Europe News: Fiat and Worldspace® sign distribution agreement for satellite radio

Europe News:  Fiat and Worldspace® sign distribution agreement for satellite radio

Fiat Group Automobiles and satellite radio broadcaster Worldspace®, along with its subsidiary Worldspace Italia, have signed a marketing agreement that will bring mobile satellite radio to Italy.

Under the agreement, Fiat will become the first automobile manufacturer to install and distribute Worldspace satellite radios in Italy, and Worldspace will offer broad-based satellite radio services, with digital quality.

Worldspace expects that, beginning in late-2008, it will start broadcasting throughout Italy through 40-50 channels of commercial-free music, news, entertainment and sports programming, 24 hours a day.

Worldspace’s programming will include a channel dedicated exclusively to Fiat, its dealers and customers, which will be used to offer both promotional and customer-assistance services.

In late-2009, Fiat will introduce Worldspace satellite radios as factory-installed optional equipment on certain of its Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia models, as well as Worldspace portable satellite radio receivers to customers through its aftermarket channel.

This agreement is the final significant step towards Worldspace’s European roll-out. According to co-chief operating officer Alexander Brown, Worldspace has secured the Italian Ministry of Communications’ authorisation to launch its subscription satellite radio service in Italy; has finalised the development of repeater technology that is fully compliant with EU technical requirements; and has engaged Telecom Italia to design Worldspace’s terrestrial network and begin installation of the repeaters.

WORLDSPACE’s European strategy is to roll out its service on a sequential, country-by-country basis. In addition to Italy, the company’s target markets include France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Turkey and Poland.

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