Archive for the ‘Articles From the Past’ Category

Sirius XM Merger: Has the Battle Just Begun?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

As of summer 2008, the merger of SIRIUS and XM has been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. All that has to pass now is the FCC approval, which will then make the merger official. Experts are stating that the merger was all but official for the last year and a half, especially considering that it was questionable if the medium could sustain two healthy competitors. After all, since much of the programming of XM and SIRIUS complements each other, theoretically the two networks could have KO’d each other out of terrestrial radio’s league. Now both companies, standing united as one, are focusing on competing against the real “villain” in this scenario: terrestrial radio.The same terrestrial radio that has continually fined and suspended SIRIUS and XM’s most prolific entertainers like Howard Stern and Opie and Anthony.

The story is certainly a poetic one, particularly if satellite radio were to overpower traditional radio in the coming years. You may wonder how likely that scenario really is. Currently terrestrial radio is a monster, a Godzilla compared to two relatively small firms in XM and SIRIUS.

Some believe that the merger is not yet a threat to terrestrial radio, as so much it is a guarantee that satellite radio will continue to grow and stabilize as a true competitor. The stock market currently lists Sirius shares at $2.80 (as of May 2008) and XM Radio shares at $11.80. The Justice Department, who approved of the merger on March 24, 2008, stated that the agreement between satellite radio companies would not affect the “existing radio sector.”The combined audience of XM and SIRIUS would amount to 17 million listeners. If you are a fan of either XM or SIRIUS, and before now have never considered the other network, then the merger means good news. Company heads announced that existing customers of both XM and SIRIUS would continue to pay for their service but would receive select programming from both services on either platform within half a year of the merger’s finalizing.

What if the customer didn’t want to choose, nor accept only highlights? Would he or she have to subscribe to both services? Not necessarily. The companies plan to release an interoperable receiver in the near future, which will provide listeners the right to listen to all satellite radio programming options from both stations. They would also be allowed to pick a select number of favorite stations from both networks for their subscription. Interestingly, such a receiver has existed all along, but until now was not deemed suitable for the public because of FCC requirements. However, radio times have changed drastically with the merger and the need of such a receiver will continue to increase.

Another concern for potential growth is in the satellite radio-new automobile market. Major companies have been stocking their new cars with satellite radio receivers and offering temporary free subscriptions. However, the question remains whether new car owners will feel compelled to re-subscribe after the term ends.In the coming years, satellite radio will be competing with terrestrial radio, as well as HD radio, WiMAX Mobile Broadcasting and Internet Radio (powered by iPods). Though XM and SIRIUS have called a truce, the battle has just begun in the radio market.

To see the whole story in the movie RADIO WARS.

The Former History of Satellite Radio

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Enjoy this article from the past, and discover how much things have changed for Sirius XM Satellite Radio. 

The satellite radio industry is dominated by two major players – Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio. Both companies charge a monthly fee for their services, but service payment plans often change to attract more customers. For example, starting in 2005 Sirius offers a $500 fee that is valid for the lifetime of the equipment. Sirius offers 65 music channels, without any commercials and traffic and weather reports for most of the major US cities. On the other hand, some of XM Radio’s channels did contain some commercials, but in much smaller quantities than those found on terrestrial radio channels. Today, XM has 67 commercial-free music channels, 21 channels with detailed traffic and weather information, 39 channels of news, entertainment and sports and an amazing number of 23 play-by-play sports channels. XM Satellite Radio Inc. owns the most impressive digital radio equipment and facilities, boasting over 82 end to end broadcasting studios. Sirius Satellite Radio is located in the heart of New York City with a huge recording studio. Sirius Satellite Radio has an impressive library of over 2 million music tracks.

Sirius Satellite Radio

Sirius Satellite Radio is one of the two main providers of digital radio broadcasting in the United States and it shares this important market with XM Radio. While you would think that XM and Sirius are 100% rivals, you will be surprised to find out that both companies are working together on a joint program in order to develop a receiver for both of their broadcast frequencies. Sirius uses three geosynchronous satellites that pass over the United States territory at regular time intervals and transmit the data alternatively. The Sirius satellite network is also located in a position that offers better line of sight – this means that transmission interruptions caused by trees, mountains or any other landscape form are less likely to happen. Sirius announced that the number of subscribers to their services goes beyond the 4 million count

XM Satellite Radio Inc

XM Satellite Radio Inc. began broadcasting in 2001 and has seen a continuous development ever since. The digital radio used by XM Satellite Radio Inc. is encoded using the CT-aacPlus technology which is broadcast in a 128kb/sec format that is high in fidelity and is similar to CD quality. XM Satellite Radio Inc uses two Boeing HS-702 satellites which are constantly orbiting the Earth at a height of 22 300 miles. IN order to minimize transmission ad reception loss, XM Satellite Radio installed terrestrial transmitters in most major cities in places where loss of signal is more likely to take place (tunnels, high building areas). XM radio claims to have an impressive number of over 6 million subscribers.
Working with the automobile industry

Both satellite radio providers saw a huge market in the car industry, so they began negotiating with al major car manufacturers to convince them to offer their services and equipment as standard or optional on the vehicles they produce. Some of the auto manufacturers that have either XM or Sirius satellite radio installed from the factory are: BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce, Chrysler, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mazda ,GM, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Vauxhall, Saab, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Infiniti, Porsche, Lexus, Scion and Audi – to name just a few. Sirius has managed to get exclusivity from major car manufacturers such as Audi or VW2007 through 2012. IT was a major success for Sirius as Audi and VW previously also offered XM radio services and equipment on their vehicles. After conquering the vehicle industry both manufacturers tried to move the success of satellite radio into the homes of consumers by creating some trendy portable satellite radio receivers. XM satellite radio created the XM2go(tm) line of “walkman-like” receivers and Sirius developed a variety of portable devices, such as the Kenwood Portable Satellite Radio Tuner, Here2Anywhere and the Sirius S50. More attempts are being made for introducing satellite radio in the homes of conservative media consumers.

Find out more about the merger of Sirius and XM Radio in the movie “RADIO WARS.”