Sirius to Offer Stations a la carte?
Satellite radio customers will have the opportunity to pay only for the channels they want if federal regulators approve a proposed merger between Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, according to a Sirius securities filing.
The pressure has been on Sirius to prove how the merger, creating one satellite radio provider, will be beneficial to consumers since it announced the $4.7 billion offer last month. A similar merger, between TV satellite companies EchoStar Communications and DirecTV, was blocked unanimously by the FCC less than five years ago.
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin appeared before the House Antitrust Task Force earlier this month to assuage concerns about creating a monopoly, a term he vehemently refutes applying to the current merger. Karmazin vowed that Sirius would not raise prices and may even lower them. He also said he was open to the possibility of government price regulations, if only for a limited time. His point was that government mandates wouldn’t be required, as satellite radio needs to compete with iPods, HD Radio and other forms of in-car entertainment, much of it free.