New Change at SiriusXM

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SiriusXM announced it will launch a new “super premium” plan in the coming months.

The satellite radio company has recently seen more demand for its premium All Access Package,  leading it to believe there’s a market for a super premium plan that will include “additional content, customer benefits and multiple access points,” said new CEO Jennifer Witz on a conference call today with analysts.

“Strong demand for our All Access Package has encouraged us to create a new top-tier high end offering…a sort of super premium family plan. We plan to launch this in the coming months,” she said.

The company also said, that for the first time, it began allowing non-subscribers the ability to tune in to an open-access option. The option was set up for its new Sound 42 channel exclusively featuring the artist Drake.

The company said its 360L platform in new cars reached 18 percent of vehicles totaling 2 million in the first quarter and is expected to climb to 25 percent this year.  The two-way feature of 360L provides it with data on its subscribers. For instance, SiriusXM was able to see that commuting and driving during the quarter was at 80 percent of pre-COVID levels but in recent weeks, it climbed to 90 percent, showing that Americans are returning to pre-pandemic routines.

The company reported that it generated more trial starts in March than at any time in its history.  But it stated that lower new and used car sales due to chip shortages may impact sales going forward. Witz said the company would have upped its financial forecast for the year, but is keeping it steady due to the uncertainty around chip supply and car inventory levels.  SiriusXM is predicting net subscriber self-pay additions of approximately 800,000 for the year and revenue of $8.35 billion.

The company noted it is benefiting from the federal stimulus program as well as consumers getting back on the road.

Including Pandora and Stitcher (purchased in Q4 last year) SiriusXM as a whole has 150 million listeners. It is now the largest digital audio advertising platform in North America.

For the quarter, SiriusXM added 126K net new self-pay subscribers, marking an 83 percent increase from the 69K subscribers added in the first quarter last year. Total SiriusXM subscribers hit a record 31 million. Revenue increase 2 percent. Gross profit was steady at $993 million.

Under the Pandora/Stitcher segment, ad revenue increased 29 percent to $312 million for Pandora.  Pandora added 113K net new self-pay subscribers to its premium services, ending the period with 6.4 million paid subscribers to those services.

For the combined divisions, SiriusXM reported a 5 percent increase in sales to $2.06 billion and lower net income of $219 million compared to $293 million the year prior. This included a $220 million non-cash impairment charge for the failure of its SXM-7 satellite and $25 million in charges related to the surrender of office space plus a $95 million benefit associated with a state tax audit settlement.

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