Sirius paid Howard a SERIOUS amount of money to beat out XM for his ‘services’. Of course Sirius ended up outbidding itself once the government approved the union of these two floundering companies. I read the article in the 12/28 NY Times Sunday Business section (read the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/business/media/28radio.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Mel%20Karmazin%20&st=cse )
I do think a great deal of Mel Karmazin and he has given his best effort but it’s not working. Over the past few years we have had 2 new leased cars both of which came equipped with satellite radio for a 3 month trial. Both times we did not extend the service after the trial period was over. At $ 12.95 per month it was an easy decision. I am not a Howard Stern listener so that wasn’t a reason to pay up nor would I pay for the opportunity to listen to Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo formerly of WFAN now on satellite radio.
It was doomed from the start. A big market never really existed for a paid service ($ 150+/year!) where you could get some unique content but advertisements as well. Terrestrial radio is slowly dying as well of natural causes. But Sirius/XM is on life support and I believe the plug will soon be pulled.
The iPod is only one reason and eventually the iPod will take feeds in from the internet such that you could play those feeds through to your car. And how many people subscribe to satellite radio at home?
If satellite radio were $ 4/month that price would be intriguing enough for me (and perhaps other people) to give it a serious look. But the content is still lacking after several years of promises of cool and unique programming. It reminds me of my 100+ channels of cable TV where frequently I am unable to find anything to watch.
In my customer controlled communications world I would have content made available to me to be called up on voice command. Read me page one of the NY Times. Allow me to say ‘next article’ or sports, or ‘Jets news’ and then have that read over the air with no delay. This technology exists. Why satellite radio never made it there is a mystery to me. But it’s too late now. I would not invest in XM/Sirius stock right now ($ 0.12/share) and it seems most investors feel the same.
Too bad – it wasn’t a bad idea it was just poorly executed.