Sirius Satellite Radio
There are product launches and then there are the Joe Clayton product launches. For a number of reasons, we'll take the latter almost any time.
It feels like satellite radio has been in Canada forever now. Virtually every new vehicle sold here has a satellite radio option while some even come with satellite radio standard. Whether it be Sirius or XM, satellite radio offers drivers hundreds of radio channels that are accessible virtually anywhere in North America-great for long distance road trips.
For those unfamiliar with satellite radio, it is an audio service available either in your vehicle, on your mobile device, or online.
Satellite radio seemed like a good idea a decade ago. That was before drivers had a wide array of alternatives to commercial-clogged AM and FM bands. But today, paying for satellite radio has become much less appealing, as gigabytes of music fit in the palm of your hand and smartphones with streaming services flood into vehicles. Former adversaries XM and Sirius merged to keep from crashing to Earth, and now the satellite radio conglomerate is looking to a new revenue stream to keep the company relevant and inside cars.
Sirius XM Radio on Tuesday reported strong results for its first quarter, with increased revenue and subscription numbers helped by improved car sales.
Sirius reported $805 million in revenue for the first three months of 2012, up 11 percent over the same period the year before, and $108 million in earnings, or 2 cents a share. The company added 405,000 subscribers in the quarter, reaching a high of 22.3 million. Sirius said it now expected to gain 1.5 million subscribers for the year, up from its earlier estimate of 1.3 million.
In this volatile corner of the media, SiriusXM faces a set of digital music competitors such as Pandora, Spotify, Slacker and Rhapsody that allow listeners to build custom stations to fit their own tastes. Clear Channel also is hitting back with its own personalized digital music service, called iHeartRadio. Those services have grown up primarily on the Web and mobile devices, where Sirius has but a small presence. Now, they're slowly muscling into SiriusXM's stronghold -the car. SiriusXM plans to beat these newcomers the same way it conquered FM radio
Joe Clayton knows his way around retail. He spent 25 years at RCA where, among many other things, he helped to usher in DirectTV. He was tapped to run Sirius Satellite Radio in its early days. About six months ago Clayton joined DISH Networks as CEO and, true to nature, he's ready to shake things up.
At the Liberty Media Corporation 2011 investor and analyst meeting on November 17th, Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin spoke for almost half an hour about the company he runs. Obviously, much of the talk was focused on the well-developed OEM channel that Sirius dominates and where nearly two out of every three new cars sold in the U.S. comes with a Sirius satellite radio installed in the dashboard. Part of that talk also focused on the future and where there were potential opportunities for diversification and expansion outside the OEM channel.