SiriusXM Outlines Plans As Revenues Hit Record



SiriusXM plans to add on-demand and personalized radio services this year to its Internetstreaming service, and the broadcaster will roll out Satellite Radio 2.0 service through automakers for the first time this year.

That was the word from CEO Mel Karmazin last week in announcing the company’s second consecutive year of profitability.

Net income rose in calendar 2011 to $427 million, up from 2010’s $43.1 million and compared with a 2009 net loss of $352 million.

Full-year revenues hit a record $3.01 billion, up 7 percent, and full-year net subscriber growth hit 1.7 million, up from 2010’s 1.42 million net subscriber gain to mark the highest number of annual additions since the Sirius and XM merger in mid-2008. The company ended the year with 21.9 million subscribers, up 8.4 percent from year-end 2010’s 20.2 million.

The fourth-quarter net subscriber gain was 542,966, up from a year-ago 328,789. The quarter’s net income hit $71.3 million compared with a year-ago $81.4 million net loss. The quarter’s revenues grew 6.5 percent to $783.7 million from a year-ago $735.9 million.

SiriusXM tuners were factory-installed in 67 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2011, up from 62 percent in 2010.

The company posted a record 8.7 million gross additions in 2011, in part due to its growing emphasis on reactivating OEM satellite radios in used cars but also due to a 12 percent increase in new-car sales.

The new-vehicle conversion rate for SiriusXM of promotional to consumer-paid subscriptions slipped for the year to 45 percent from 46 percent.

In its 2012 forecast, the company said it expects to add 1.3 million net new subscribers, down from 2011’s 1.7 million, thanks in part to a forecast 8 percent rise in new-car sales to 13.7 million, the phase-in of a rate increase that began Jan. 1, and higher revenues from reactivating OEM radios in used cars. The company forecasts 2012 revenues will rise almost 10 percent to $3.3 billion.

To help boost revenues and remain competitive with free terrestrial radio and Internet radio, SiriusXM plans sometime this year to launch on-demand programming for users of its Internet streaming service to PCs, home audio equipment, and smartphone apps. Consumers will be able to access a continually updated music library and listen on their own schedules, said Karmazin. The company will also offer personalized radio over the Internet so consumers can tailor content to their own preferences. Both services will be added for free to the company’s streaming service, which costs as little as $3.50/month to satellite-radio subscribers.

Also to boost subscriptions, automakers will roll out Satellite Radio 2.0 service in 2012, but SiriusXM didn’t say how soon that would happen or how many automakers would participate this year.

Satellite Radio 2.0, not available in previous-generation tuners, expands the broadcaster’s lineup by 22 channels, with eight more to come in the future. New channels already available include the new SiriusXM Latino suite of Spanish-language programming.

Also in the OEM market, SiriusXM plans satellite radios that offer features currently available on its $249-suggested Lynx aftermarket dock-and-play tuner, which became available late last year. Although the company didn’t specify which features would migrate to the OEM side, Lynx’s features include time shifting to record and store up to 200 hours of programming, ability to simultaneously record multiple channels, and pause and rewind of live programming. Lynx also accesses on-demand Internet-streaming content via Wi- Fi when docked at home or, when running on its internal battery, when used in a Wi-Fi hot spot.


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