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XM Goes Commercial Free!


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#1 of 76 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 07 2004 - 09:29 AM

Well I'll be dipped! This is the contents of an e-mail I just got. I sure hope that no one is pulling my chain!

This is great news! I love the content on XM, and just added a second radio, but I HATE COMMERCIALS.

I guess they are listenning!

BGL
-------
Dear XM Subscriber:

First, from all of us at XM, thank you for being a valued member of the XM family.

From every vantage point XM had a spectacular 2003. Ending the year with over 1.36 million subscribers, XM Satellite Radio is one of the fastest growing entertainment media ever. Building on this tremendous momentum, we're delighted to announce several programming content enhancements in 2004 we know you're going to love.

First, XM will offer 100% COMMERCIAL-FREE MUSIC beginning February 1st. With 68 commercial-free music channels, XM will deliver the most commercial-free music in satellite radio. From Rock to Jazz, Classical to Hip-Hop, Country to R&B, you'll now enjoy more of the music you love, without commercial interruption.

Complementing the move to 100% commercial-free music will be the debut of exciting new channels, including:
* Highway 16 - Today's top Country Hits - Ch. 16
* The Blend - Adult Contemporary Hits - Ch. 25
* Fungus - Punk Rock - Ch. 53
* Lucy - Classic Alternative Hits - Ch. 54
* MSNBC - Global and national news - Ch. 130

We are also pleased to announce the launch of XM INSTANT TRAFFIC & WEATHER. Powered by Traffic Pulse and The Weather Channel, XM Instant Traffic & Weather will offer listeners in-depth, up-to-date information about road and weather conditions in 21 major metropolitan markets nationwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing greater detail and more frequent updates than available elsewhere on the radio. The first 15 metropolitan markets are available beginning March 1st. You can visit http://traffic.xmradio.com to hear report samples and learn more about this wonderful new XM service.

There's more good news. 100% Commercial-free music, exciting new programming content, Instant Traffic & Weather - all will be included as part of your basic subscription. There are no new charges or fees.

To accommodate these many exciting enhancements, some channels will change number, category, and/or format, or will be eliminated.
* MTV (ch. 25) and VH1 (ch. 26) will move from Hits to Variety (ch. 155 and 156, respectively).
* Spirit (ch. 63) will move from Urban to Christian (ch. 33)
* Fine Tuning (ch. 104) will move from World to Rock (ch. 49)
* XM Live (ch. 168) will move from Variety to Hits (ch. 26)
* We will no longer carry Special X (ch. 30), Aguila (ch. 90), Vibra (ch. 92), and Tejano (ch. 93).

A new channel lineup card will be mailed to you later this month. For more information about all the changes and to view a new channel lineup immediately, please visit http://lineup.xmradio.com.

Thank you again for your valued patronage and for making XM #1 in Satellite Radio.

Best Regards,
The XM Team

#2 of 76 ONLINE   Joshua Clinard

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Posted January 07 2004 - 09:33 AM

Sirius must have really put the heat on for them to have made that move.

#3 of 76 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 07 2004 - 09:36 AM

Probably a contributing factor to be sure, but I think their subscribers probably put the most heat on them.

I can now recommend XM to my friends without ANY reservations or qualifications.

BGL

#4 of 76 OFFLINE   Dave Bennett

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Posted January 07 2004 - 09:38 AM

On Sirius are all the stations commercial free or is it just the music channels? Either way, I'm pumped at the new lineup(Lucy should be fantastic IMHO, and though I am sad to see Special X go, I'll live Posted Image As long as the sound quality doesn't take a hit, I'll be quite happy.
Regards,
Dave

#5 of 76 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 07 2004 - 09:59 AM

Quote:
Sirius must have really put the heat on for them to have made that move.

No, I'd say the members did. XM Radio was facing
bad feedback for its commercial airplay (including
an article I recently posted, though I take no credit).

If you frequented XMFAN.COM you saw the many threads
from members who complained about commercials.

This puts Sirius in a very bad position as the
playing field is now even and XM has far better
music programming.

XM even added something comperable to Sirius Radio's
Movin' Easy, which is great news.

Still, I am rooting for the underdog. I want Sirius
Radio to be even better than it is now.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#6 of 76 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 07 2004 - 10:08 AM

Quote:
Still, I am rooting for the underdog. I want Sirius Radio to be even better than it is now.


Oh come on Ron, you didn't sell your XM gear did you????

Just put it all back in the car and all will be forgivenPosted Image

BGL

#7 of 76 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted January 07 2004 - 12:51 PM

great news for us in the XM community!!! Posted Image

#8 of 76 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted January 07 2004 - 01:13 PM


Awesome news, indeed! Thanks, XM!!
Posted Image


#9 of 76 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted January 07 2004 - 01:16 PM

more good discussion here....
Programming Changes, Traffic/Weather, and MORE!

http://xmradio.com/lineup/index.jsp

#10 of 76 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted January 07 2004 - 02:08 PM

Quote:

Still, I am rooting for the underdog. I want Sirius
Radio to be even better than it is now.

Seriously, as long as SIRIUS has a 7 year exclusive package for the NFL, I don't think they are in danger of going anywhere Posted Image
My Current DVD-Profiler


"I've been Ostrafied!" - Christopher, Sopranos 5/6/07

#11 of 76 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted January 07 2004 - 02:11 PM

While it is nice that XM is going comercial free, they are canceling one of my favorite channels: Special X

Personally, neither of the anouncements improve the services much for me and downgrade the stations that I listen to the most. XM Music Lab now has to share time with Jam Bands. Fine Tuning may change formats, which would ruin the perfect balance that they have right now. Sirius doesn't add anything new, really.

I guess both companies want me to cancel my subscription...

Jason

#12 of 76 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted January 07 2004 - 02:50 PM

Quote:
Seriously, as long as SIRIUS has a 7 year exclusive package for the NFL, I don't think they are in danger of going anywhere Posted Image


I agree I think the NFL will still exist in 7 years Posted Image

Jason I don't know if you saw this posted by Ziggy at XMfan
http://www.xmfan.com...pic.php?t=16982
Quote:
In case you missed it when I mentioned it before, but instead of a dedicated channel to "odd" stuff, LOU BRUTUS will work on special stuff for the various other channels. So in essence, the odd stuff will be distributed to other channels and more closely resemble the genres its on.
while it does not make up for the fact the dedicated channel will not exist at least some of the programming may pop up elsewhere. Also if you don't like the decision I urge you as a subscriber to let your voice be heard to the powers that be. This thread proves they have to be listening at least a little

#13 of 76 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 07 2004 - 08:39 PM

I have to say that Instant Traffic & Weather
is a fantastic addition -- especially for those
of us that commute.

Yes, I still own some XM gear. While I got rid
of the Alpine (XM) stereo, I do have a Delphi SkyFi
plugged into the AUX of a Kenwood (Sirius) receiver.

I subscribe to both.

 

Ronald J Epstein
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#14 of 76 ONLINE   Joshua Clinard

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Posted January 08 2004 - 01:39 AM

I agree 100% Jim. XM axed commercails because of it's competitor, not it's subscribers. Their churn must have been higer than usual.

#15 of 76 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted January 08 2004 - 02:53 AM

Quote:
while it does not make up for the fact the dedicated channel will not exist at least some of the programming may pop up elsewhere.

Yes, I did read that, but there's a lot of stuff that was played on that channel that doesn't fit well on other stations. I'm sure Dr. Demento and Wax My Woody will find new homes, but other stuff, I don't know.

Also, it also means one less channel for me to listen to, since I have absolutly no interest in what XM added to their lineup. I'm also worried about the changes to XM Music Lab (less prog rock, more jam bands) and Fine Tuning (Moving it from World to Rock sounds like programming changes). If both of those change too much, I might have to leave.

Quote:
Also if you don't like the decision I urge you as a subscriber to let your voice be heard to the powers that be.

Already done last night.

Quote:
XM axed commercails because of it's competitor, not it's subscribers.


While there were probably many reasons for it, I don't think Sirius was a major one. It wouldn't surprise me if that the money they made wasn't worth the trouble...

Jason

#16 of 76 OFFLINE   Matt Gordon

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Posted January 08 2004 - 03:57 AM

It would appear to me that Fine Tuning is simply changing categories and channel number -- not programming. This sort of thing has been done a number of times in the past.

Also, I would not look for XM to raise prices. Just my opinion.

My concern is that XM will move the commercials over to the non-music channles, such as the comedy channels.

I look forward to listening to Imus In The Morning on MSNBC while driving to work!
Spoiler tags are cool.

#17 of 76 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 08 2004 - 04:24 AM

XM was under a lot of pressure from their
subscribers. Take a look at XMFAN.COM and
you'll see many complaints about commercials.

It's not the fault of the people that originally
joined XM. The commercials just increased.

If I made it sound as if XM's decision was based
solely on its subscriber base, I apologize. I do
realize that XM was looking to up the ante. But
I also know that over the past year, XM had lost
many subscribers to Sirius because listeners were
tired of the increased commercial pollution.
In fact, the day I called XM to cancel one of
my accounts (I had just got Sirius) they asked
me why I was cancelling. After I told them it
was because of commercials, the operator told me
that they were getting a lot of complaints.


 

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#18 of 76 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 08 2004 - 05:33 AM

Quote:
The very existence of Sirius and the public's response to it (especially over the holidays) forced XM's move yesterday.


So what? Why does it matter?

Competition is good. Now Sirius needs to either lower their fee, OR add better programming to justify the existing price structure. Thats how things work around these parts; compete or die.

As Ron said, the user complaints were not that there were any commercials (we ALL knew it was not commercial free when we signed up), but that they were getting much more intrusive.

And if they had announed that they had to raise their fee by $3/month to do it, I would have said fine; its worth it to me. Maybe not everyone would agree, but to me it would be a small price to pay to have access to 100% commercial free music.

Until yesterday, I advised friends to look carefully at both systems simply because I was concerned that XM was on a slippery slope.

Now I can suggest XM without reservation.

I think it will be good that both services remain viable, as it will result on a better product for us lowly consumers.

BGL

#19 of 76 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 08 2004 - 05:43 AM

Want to know how to REALLY come out #1?

Streamline the channel line-up to free up
enough bandwidth to offer CD quality audio.

The service that does THAT will be the pot
of gold at the end of the rainbow.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#20 of 76 OFFLINE   Matt Gordon

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Posted January 08 2004 - 06:48 AM

Quote:
...it looks more likely their true motivation lies somewhere else.

Like competing in the marketplace and increasing profits?
Who'da thought a business would EVER try that!!! Posted Image


Quote:
Want to know how to REALLY come out #1?

Streamline the channel line-up to free up
enough bandwidth to offer CD quality audio.

The service that does THAT will be the pot
of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Ron, I would have totally agreed with that statement a few years ago, but now I'm not sure I can.

Look at the popularity of low bit-rate mp3's. I'm not sure the average consumer really cares about audio fidelity like we do. Additionally, most people right now are using an FM modulator or cassette tape adapter to get the satellite signal into their car system, thereby negating the CD quality of the stream itself.
Spoiler tags are cool.


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