• Jul 12, 2006
Apparently the industry is tired of talking about the potential alliance between General Motors and Nissan/Renault, so we've moved on to a new potential alliance, that of Sirius and XM. Both companies comprise the only players in the satellite radio business, so if the two were to pair up the resulting company would have quite the monopoly. It's not a monopoly of much, as neither company has been able to turn a profit since each began.
Speculation about a possible pair up began when Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin told a group of investors that "we'd love to buy" XM. That's a pretty bold statement considering XM has 7 million subscribers to Sirius's 4.7 million. As we reported, Sirius is closing the gap thanks to its acquisition of Howard Stern in January, but is still a ways off from surpassing XM's subscriber base.

A Sirius/XM two-headed monster would serve to protect both companies against the onslaught of new technology that threatens each. iPods, cell phones, and various digital music devices are all competing for similar consumers. Both satellite radio companies have new-vehicle buyers to thank for the bulk of their subscribers, so if Apple wanted to deal a crushing blow it'd start giving away Nanos with new car purchases. Somehow we doubt that's ever going to happen.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Me and a group of my friends + coworkers all have satellite radio, some xm, some sirius (sirius rocks) and we all agree that if these 2 companys merge not one thing will change in the way of programming or any noticable difference to the 2 brands just all the cash will go to one single company instead of 2, the reasoning behind this is all the djs and all the songs that are already paid for and all the programming is basically set, they just repeat songs every 24 hours or less... sooo if this might be true i hope it dont happen cause competition keeps the pot stirred if there is no competition they wont care about new things or changes in programming or fighting over your hard earned dollars !!and basically say f-them we already got there money !
      • 7 Years Ago
      I work at Best Buy in Danvers, MA. I have talked with both sirius and xm reps on more than one occassion. There will never be a merge between the two companies unless a third company is created. The reason for this is because if the two were to merge without a third rival company, there would be a monopoly and there would be no one to stop them from raising prices on subscriptions, recievers, etc. By the way, when sirius first came about, around 8 of 10 people went to xm, simply because the name was slightly more well known. In the past 2 years or so however,the numbers have completely reversed and 8 of 10 people buy sirius. Howard Stern had very little to do with sirius' number increase. If anything, he increased the numbers for xm because the people who despise him would rather not give him money.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So many people are afraid of Howard Stern. Oh, they might go on and on about how "they dont give a crap about him", or how "he is an overpaid idiot", but in the end they are still talking about him and mentioning his name. Get over it and face the facts. Stern is not the ONLY reason for Sirius's popularity, but he sure as hell is ONE of the reasons. SIRIUS ROCKS, STERN RULES and XM can only try to keep up. I say that the merger would be a terrible deal. I personally own both of them, and carry the two subscriptions. SIRIUS, please do not merge yet. XM is failing quickly and will be begging for help within two years. The writing started appearing on the wall last year when they started simulcasting some of their content with "testicular" radio. Sirius doesnt have to buy them at all. XM will be whoring themselves to Sirius by next winter.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't care what anyone says.. The merger will ruin Sirius.

      I started out with the XM Roady 2 kit and service, and was literally overwhelmed by commercials and service interruptions, not to mention signal loss. Also, I couldn't find a decent hard/modern rock channel if I tried to beat it out of it.

      I switched to Sirius at the end of my XM subscription, and couldn't be happier. I love Stern, I love Blue 103, Raw Dog Comedy, Octane, and Playboy, and Nascar. Comedy, Rock, Racing, and Sex talk.. wtf else do you want?!?!? XM's shitty programming will literally destroy Sirius' awesome service.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am a former DJ from a public radio station in Dallas. I have had XM for 3 years, and had Sirius for 6 months. I listen to XM12, Cross Country. This is where all the good music (and XM40's good too) is, if you like Texas Music/Americana. They don't play Nashville puke. The somewhat similar Sirius "Outlaw Country" channel is quite inferior, and they have very offensive, foul-mouthed DJs. XM 13 - Willie's Place - is way better than the Sirius classic country offering. The 50s and 60s channels on XM are also better than the Sirius "decades" channels. XM5 features an awesome program called "Rockabilly Roadtrip" complete with historical facts and info to compliment the tunes. XM 12 also broadcasts many live music shows and concerts. Stern is a cultural pimple, and I no longer send any $ to Sirius.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #4, I understand your point, but most people get XM (or Sirius) because they can't find an *FM* station that plays "good music". To many people who live in crappy radio markets, satellite radio is a godsend.

      I live in the Washington DC area, and it's the worst big-city radio market in the entire US. Your choices here are basically limited to political talk, religious talk, all-news talk, Rap/Hip-Hop, Country, Spanish, and lame oldies pop. There's really no rock/pop, and what there is they talk too much and cater to an older demographic. Plenty of colleges in the area, but no college radio/alternative, or independents. It's all totally corporatized, canned radio from Clear Channel and Bonneville. We even have multiple NPR stations that play the same programs simultaneously, which makes no sense.

      #17, I see your point, but again it depends on the market you live in. I already have access to too much "Talk", so I got XM so I could finally listen to music again. And I'm finally hearing new music and buying CDs and downloads again.

      (Sadly missing 99.1'HFS, from the old days...)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Actually, I work at an Acura dealership and we ARE giving away iPod Nanos with new cars, even though most already have XM as well.
      • 8 Years Ago
      read some orbitcast figures before you post like this. Stern has done little for Sirius. He may do more later but the "Stern Effect" only lasted for 2 months and it had a very small effect over all.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I know someone who just bought a Lexus IS and got a free Nano.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I hope they do merge. I like Sirius' channels better, but I sure would like to be able to get the Big 10 sports channels that XM managed to score.

      Also, I'm amazed at how many people won't by Sirius because they don't want to pay Howard's paycheck. Do these people have cable? Think of all the wackos, Stern included, that have earned a paycheck through cable subscriptions.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well I just got this in my email... So I called sirius and they said that the sirius name will be staying so that means... SIRIUS won!!! lol

      February 19, 2007

      To: SIRIUS Subscribers

      Today is a very exciting day for SIRIUS customers. As you may have heard, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio are merging to form the nation's premier audio entertainment provider.

      This combination of our two offerings will benefit you - our loyal listeners. As a single company, we'll provide superior programming to you every day with the best of both SIRIUS and XM. Currently, XM and SIRIUS broadcast a wide range of commercial-free music channels, exclusive sports coverage, news, talk, and entertainment programming. Howard Stern. Oprah and Friends. The NFL. MLB. NBA. ESPN. CNBC. Fox News. Additionally, the combined company will be able to improve existing services such as real-time traffic information and rear-seat video as well as introduce new ones.

      After shareholder and regulatory approvals, we anticipate that the combination will be finalized by the end of 2007. Until then, both companies will continue to operate independently. We will continue to provide you with the uninterrupted service - as well as the outstanding customer support - that you have come to expect and enjoy from SIRIUS. We do not anticipate any changes in your service during the merger process, however, please call our customer care team on 1- 888-539-7474 should you have any questions.

      We look forward to the many benefits this combination will offer and continuing to make your listening experience an enjoyable one - offering more of the Very Best Radio on Radio.

      Stay tuned,

      Mel Karmazin, CEO


      • 8 Years Ago
      Karmizan did not say that Sirius wants to purchase XM. From http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13773302/site/newsweek/: "I was asked the question. I answered it honestly. Certainly I'd be interested if a company is for sale, if the price is right and if regulators would allow it. In the case of satellite radio, it's hard to argue that strategically [buying XM] would fit. It's not something we're pursuing."

      Note that last 2 sentences. There's no strategic reason to purchase XM - IOW, XM doesn't have anything that Sirius wants, or that Sirius can't get.

      Sirius added twice as many subscribers as XM did in the second quarter. They've been crushing XM's growth for several quarters now. Stern is only the beginning. As of 2007, there is only one professional sport that XM will have exclusively - MLB. NASCAR, NHL, NFL are all on Sirius (the last 2 are already Sirius exclusives. NASCAR switches after this season). The content producers are hitching their wagons to the horse they think is the best platform.

      That sports contingent draw far more subscribers than any one entertainer/DJ/shock jock. My brother was gung-ho about XM, but if MLB ever goes to Sirius, I'm fairly sure he'll switch.

      I thought I was getting Sirius for only 2 reasons: NFL and Stern. Then I discovered all the other great programming. I'm literally overwhelmed with choices.

      Why must every discussion about Sirius come down to "Stern's a jackass" for some people? It's quickly approaching a Goodwin's Law for the 21st century. If you don't like him, don't listen to him. It's that simple. He's 1.5 channels out of over 120. Choosing XM over Sirius only because Sirius has one program that you don't like? I could make the same argument about Opie & Anthony on XM (who, BTW, can't draw, managed a paltry 35,000 listeners and had to go crawling back to FM in conjunction with the XM broadcast), but it would be similarly ridiculous. Why not choose the service based on the programming you WILL listen to instead?
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