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XM Expects 350K New Subscribers In '02

1/28/2002 02:00:00 AM Eastern

XM Satellite Radio president/CEO Hugh Panero told analysts the company expects to sign up 70,000 new subscribers in the first quarter of this year, reaching a total of 350,000 new subscribers for 2002.

In a conference call last Thursday (see story on p. 3), Panero recapped the advantages of its nine month lead over competitor Sirius Satellite Radio which launches regionally in February. He added that XM is working aggressively on cost reductions in next generation chip sets which will result in lower priced radios and new products, such as "wearable" XM receiver devices.

Panero also reiterated the strong support for the product expected in the third quarter, when GM will begin offering XM in 23 car models which is forecast to result in 60,000 subscribers (of the total 350,000 expected this year). GM, which began selling XM in two Cadillac models last November, said that 85 percent of those who buy cars equipped with XM sign up for service.

XM also presented an overview of customer demographics and store distribution, which noted that 60 percent of the 30,000-plus units sold in 2001, were sold through Circuit City and Best Buy.

Panero said demographics for XM are equally distributed over various age groups and does not start to trail off until over age 55. "This is a mass market product," he claimed noting that 70 percent of customers are electing to be billed quarterly in advance.

For 2001 Pioneer represented the bulk of XM radio sales with a 55 percent share followed by Sony at 20 percent and Alpine at 15 percent. The company also cited a recent survey claiming a 94 percent customer satisfaction level with the product.