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Sirius Shortages To Find Relief: Audiovox

Audiovox affirmed it expects to improve supplies of the Sirius SCC1 tuner, which has been in severe back order, starting at the end of March.

Retailers said the Sirius universal SCC1 tuner that works with many in-car radios had been out of stock since Feb. 1 when Audiovox assumed the role of master distributor from DEI Holdings.

As of March 20, some retailers had received partial shipments but others had absolutely no SCC1 tuners.

Audiovox said it inherited the shortages. “Basically, when the transfer of inventory took place from the DEI inventory, there wasn’t enough to satisfy demand,” said Audiovox OEM group VP Rick Monpetit. “Orders have been placed, and we expect to have inventory by the end of this month, with a consistent flow of inventory following this month,” he added.

Audiovox will also announce new programs in the coming weeks for new customers and said, “There may be a couple of price changes, not necessarily increases. Were looking at all models to see what the market warrants,” said Monpetit.

Audiovox has been the key distributor for XM Satellite Radio since 2005 and is now master distributor for both Sirius and XM.

Also this month, Sirius XM announced it plans to offer an iPhone/iPod Touch application in the second quarter that will allow the Apple handhelds to stream Sirius XM music directly to the devices for a monthly service fee.

The iPhone application is now in “rigorous testing,” said chief financial officer David Fear.

Currently, 30 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices have sold worldwide.

Sirius XM is also planning measures to boost retail sales through advertising and through direct marketing to used-car buyers, it said.

The company admitted to disappointing retail sales in the fourth quarter that resulted in a net loss of 131,000 retail subscribers.

“There was so much being written about our company going bankrupt and all those doom-and-gloom stories that I believe had a tremendous impact on the consumer,” said CEO Mel Karmazin during a conference call with analysts.

Jim Meyer, president of operations and sales, added that the Circuit City bankruptcy had a big impact.

Meyer told TWICE, “I think it’s fair to say we’ve been in a little bit of a cocoon getting through this financing. I think you should absolutely assume that we’re going to ramp up our promotional efforts at retail. As you know, it takes time to get them going. We were certainly disappointed in the holidays. We’re looking at a lot of things to bring things back to the aftermarket business. We’re still absolutely committed to it.”

Sirius XM said it has nearly half a million subscribers now on new package plans with the vast majority of those subscribing to the higher-priced packages like Best of Both programming.

Sirius said three-quarters of those signing up for Best of Both programming are XM subscribers adding “Best of Sirius” Karmazin believes more Sirius subscribers will add “Best of XM” once the company can negotiate a deal with MLB to offer baseball to Sirius subscribers. In addition, he said, a number of automakers are now offering Best of Both programming in their trial packages for new car buyers.

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