Sirius Subs: 1-in-10 Live in Car Lots

July 31, 2007

Their public fight-for-the-right-to-marry has tended to overshadow the fact that XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio must keep their businesses running.XM and Sirius

You know: making radios, keeping Oprah happy, wooing customers, etc.

That’s why it’s a treat when they report quarterly results — for the satellite radio grist, set apart from the “what monopoly?” testifying and the “we are good for consumers” lobbying.
Like XM, Sirius said it shrunk its second-quarter loss, helped by a big boost in subscriptions from users whose radios are built into their cars. And from Sirius’ conference call came some other interesting tidbits…

* About 10 percent of Sirius’ 7.1 million subscribers are cars on dealer lots, as yet unsold to, you know, people. (Sirius counts radios sold to deals as subs, but doesn’t count revenue until the cars are sold.) Sirius CFO Dave Frear told analysts, “On the percentage of OEM gross Cars on dealer lotadds that are sitting out on the lot…it’s a number that’s been bouncing around 9 to 10 percent.” Doing the math, one analyst put that at about 700,000 cars, er, subscribers.

* Sirius said it expects to introduce the next version of its top-of-the-line portable “wearable” radio — call the “Stiletto 2″ — later this year. Sirius and XM’s commitment to high-end, buy-it-over-the counter models is closely watched since so much of the business is shifting to car units.

* Sirius is “preparing for the launch” of aftermarket backseat TV products, which will complement the rollout of the service in 2008 model year Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles.

* Timing of the newly announced sports or family or music radio channel packages? Around Fathers Day 2008.

* The pick-your-own channels service, a-la-carte option? Christmas 2008.

* The “interoperable” chip that allows a user to get both services on a single radio? “Between one year and two and a half years” after the deal is done, according to Jim Meyer, Sirius’ President, Operations & Sales

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