By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Several suppliers, including JVC, Eclipse and Sanyo, announced at International CES that they will begin offering Sirius satellite radio products this year.
JVC said its expects to ship a transportable home-to-car unit this spring at a price competitive with the marketplace. Eclipse said it will offer Sirius products possibly in July and Sanyo is planning a transportable home-to-car system later this year. Sanyo is also considering offering additional Sirius products in the second quarter.
Kenwood, at CES, also announced it expects to ship this summer the first DIN-sized satellite-radio-ready head unit that does not need an outboard tuner. The company's new KDC-SR422 Sirius-ready CD receiver is expected to carry a price of $299. Kenwood will also ship a transportable system in the second quarter with a base unit price of $150 plus about $70 for a car or home kit.
Sirius continues to lag behind XM Satellite Radio in subscriber activations with Sirius reporting 18,000 subscribers for the calendar fourth quarter compared to XM's 145,000 activations or 35,000 for the year compared to XM's 347,000 subscribers for 2002. By the end of 2003, Sirius hopes to sign up 300,000 subscribers compared to XM's expectations of 1.2 million.
Sirius said at CES however that it hopes that its cutting-edge programming and its growing number of supplier partners will help propel the service in the market.
With the addition of JVC, Sirius now has the support of the No. 2 (Kenwood) and No. 3 (JVC) head-unit suppliers in the aftermarket for 2002, according to year-to-date figures through October from NPDTechworld, Port Washington, N.Y.
Sirius announced programming changes for nine music stations and also launched a new program to help unsigned artists called WAG. The company will record a CD for the new artist, play it on its service and then offer the CDs for sale on the Internet.
Sirius' newly announced stations include an international rap channel, two dance channels and a jam band rock channel. Also new is the first gay talk station, as well as folk music, easy listening and live music stations.
Sirius also announced that Kenwood launched a new promotion through February offering a free Sirius tuner and a month of free service with the purchase of a Kenwood Sirius FM modulator or head unit.
In addition, it said that Hertz expanded its Sirius radio program for rental car customers to airport locations in three new cities, including Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver, for a total of five cities.
Other announcements included a new Sirius antenna that can attach to a DBS antenna without additional wires to simplify installation for DBS subscribers.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.