Audio's Future is in the Air
For many retailers, audio needs a hero. Super Audio CD (SACD) and DVD-Audio (DVD-A) have been a huge disappointment for CE and music retailers. But hope can be found in other technologies. The bounding success of satellite radio and the burgeoning promise of HD Radio is giving reason for consumers to love audio again, and giving the retailer an additional profit generator.
At CES, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio announced strong positions in their market, with XM ending 2004 with just over 3.2 million subscribers to its service, leading its rival, which ended the year with 1.1 million.
Seven hundred thousand of XM's subscribers were added in the fourth quarter—50,000 activations were registered on Christmas day. Hugh Panero, president and CEO of XM, says that in 2004, 3.5 million factory-to-dealer shipments of satellite receivers were made and he predicted large growth in 2005 at seven million shipments. "We see this becoming a one billion dollar industry," he said.