Continuing the WorldSpace legacy @ Timbre

27 Mar,2012

By A Correspondent


The year 2012 has already begun with a series of announcements of radio on the web and other digital platforms. for instance has launched a new genre – IndiPop Radio on their Web Radio station in March, 2012, and a Bengaluru based internet radio company- Venturenet Partners will be launching a premium model internet audio service- Radiowalla in April 2012. Formed in 2010 by former employees of WorldSpace India, Timbre Media is also slated to announce its internet radio station – Timbre Radio. All these players not only aim to provide innovative but, differentiated content and world class radio programming to their listeners, all through the power of audio.


Besides the internet, Timbre Media plans to exploit the potential of the audio medium across digital platforms including mobile and DTH Television. On the mobile front, the Bengaluru based Timbre Media has already aligned with Vodafone India to offer listeners multiple music genre radio stations across the country. Listeners will have to pay Rs. 30 per month for 300 minutes of free usage. However this mobile radio service is not available in Andra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Kolkata. Saregama India Pvt Ltd. which has acquired 10 per cent stake in Timbre Media provides the company (Timbre Media) with access to their music database.


Timbre Media offers customised radio content for multiple broadcast platforms. It has four studios in Bengaluru and two studios in Mumbai among other studios in different parts of the country. In conversation with MxMIndia, M Sebastian, Co- founder and CEO, Timbre Media spoke about business model of Timbre Media, his break-even plan, the trends to watch out for, on traditional FM radio and much more.


Q: Can you share with us how Timbre Media was formed? And what was the thought process behind the launch?

Timbre Media was formed in 2010 by the erstwhile employees of WorldSpace India, to continue the legacy of world class radio programming that we provided through WorldSpace to our listeners.


Q: What is the team size? Timbre Media is currently headquartered in Bangalore… Will you be setting up offices in other parts of the country too? When?

We are a team of around 80 people, spread across different Indian cities.


Q: Timbre Media specializes in programming radio contents for corporate entities, FM stations etc… Can you throw some light on the USP of Timbre Media? Also are you in talks with any FM station for radio content?

Timbre Media has the unique advantage of a talent pool that introduced subscription based radio service in India and popularized the concept of genre based radio programming in our country. Our content is different, rich and compelling. We have learnt a lot about the expectations and aspirations of our target customers in the last 10 years of our association with WorldSpace Satellite Radio and its elite customers who valued quality and variety.

We are in discussions with potential customers in every vertical that we are operating in.


Q: What is the business model of Timbre Media? Is it advertising-led or a subscription model?

Our business model is based on our philosophy that is to provide customized content that is different, rich and compelling and monetize the same in the best possible manner. It could be advertisement- or subscription-based depending on the vertical and the ecosystem we are operating in.


Q: How many channels are in the offing? Which genres will you be offering? Will news also be part of it?

We can’t say at this moment how many and what types of channels we will be offering. As I said, it is a function of the vertical and the prevailing ecosystem. We are focusing on providing customized content solutions to various customers and it could vary from one to the other. We are not averse to a particular type of programming or platform.


Q: When are these channels scheduled to launch? Will it be only through mobile or will one be able to access them on the internet and DTH as well?

We are not averse to any programming or platform. We are interested in utilizing our experience and expertise to meet the aspirations of the end user by using every available opportunity and monetizing the same to ensure the growth of Timbre Media.


Q: Whom do you consider as competition?

As such I do not think there is anyone who has the same experience and expertise that we have, and provide the same products and services that we offer.


Q: How has 2012 welcomed Timbre Media? What are your growth plans?

We have made considerable progress in the last two years. Thank God and the committed and passionate team that Timbre have, we have done extremely well compared to most of the start-up enterprises. We want to be a unique media enterprise that touches every customer who values quality audio content through all possible platforms and devices in the next 5 years.


Q: Any specific trends you see in the Indian radio industry, particularly in the internet and mobile space?

Radio industry is growing, and listeners are appreciating quality content for which they are willing to pay. The technology and platforms are enhancing the ecosystem every day and enabling the consumer to get what he wants, in the way he wants at the time he wants.


Q: Also, should traditional radio begin to worry with your entry?

There is sufficient space for everyone to co-exist and grow. Rather than worrying, we need to identify areas of partnerships that lead to mutual benefit and faster growth and work towards realizing the full potential of the audio medium.


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