Sirius Expects New Service Plans

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Sirius XM, which seems to have successfully clawed its way back from the brink of extinction, said it expects to offer new, additional services and pricing plans in the future, but gave no details.
A very upbeat Sirius XM CEO MEl Karmazin announced Sirius XM added a total of 250,000 net new subscribers for the full year 2009 and plans to add another 500,000 in 2010.
Almost all of the net new subscribers, however, are coming from new and used car owners rather than retail shoppers, said the company, which now has 18.8 million subscribers.
A total of a million subscribers are now paying for the more expensive “Best of Both” plans, said Sirius.
Karmazin noted on a conference call Thursday, that Sirius XM is permitted to raise prices on service plans as of August 2011, according to FCC rules, although there are no plans now to do so.
About 25 million cars on the road now have Sirius or XM radios with about 11 million of those activated and so the used car market is expected to become an important contributor to new subscribers in the next few years as cars with Sirius XM radios pass to second owners. This segment will replace the retail aftermarket as a key source of subscribers, said Karmazin.
Less than half of Sirius XM subscribers now come from retail (7.7 million retail v 8.9 million OEM). The satellite radio service lost 200,000 net new retail subscribers for the quarter ended December 31, 2009 and lost 1.2 million during the full year 2009. It added 442,000 OEM subscribers for the quarter and added 935,000 net OEM subscribers for the year.
If you are wondering whether Howard Stern will continue on Sirius, you’ll have to keep wondering. Karmazin said only that Stern “has done his best work” during the past four years at Sirius, and noted, “There’s nothing in his contract that deals with the time frame of when we need to negotiate to do a deal. So we have nothing to announce today. My suggestions is, for those who are interested…to tune to Howard 100 because we will be providing you regular updates.”
Recent good news for the company is that its stock has been trading above $1 per share for the past six days so it may end up complying with NASDAQ rules, requiring trading at least 10 days above $1, so it won’t have to face either de-listing or a reverse stock split. Even if the stock does miss the 10-day requirement, Sirius will apply for a six-month extension to the NASDAQ and it plans to avoid a reverse stock split, said Karmazin.
For the fourth quarter, Sirius revenues rose 6.2 percent to $683million, up from $644 million a year ago with the average customer paying $10.92 per month. The company earned $14.2 million during the quarter compared to a loss of $246 million a year ago.

Source: Sirius XM
Photo: Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin, via Reuters

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