A Flight to Satellite
The two largest satellite radio companies -- XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) -- together will add about 11.8 new subscribers per minute during 2006.
If those companies continue adding customers, as forecasted, they'll have about 15.5 million satellite radio subscribers by the end of 2006.
Sirius says it will add 2.7 million, and Standard & Poor’s predicts XM will add about 3.5 million net subs in 2006.
Infinity Radio, the Viacom unit, has responded to satellite competition by rebranding 21 of its major market stations as "Free FM", as if to remind folks that something better might cost them a few bucks.
Clear Channel, another terrestrial radio giant, has suddenly figured out that fewer radio commercials allows you to charge more per spot -- and listeners aren't as likely to switch stations. Had it not been for XM and Sirius, who knows what they would have done? Maybe an "all-commercial, no music" format?
— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading