MediaFile

Howard Stern’s TV judging stint a boost for Sirius XM

Howard Stern is going to be a judge on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent,” this summer and Wall Street is already betting this is going to benefit the shock  jock’s satellite radio home, SiriusXM Radio.

Stern, who will replace the less potty mouthed Piers Morgan, will raise the profile of his radio show and drive new subscribers, at least one analyst said on Thursday.

“We see this as a positive for Sirius, holding potential for free on air-promotion, positive for awareness and sub growth, depending on how the TV show fares,” said Lazard analyst Barton Crockett in a research note.

His new gig won’t effect his current job, where he is locked down until 2015. What’s more, the show is even moving its production to New York from Los Angeles, so the east coaster Stern can have an easy commute.

Stern inked a five-year deal Sirius XM last December that nets him about $80 million a year, according to analysts.  He brought an estimated 1.2 million subscribers to Sirius when he joined the fledgling satellite radio company in 2006.

CES: One strip club, one Howard Stern producer and 125,000 friends

In my second day of searching for the most interesting and interestingly written press releases about the Consumer Electronics Show, I came across what appears to be an invitation for 125,000 people:

LAS VEGAS–(Business Wire)– Gary Dell`Abate, best-selling author and long-time producer of The Howard Stern Show will host a party January 8th at Rick`s Cabaret Las Vegas, to which he has invited all fellow attendees of the world-famous Consumer Electronics Show. The club is part of the Rick`s Cabaret International, Inc. (NASDAQ:RICK) group of upscale gentlemen`s clubs.

The party will take place at the club at 3355 Procyron Street at Desert Inn Boulevard, just off the Las Vegas Strip, starting at 10 p.m. Dell`Abate will be in town to attend the CES, which he hosted last year. Dell`Abate will be assisted in his hosting duties by beautiful, raven-haired adult star Daisy Duxe, who has appeared in over 150 popular adult films. She is appearing as part of an adult-star extravaganza at the club, where blonde centerfold model and adult star Prinzzess appears on Friday night January 7th.

Sirius XM: no Howard Stern news today

Howard Stern

Fans of Howard Stern hoping to hear whether the shock jock will stay at Sirius XM might be disappointed if they tune into his channels, Howard 100 and Howard 101 Thursday afternoon. The Internet was atwitter after a web report said Stern was set to announce where he was taking his talents once his $500 million contract expires this year.

But Sirius XM denies that there will be any announcement.  In fact spokesman Patrick Reilly said TheStreet.com misunderstood CFO David Frear’s comments, during an investor conference, about Stern’s future.

Here’s what actually happened, according to Reilly: Responding to a question about Stern and his contract, Frear asked whether the person was a Sirius XM subscriber. When the inquisitor said “no”, he told her to go out and “buy a radio this afternoon” so she could tune into Stern’s show.

from Summit Notebook:

Sirius CEO Karmazin limbers up for the Howard Stern dance

It’s been five years since Sirius lured shock jock Howard Stern to satellite radio with a $500 million contract. Whether Stern can re-up with a similar deal when his contract expires at the end of next year is anyone's guess, but it ought to be entertaining. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin is preparing himself for negotiations with the self-proclaimed King of All Media.

In a meeting with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit on Monday, Karmazin gave us a thumbnail sketch of his version of "The Art of the Deal."

“I could tell you, it will start with Howard feeling that he is working too hard and doing too many shows and not making enough money. Our side would say, 'We want you to do more, and get less money,'” Karmazin said.

Sirius unveils iPhone App: reviews not so good (updated)

Sirius XM Radio has launched its long-awaited App for the iPhone to mixed reviews. That’s not surprising, really, since the legion of Sirius subscribers has never been sheepish about the pay radio service.

Many users like it, so they can get unique programming in a slick iPhone App. Now they can take Martha Stewart Radio, Road Dog Trucking and the Praise Channel with them anywhere. But you can’t listen to exclusive stuff like Howard Stern’s programming, or Major League Baseball games or the Nascar channel. Ouch.

It’s true that only a handful of channels are excluded (for rights reasons) versus the 120 channels one can listen to. But many Sirius XM subscribers are drawn to the service primarily for Stern, Baseball and the NFL, and they are not pleased. Of 421 user reviews on the iTunes App Store, 261 rate it 1 (out-of-5) stars, and its average is 2 stars. By contrast, online radio app Pandora scores an average 3.5 stars (from a much larger survey sample).

Sirius: Rumors of our near death? It was the media’s fault

It’s the media! That’s what Sirius would have us believe.

On a post-earnings call on Thursday executives said the company’s precarious financial position during the last few months as it sought to resolve a looming debt debacle was exacerbated by the media’s interest in Sirius. Apparently, stories about companies going bust not only upset investors and creditors, but customers too.

Sirius XM President of Operations Jim Meyer told Wall Street analysts he’s excited to have completed the debt refinancing and merger between Sirius and XM so the company can assure customers it will be around for a while.

There certainly was headwind associated with both the confusion of putting the two companies together and the overall just unbelievable amount of news and press that we have seen really in the fourth quarter and continuing in January and February on the financial condition and refinancing of our balance sheet.

Liberty: Stern is safe — for now

So after two weeks of following all the twists and turns of Sirius XM’s attempts to avoid bankruptcy, CEO Mel Karmazin decided on John Malone, founder of Liberty Media, to come in as Sirius XM’s white knight with a $530 million loan . The loan will cover the satellite radio provider’s looming debt and help it avoid bankruptcy. As part of the deal Liberty will eventually take a 40 percent stake in Sirius’ equity.

But does this mean the big money deals that Karmazin signed with the likes of Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey and Major League Baseball will get re-worked at a more favorable rate for the company now that there’s a new major stakeholder?

No, says Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei in an interview with Reuters.

You can look and say some of these content deals were cut at a time when there were two guys (Sirius and XM) bidding against each other in a relative frenzy. Having said that, a lot of these content relationships like Howard Stern are very valuable to this company, have been important in building the company, and are likely to be important in sustaining it.

Video games defy economic gloom

U.S. shoppers are still spending in a big way — they are just not buying cars, plane tickets, clothing, etc. But they are buying video games.

While most media segments try to maintain stability during today’s economic turmoil, the video game industry keeps on growing, with U.S. video game hardware and software sales up 10 percent last month according to NPD, fueled by record sales of Nintendo’s Wii console and DS hand-held system.

Nintendo’s Wii console sold over 2 million units in November, up from over 800,000 in the previous month.