TWICE: Is the merger necessary to compete with emerging services and technologies such as the place shifting of PC-stored content to a cellphone, delivery of entertainment programs via IP-enabled Mobile WiMAX networks, Wi-Fi streaming of Internet radio services to handheld devices, and the like?
Karmazin: I don’t think it is necessary. I think it is very desirable, and it positions us in a better way to compete against all of this technology. But by no means do we believe this merger is about life or death …
Hardly a day goes by that there is not a new company, a new competitor, that’s coming out with the ability to get not just music but any content that you want. And we think content is king, and we believe that our content is what’s going to separate us from all of these other competitors. No one has better content than we do.
TWICE: So you’re as much a content company as a wireless pipe?
Karmazin: We’ve had a number of discussions internally where people say, “Well, gee, why don’t you just take out the satellite radio from your name and just call it Sirius?” And then a number of other people who are sitting there are saying, “Our network is really one of the things that we have going for us,” that we have a proprietary network. You can’t say that about the Internet.
But I do think that at the end of the day, people are listening to our content, not necessarily listening to a pipe. We’re not particularly great fans of a lot of what goes on over Internet radio … and we have so much more content that’s not around anyplace else. And it’s not just sports [for example]. It’s the way we do sports.
You can get plenty of NFL games, but you can’t get every single NFL game with home team announcers and away team announcers …
So there are really a whole lot of enhancements that we do. Even on our music channels … And you add things like Howard Stern and Martha Stewart and Cosmopolitan … and a lot of the channels that are just not available any place else.