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XM, Still One Step Ahead of Sirius


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#1 of 25 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 29 2005 - 12:26 AM

XM, Still One Step Ahead of Sirius
Rivals Vie for Audience's Divided Attention

By Annys Shin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 29, 2005; Page D01

Until recently, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and its rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. were engaged in a tit-for-tat, deal-for-deal face-off. Sirius landed the NFL; XM responded with baseball. XM signed an exclusive deal with General Motors Corp.; Sirius partnered with DaimlerChrysler AG. XM scored former NPR Morning Edition host Bob Edwards; Sirius lured away shock jock Howard Stern from terrestrial radio giant Infinity Broadcasting.

But for all the billions the two companies have committed to differentiating themselves from each other, they are increasingly following similar business strategies, analysts say. And that might not be a bad thing for the satellite radio business, which while growing rapidly, has so far attracted only a tiny portion of the 193 million people market research firm NDP Group estimates listen to traditional radio. Satellite radio subscribers pay a monthly fee to receive more than 100 channels, including music, news, talk and sports.



Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. is among the talent XM Satellite Radio signed to host shows. (By John Harrington -- Pr Newswire)
Analysts expect XM and Sirius to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of their operations in the next two years. But as the two companies move into the home, laptop and personal music player, they are vying for consumers' attention with podcasts, online radio and downloaded music. Which prompts the question: Will satellite radio's audience be eroded by whiz-bang gadgets before the industry escapes the red?

A recent NPD Group survey found that more people still listen to downloaded music than satellite radio. But the satellite radio audience is likely to grow as deals the two companies have made with automakers start to generate a critical mass. April Horace, an analyst for Hoefer & Arnett Inc., estimates the total number of satellite radio subscribers will reach 20 million in five years.

So far, so good. D.C.-based XM, for example, reported yesterday that its second-quarter loss narrowed and revenue more than doubled. It added 647,226 subscribers during the quarter and expects to hit 6 million by year's end. Sirius, based in New York, will report earnings Aug. 2.

XM remains dominant, thanks to an edge in technology that dates back to 2002, when XM launched its service -- a year earlier than Sirius. That lead has helped XM attract 4.4 million subscribers, compared with 1.5 million for Sirius. The differences between the two companies may not remain stark for long. The same outfit now manufactures microchips for both companies. The two companies now charge subscribers the same monthly fee -- $12.95. And to the average consumer strolling down the aisle at Best Buy, "the products being offered are not a ton different from either company," said Jason Helfstein, an analyst with CIBC World Markets.

"The biggest differences today are in technology and content. Both advantages will start to disappear over time," Helfstein said. "They're both going in the same direction."

XM and Sirius are still betting that most of their customers will tune in when they're behind the wheel. The technology of satellite radio "is designed for vehicles," said Jim Collins, a Sirius spokesman who cites the same figures as analysts: There are 220 million cars on the road today and 16 million to 17 million new cars sold each year.

By now, most of the major automakers are committed to offering one service or both, but it will be at least five years before automobile sales will be the primary source of new subscriptions, Helfstein said. XM now draws half its subscribers from the auto market and half from the retail market, said spokesman David Butler. Sirius draws more of its subscribers from the retail side, Collins said.

While they wait for subscriptions to pick up among drivers, the two companies want to expose more people to satellite radio when they're at home, shopping or online. Lately, this strategy has led to big-name partnerships such as Sirius's announcement in June that it would provide content to Sprint cell phones. Last week, XM and Samsung Electronics Co. said they plan to introduce a digital music player with satellite radio in time for the holiday shopping season. The device will work in conjunction with an online music store exclusively for XM subscribers hosted by Napster. Sirius is hoping to offer a digital music player with satellite radio by then, too, Kit Spring, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus and Co., said in a July 26 research note.

The next frontier is likely video, said Sean P. Butson, a Legg Mason analyst. For months, Sirius officials have said they plan to offer video service, most likely for kids in the back seat, starting next year. Analysts expect XM to make use of broadcast spectrum it agreed to acquire earlier this month for video and more data services. Butson said the two companies could spend 2006 vying for the favors of SpongeBob SquarePants.

XM reported second-quarter revenue of $125.5 million, compared with $53 million for the comparable period a year earlier. The company had a loss of $146.6 million (70 cents per share), compared with $166 million (84 cents ) for the second quarter of 2004.

http://www.washingto....072801951.html

 

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#2 of 25 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted July 29 2005 - 02:34 AM

Not sure I completely agree with them on this. The philosophy of programming their music stations are very different, and I don't expect it to change too much. That's going to be one of the major differences between the services for a long time. Sure, some of the content in general is going to be similar, but I think the specifics are going to be what differentiate services. I also don't see Sirius catching up technology-wise for a while yet. They still seem behind the curve. Jason

#3 of 25 OFFLINE   Steve Phillips

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Posted August 09 2005 - 03:03 AM

Wait until you know who goes on the air.

#4 of 25 OFFLINE   Stephen L

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Posted August 13 2005 - 07:54 AM

Richard Simmons ? :wink:

#5 of 25 OFFLINE   TedT

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Posted August 18 2005 - 10:27 AM

XM will always be behind Sirius as long as Sirius has the King Of ALL MEDIA: Howard Stern

#6 of 25 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 18 2005 - 09:30 PM

Ted, that's borderline laughable. Sirius may have a helluva talk line-up (and I think Opie and Anthony are fathoms ahead of Stern as far as talent), but XM excels in their music programming.

 

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#7 of 25 OFFLINE   Todd Hostettler

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Posted August 19 2005 - 03:01 AM

Tell 'em, Fred. Hoo hoo hoo.

#8 of 25 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 19 2005 - 04:10 AM

Hahaha! O&A rule!

 

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#9 of 25 OFFLINE   Tom Brennan

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Posted August 19 2005 - 06:29 PM

I can't stand O&A, they are just Stern clones to me. I tried to give them a shot when they were on regular radio...but I couldn't take more than 5 minutes. You can tell by the way they talk they were raised on Stern. Just my opinion of course, but for my money, the Stern show has never been funnier. O & A crawled to XM, cause they had nowhere else to go, Stern went because he felt that was the best place for him. The only reason I am going to get into Satellite Radio is because of Stern, and I am sure there are a lot more people like me who are just waiting. I have been holding off actually subcribing to Sirius simply because their equiptment is bulky and cheap looking. I am hoping they will release a new line before Stern starts broadcasting in January. I think it will be interesting this time next year to see where the two companies are.
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#10 of 25 OFFLINE   Joe McCabe

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Posted August 20 2005 - 04:55 AM

Good God, do Stern fans EVER have something else to bring to the table, other than that patented tripe that's reguratated over and over again? You're just repeating what Howard has told you. That "crawled to XM" is the most pathetic argument you guys use. It's really just annoying at this point. Bring an original thought to the table, PLEASE!!

#11 of 25 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 20 2005 - 05:35 AM


Want to know the truth of the matter?

It was Sirius that wanted Opie and
Anthony from the beginning -- long before they
were wooing Howard Stern.

As O&A have discussed on their show many times,
Sirius was begging them to sign. When O&A went
to Sirius Radio headquarters and saw that their
studio setup was greatly inferior to what they
had expected, they quickly decided that they wanted
to go to XM Radio.

Sirius then turned around and did some damage
control by putting out a Press Release that the
company was not interested in the team.

As far as the old argument is concerned about
everyone ripping off Howard Stern is concerned....

I'll admit Stern was an innovator of Shock Radio.
However, sooner or later it was inevitable that
others would copy the format. It's the same way
that anything innovative today eventually gets
copied by someone else.

O&A were two guys who admittedly grew up on
Stern. Instead of copying what Stern had created,
they refined Shock Radio to their own talents.
If you listen to O&A you find that there is a lot
of originality in their act that goes beyond what
Stern has ever done.

...and actually, when you really think about
it, when Stern does appear on Satellite radio he
will be copying everything that Opie and Anthony
have done already. It's actually O&A that reinvented
shock radio on satellite and have already broken
barriers that Stern hasn't even begun to explore.

 

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#12 of 25 OFFLINE   Tom Brennan

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Posted August 20 2005 - 07:10 AM

That's laughable coming from an O&E fan. Not to mention the fact that Stern never talks about them. Anytime I hear a fan of theirs defend their "talents", it's just repeating what they told you....Hooknose is old, we're young, he stopped being funny years ago, blah, blah...so please don't lecture me on the art of reguratation. And of course you are entitled to defend a show you love, just as I am. Like I said, I gave it chance...I am not just a Stern robot...what I heard did nothing for me. They did sound like exact copies of Stern and the furthest thing from innovators.
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#13 of 25 OFFLINE   Blu

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Posted August 20 2005 - 08:08 AM

If only Dan and Scott had made the jump from Eyada.com to Satellite radio when Eyada folded. Internet radio was never funnier. They were true pioneers and innovators who will forever be unknown by all except for a few thousand who were able to enjoy their show at Talkspot.com and Eyada.com. The hardest core Stern fan or Opie and Anthony fan would have to give D&S plenty of respect. They invented uncensored radio on April Fool's day 1996.

#14 of 25 OFFLINE   Tom Brennan

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Posted August 20 2005 - 08:15 AM

I think I speak for everyone else here when I say....who?
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#15 of 25 OFFLINE   Joe McCabe

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Posted August 20 2005 - 08:16 AM

Do you even think about the logic behind a statement like that before you spew it out? Or do you just parrot it, because it's what Stern has been squawking? Satellite Radio was the LOGICAL choice, because it's where the future lies. And you're wrong...Q104 in NY laid an offer on the table to O&A...they turned it down. Who in their right mind would want to go to FM, when they could have a NATIONAL show, FOR THE SAME MONEY, and blaze a trail in satellite radio? Do you even understand the definition of "innovator"? It means to do something FIRST...how can Stern be FIRST when he's following them a year and a half later? Stop blindly following the leader and THINK, you Stern fans make yourselves look ridiculous when you start parroting that garbage. As far as your comments about O&A fans parroting stuff about Stern being old and unfunny, that was something I decided for myself. My Stern fandom dated back to 1986. I know my Stern show history. That show is a shell of what it once was. That's a fact. Most O&A fans that I know were once Stern fans....and now are looking for something that's actually fresh again. Oh, and if they're his "clones" as you like to say, call in and ask him why he's been ripping off stuff from their show ever since they've been on satellite. Ask him why he's playing clips on his show DIRECTLY from theirs, complete with Anthony's voice in the background. The guy is a hack at this point. He's like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, desperately wishing it was 1982 again. But whatever...no one challenged your right to like that show...just the ridiculous, patented Stern fan copout crap you posted.

#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Blu

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Posted August 20 2005 - 08:24 AM



Dan Schultz and Scott Wirkus.

They produced the very fist internet only comedy radio show, years before podcasting.

The shows only exist now on the hard drives of the Freak Army.

I have many myself from the Eyada and Talkspot daysPosted Image

And if you all were nice I would be happy to find a way to get some shows to ya'llPosted Image

It was very interactive. There was a chat room that D&S were in while doing the show. Keep in mind this was also pre-mass broadband days and 56K was the norm.

#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Tom Brennan

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Posted August 20 2005 - 08:42 AM

That's funny cause I think the same regarding people like you. Internet O&A commandos with the same line of ammo. Like I said, I'm no Stern robot and my fandom for Stern goes back to the NBC days. Sure, the show has had it's peaks and valleys...but the show has been really strong lately in my opinion. I will still take Stern at his worst over two guys that took their whole dog and pony show from Stern, but somehow are considered "fresh and new". As for Stern playing clips from their show, I almost wish he was...that would be pretty ironic...the master ripping off the clones...but I am sure they just use the same comedy service if anything. If I listed the amount of things they played on air that Howard made famous, this would turn into a short novel. I'm not gonna get into a O&A fanboy war...they are boring to me. You guys that listen to them and the rest of us listen to Stern...some both. I have heard their show and wasn't impressed, I'm not changing my opinion on them, and I don't expect O&A fans to either.
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#18 of 25 OFFLINE   TedT

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Posted August 22 2005 - 07:29 AM

I wouldn't even know who Opie and Anthony are if Stern didn't keep mentioning them a few years ago. Same for Mancow. I had no idea they were still around!

#19 of 25 OFFLINE   Tom Brennan

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Posted August 23 2005 - 06:45 AM

Why should I? Even you admitted that Stern is the leader. Posted Image
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#20 of 25 OFFLINE   Morgan_

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Posted August 23 2005 - 11:07 PM

I've been a Stern fan since he came to L.A. and have read his books, and he has a unique style of show that is extremly entertaining and will be even more so now that he'll have more freedom in comedy and his guests on the show will not have to watch their laungage, and howard should be able to do some really funny bits, it's gonna be great and worth the money. I don't like shows where they do characters and voices and try to be funny, that's just lame to me, Stern has always been real, with real characters, and Stern perhaps has had a the worlds first and best reality radio show for many, many, years now.




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