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When it signed Howard Stern last year, Sirius radio picked up a lot of subscribers, but the satellite radio provider still couldn't catch rival XM which sits atop of the subscriber satellite radio heap. Sirius' new six million subscribers represented a huge jump, but XM is closing out 2006 with 7.9 million. The New York Times is now reporting that Sirius might follow the old adage: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Sirius has apparently supported the idea of a merger for a while, but XM has refused to comment thus far. Because there is a lot of overlap in their offerings and because they have similar organizations, merging would lower costs and help boost the stock price, presumably. And that's where these decisions tend to be made, in the accountants' ledgers.

More info after the jump.

[Source: New York Times via Kicking Tires]

If the two join, the roster of celebrities available to customers would include Stern, Martha Stewart, Deepak Chopra, and Richard Simmons from the Sirius camp, while XM would add Bob Dylan, Ellen Degeneres, and Oprah Winfrey, among others. Subscribers would also get to hear every Major League Baseball, NBA, NFL, and NHL game, NASCAR races, as well as PGA golf tournaments.

The growth of satellite has been pretty strong but hasn't exactly matched the hype. Not a lot of subscribers actually go out and purchase a satellite receiver, instead they are usually people who got a system when they bought a new car and have extended their trial memberships. Not having to choose one over the other might make aftermarket sales of satellite radio-ready consumer devices go up. At least that's the hope.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm with Will on this one. Economists and so-called "business analysts" have been saying satellite radio would not catch on back when XM hit the two million mark. I could see an XM/Sirius merger, but wouldn't that constitute a monopoly since there is no way a rival company could compete unless it had state support? Satellite radio is not expensive, and I am aiming to purchase a satellite radio installation kit in the near future. Terrestrial radio is a burden with 30% of the air time being for commercials.
      • 8 Years Ago
      XM lost Nascar to Sirius and does not have the growth rate of Sirius.

      Also Sirius has commercial free music, XM can not say the same thing as many of their music channel have commercials thanks to ClearChannel partial ownership.

      XM is losing executive left, right and center.
      Oprah's XM deals is not getting women to sign up, that's for sure.

      Stern was Radio, FM Radio is dead and O&A and Adam/Danny are not pulling 10% of Stern listenership, he had 2 years ago.

      Long live Sirius
      • 8 Years Ago
      Isn't sirius owned by Ford? Anyway, Sirius has NASCAR coming soon. It seems like they need to wait it out and see how that goes.
      Greg A.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #3 "It can now become a reality now that they have the 'High-Def' radio market to compete against. Any spec about it before would have been stopped by anti-trust laws."

      Say what? Even if you can't figure out why your reasoning is flawed, consider this: DISH Network made the highest offer for DirecTV when DirecTV was put up for sale a few years ago. The Feds didn't give that merger the green light.

      "I wonder how they would integrate the services of both - you would probably have to upgrade the consumer recievers - which would really stink for us."

      Nope. They would just simulcast whatever programming they would have in common over the two different systems. It would be interesting to see if the company that would arise from a merger would stop selling either XM or Sirius radios, and if they wouldn't, how they would differentiate the two types of receivers for consumers. Perhaps it would continue to offer Sirius to people who want to listen to Howard Stern and XM to people who want to be absolutely certain their kids can't listen to him.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It can now become a reality now that they have the "High-Def" radio market to compete against. Any spec about it before would have been stopped by anti-trust laws.

      A merger would lower costs...but only if they were to shut down some of the operations on one side. Also, I wonder how they would integrate the services of both - you would probably have to upgrade the consumer recievers - which would really stink for us.

      Thanks for covering this NEWS as is develops and changes.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is not news. It's Sirius propoganda.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Guess Howard Stern will make even more money.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's amazing how Stern is such a hack, but still gets credit because people swear that his show is the same as it was 20 years ago. Satellite radio will never become mainstream, Stern will just disappear into obscurity as he has been doing in the past year since moving to Sirius. Go ahead and keep believing his Howie math of adding 5 million subscribers single-handedly. His show now caters to those same rubes that tune into American Idol.
      • 8 Years Ago
      With the rate that Sirius is adding subscribers why would they ever consider jumping on the sinking ship that is XM?

      Stern is the most entertaining thing on any radio and just about single handidly caused the big jump in Sirius subscribers - he must be doing something right!

      Tom [Sirius subscriber for the past 3.5 years]
      • 8 Years Ago
      "I know too many consumers who want one service but end up buying a car that offers only the other. Though it might seem minor, these consumers are not happy that they can't have their service in their new car or that they had take an unwanted included piece of hardware(albeit, often thrown in for free, in reality) while having to listen to their preferred service on an aftermarket solution."

      Yup, i was very disheartened to learn i couldn't equip my new camry hybrid with sirius, oh well, i'll use xm for traffic updates to the GPS (hopefully) and nothing else. aftermarket for sirius. fun. I guess that's what i get for not buying a vw for once (the jetta, passat and gti all having sirius).
      • 8 Years Ago
      As much as content might suffer with a merger, it would take a merger for me to finally get a satellite radio. I want MLB & NFL. I'm not going to choose one over the other - if I'm paying, give me both.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Here's a good article talking about why this won't happen:

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