean by protect is to see all the wealth of music records remain in India. Whoever buys the company should be able to get them. I think this is the most important and a new company can buy or hire other equipments etc. but not the old records.

RAVI KHASNIS

6 years ago

PLEASE GET IT BACK INTO OUR LIVES AGAIN.BECAUSE GOOD THINGS CANT DIE

RAVI KHASNIS

6 years ago

PLEASE GET IT BACK INTO OUR LIVES AGAIN.BECAUSE GOOD THINGS CANT DIE

RAVI KHASNIS

6 years ago

PLEASE GET IT BACK INTO OUR LIVES AGAIN.BECAUSE GOOD THINGS CANT DIE

P Gururaj

6 years ago

Hello all,
I am giving a link to some good news about the Worldspace music.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/search_news.php?search=radio channel&select=keyword

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/worldspace-rip/382836/

What exactly it means that Bharti Airtel is providing 10 Worldspace channels with their DTH subscription. Is there anyone with Airtel DTH give the feed back. So that we can immediately subscribe to the same.

REPLY

Anita Gracias

In Reply to P Gururaj 6 years ago

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/worldspace-rip/382836/

Quote:
The DTH service from Bharti Airtel announced recently that it would be replacing the10 WorldSpace Satellite Radio channels on its DTH platform with 10 All India Radio channels, including FM Gold, FM Rainbow, AIR Punjabi, FM Rainbow-Bangalore, AIR Tamil, AIR Ragam, AIR Telugu, AIR Bengali, AIR Gujarati and AIR Urdu. The offer, however, is open only to Airtel DTH TV customers. Entry-level Airtel digital TV packs cost Rs 2,499 for one-time installation charge and six-month free subscription. Extras like selective channels start from Rs 99, and all channels are available for a maximum of Rs 424 per month. There is no extra cost for the radio channels offered by Airtel DTH.
Unquote.

Rakshit Bagga

6 years ago

It is really pity that the World Space Radio has stopped working. Today morning when out of habit i started it, there was no buzz. And i realized that today is 31Dec. My heart was heavy and I hope not to have a normal day today. The music that they belted out was awesome. I am ready to pay anything if the service is started ASAP. If someone has some news on the start, pleaseeeee forward the good news to me. Its really a sad day that such a marvellous product, a true companion will not be with us...all thanks to people who made wrong business plans...world space radio was more than a radio..it was a friend you can listen to at different moods...Dear world space, i hope you come back soon...till than...i miss u. The lost money is not what hurts, I will really miss the music.
This just clicked me, will it be possible for us to re subscribe the Radio from US as the Indian Operations are closed now? Does someone conform that the Hindi Channels Farishta etc are working in US, if so we have hope to re subscribe our radio our of India.
Regards.

K Yagnaraman

6 years ago

I feel that some private FM owners can takeover world space. If some body is ready we can even support them by contributing some initial capital as world space has changed many families to switch over from TV to Radio. Initial investment can be few thousand rupees

P Gururaj

6 years ago

First any one who can contact World space employees who were in Bangalore have to be contacted and try to find what happened to all the records that were in the studio and how we can preserve them till we take steps to revive the World space. Can any employee of this organisation let the public and the subsciber's know what is the real position.

karthik

6 years ago

lets do some thing to revive back world space...but how to start and what to do...can some one suggest what to do...??

More of the Same

Auto-Expo has seldom looked forward. It is time for a change

Auto-Expo week in Delhi is on us again. Invitations are already pouring in for a variety of functions, including a variety of car/bike of the year awards, where everybody will win, with multiple organisations claiming to provide ranks and grades for everything rolling on inflated wheels, all nicely coordinated so that timings and dates do not clash. Much fun, good food, excellent wine will flow.

The venues are packed with shiny cars and bikes as well as well-heeled and shiny people. This is the right time of the year in Delhi for all this. With any luck, the sun will be out during the day, making Pragati Maidan a very pleasant afternoon interlude for a week. The crowds will head for the cars, bikes, buses and trucks—the real business will be done by the vast number of component and other supplier stalls, and seminars as well as conferences will give golden opportunities to all to network and schmooze. The Chinese, as is increasingly the case at such fairs and exhibitions, will be there in even larger numbers than before.

Auto-Expo in Delhi has always been a great show. With the new low-floor buses and Metro trains serving the Pragati Maidan area, one does not have to worry about parking either, and walking about inside is better than any other entertainment in town. The list of displays is already available, though to be frank, as of now there is nothing really exciting, everything has already been shown and previewed. VW Polo, Chevrolet Beat and Maruti Eeco are ready for the market. Likewise in two-wheelers whatever had to be released has been done. There is no ultra excitement of the Tata Nano sort this time around, though that will not keep the crowds away, nor would it in any way reduce the "success" of this exhibition. Place a dummy model of any sports or luxury car, and see the crowd pour in.

This time around the theme at Auto Expo 2010 is "Green Wheels". Just about 14 years ago, during the 1996 Auto Expo, yours truly was almost thrown out of the show for asking fairly aggressive questions on environmentally friendly developments. Remember, manufacturers were of the view that India was too backward for fuel injection and cleaner engines. In reality, the truth was that between the liquid fuel industry and the automobile manufacturers, somebody had to absorb the old clunker technology and the lousy fuel coming out of ancient refineries.

What would one like to see at Auto-Expo? Not newer, but the newest engine technologies need to be heading for India. For example, the multi-fuel new generation engines and the compressed air engines. One would also like to see better road and traffic management techniques, options and opportunities, ongoing maintenance (both optional and statutory) and related systems and suppliers. And most of all, one would like to see more about how the automobile industry plans to go about taking India even further along the road of becoming a real automobile superpower.

Anybody can now make a good car in India. The basic infrastructure is in place. It is time now to make state-of-the-art solutions. Auto-Expo in India has seldom looked towards the future, choosing instead to dwell on past glories and present problems. This needs to change.

Tailpiece: Pity SIAM, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, which is supposed to be the voice of the industry. With competing views and expectations, they increasingly sound like a swimmer trying to reach out into a dozen directions at the same time, and it will be interesting to see them take positions on "Green Wheels", while at the same time pushing for more and more benefits to obsolete personal transport solutions.
 

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