In a speech that compared satellite radio to other successful consumer electronics technologies of the past two decades, Sirius Satellite Radio President and CEO Joe Clayton also outlined the opportunities satellite radio can and will provide in the near future.
During his presentation at the 32nd Annual International Media Recording Association (IRMA) meeting, held here at the Westin La Paloma, Clayton said that the dynamics are similar. "For most successful new technologies, products and services are always favorable to: variety and choice; improved viewing and/or listening experience; ease of use; lack of commercial clutter; and affordability."
He said that these attributes were the same for VCR, DVD, satellite TV and "they will be applicable to my new product category, satellite radio, as well."
Clayton added that what also was applied to new technologies of the past, "conviction and patience will be needed on a regular basis" will be needed for satellite radio before it becomes a mass market product. "Let's face reality. Satellite radio is in the infancy of its product cycle, and consumers are just now becoming aware of this new technology."
He added that the market opportunity for satellite radio is "significant" with over 200 million cars and trucks in the U.S. today. "There are nearly 16 million new vehicles on the road each year. Add to that 3 million truckers, 3 million RV owners and the 4 million boats and marine vehicles that are over 22 feet long, and you begin to see the huge potential of this market."
Clayton added, "We also believe that of all the vehicles on the road today nearly 25 percent have minimal AM/ FM radio coverage."
The Sirius executive was proud that his team, many of which came from his stay at Thomson and RCA when Clayton introduced satellite TV, "accomplished what we set out to do [since CES]. Sell the most prominent retailers and convince them that Sirius Satellite Radio is the one to bet on."
He cited advantages of Sirius' approach. "The music is 100 percent commercial-free. Sixty original music channels and no commercials." Clayton added, "Just as important, most customers do not have access to a large library of their favorite music."
With Sirius' nationwide service "the days of switching channels as you move between different radio markets are over," he noted.
And Clayton reiterated that Sirius is "not alone" and has alliances with AM/FM/SAT radios in nine car brands. Kenwood, Panasonic, Clarion and Jensen brand satellite radio receivers will be available at retail.
In discussing the current CE market at retail, Clayton noted, "Obviously it's helpful when you're involved with the launch of a new product to have an upward economy." He then stated "Considering the economy and the September 11th event" and the strong CE sales since last fall "we should perhaps be surprised at these very positive numbers."
Other good economic news has been higher sales of new homes, low interest rates and government tax cuts.
Clayton noted, "Perhaps the consumer is looking for music that travels, a new way to listen to the radio… satellite-delivered music and information that will be received with digital clarity, coast to coast in the comfort of your car."