WASHINGTON - At a news conference today, XM Satellite Radio became the first satellite radio company to offer a "family plan" discount for users who take more than one subscription.
Under its new "family plan" users who take a first subscription to XM at $10 will receive additional subscriptions at $6.99 each beginning in April. More details will be available next month.
In addition, the company announced that its XM Delphi SkyFi will soon be available in all 2,800 Wal-Mart stores. The rollout will occur gradually beginning in May to both Wal-Mart home and car audio departments, president and CEO Hugh Panero said.
Despite the backdrop of war in Iraq and the uncertain economy, XM said it remains on plan to reach 1.2 million subscribers by the end of the year. Panero said the company added 145,605 subscribers in the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2002, for a total of 347,159 subscribers to date.
Regarding further retail expansion, Panero said Circuit City and Best Buy will extend XM Delphi SkyFi merchanding to the home and portable audio departments in addition to the car audio section. "This is a major step in moving XM from car audio to the home and portable markets," Panero said, adding that over 80,000 Delphi SkyFi boomboxes will ship in the first half of this year.
In the OEM arena, XM said it will collaborate with Honda to develop new telematics products in the future. Panero said that GM had signed over 50,000 subscribers by the end of 2002; a figure which has doubled to 100,000 at present. GM activations are occurring at a rate of about 70 percent. GM has already committed to offering XM on 44 of its 57 models.
XM also noted that Honda last week begin offering XM as standard equipment on the Acura RL. It will also become standard on the 2004 Accord, which is the second most popular car in the United States, said the company. XM will also be offered on the new Toyota Scion.
The OEM sector is expected to represent about half of XM's sales going forward.
The company further noted that it is experiencing a low churn rate of between 1 and 1.3 percent.