A Flight to Satellite

12:01 AM -- There's something to this satellite radio thing.

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

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straight shooter 12/5/2012 | 4:05:33 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite After being an XM subscriber for 6 months now, I can say satellite radio is far superior than even the best FM stations in the best markets here in the U.S. I have a simple hook up in my car and a THX system in my home office--just plug and unplug the receiver back and forth. It is great! Now when I listen to regular radio I am sickened. I can't believe that I used to listen to such jibberish.
DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:05:31 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite I totally agree.

And because satellite channels are not being pressed to deliver big ratings is that they seem to feel free to make their music playlists really interesting.

Pretty cool.

Lite Rock 12/5/2012 | 4:05:31 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite The Genie is truly out of the bottle. With the advantage of Sat. Radio over land based that you mention, does anyone think there be a point that pressure for A La Carte offerings occurs?

Is the only likely A La Carte offering the value add?? like Pay Per View on the Telly?

I think that Sat. TV has reached the base cost/value threshold that now drives the A La Cart movement. For the same reasons you mentioned they have a vested interest in keeping that movement at bay.

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:05:31 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite With Sat radio, you can block channels that you don't want.

I'm a Sirius subscriber and I have an S50 player and it allows two interesting features: (1) The ability to block channels and (2) The ability to create presets so that my virtual radio dial is trimmed to the 10 or 12 stations (out of 120) that I listen to most.

Bottom line: I don't think you NEED a la carte options if the price for programming is reasonable (and it is for satellite radio) AND you have features to narrow down your personal choices.

FYI, here are my previous boos and bravos on the S50 device itself:

1. http://www.lightreading.com/do...
2. http://www.lightreading.com/do...

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:05:30 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite Thanks for the advice.

valleyguy 12/5/2012 | 4:05:30 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite You guys should do a site for consumer electronics. This site and the unstrung and b&s sites are too oriented towards hardware and gear and gadgets and don't talk enough about interesting businesses around how consumers or users actually use all of this technology. Digital media is going wireless--duh...everyone including you knows that. But because there is so much going on in that space, should it be a dedicated site? I think so. I'd read it! Thanks in advance.
DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:05:30 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite re: "Buy an iPOD, all the music that you could ever listen to at your finger tips. Libraries have CD's to copy; friends; MP3 share tools."

You're still sort of making my point. Folks are running away from traditional radio, by hook or crook.

They might be stealing music or humming to themselves. What they're not doing is tolerating 15 mins of commericals in every hour of music.


roybean 12/5/2012 | 4:05:30 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite $180 a year to listen to radio ?
$xxx for a receiver in the car ?

Music / talk shows, less commericals, wow. And Howard Stern, I forgot. Free radio has a commerical, hit a preprogram button on the radio, next channel.

Buy an iPOD, all the music that you could ever listen to at your finger tips. Libraries have CD's to copy; friends; MP3 share tools.

I just don't get it. Unless I travel across state daily, salesman / truck driver, I don't get reason to subscribe. In my car commuting 1 hour a day; maybe if my butt is in my car for 2-3 hours plus a day, maybe, but I don't get the reason to subscribe for another monthly bill.
blackdiamond 12/5/2012 | 4:05:29 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite Sat radio offers many benefits for fairly low money. No commericals is huge as many radio stations are giving you as little as 48 minutes/hour of music. Plus, the formatting means you get to listen to the same stuff over and over again and good luck if you want a decent specialized station. If you are a sports fan you can listen to the hometown broadcast which is appealing and the amount of news and information sources is tremendous.

Frankly, for people to complain that they don't like having to pay ten to twelve bucks a month because they only listen to a few stations is rather bitchy. A month of Sirius is equal to three trips to Starbucks for one's favorite metrosexual drink or two glasses of overpriced wine.
telco1158 12/5/2012 | 4:05:29 AM
re: A Flight to Satellite Bean,
From a personal perspective, I completely agree. I just don't see enough value for me to warrant another bill to pay.

Although I do think their business model is sustainable, because it adds value to enough people. Plain radio will have serious competition that won't be going away any time soon.

That's not to say there isn't the breed of people who will pay even if it offered little value. They get the latest PDA, cellphone, ring tone, etc, etc, while going from paycheck to paycheck. Then at the end of the month they complain they don't have money for food. But they sure look cool with all their new gadgets.
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