In an interesting filing today, the "grass-roots", NAB backed organization known as C3SR is requesting information relating to a study produced by CRA and published as part of Sirius and XM's Joint Opposition filing regarding the merger.
It seems that C3SR's consultants who themselves have issued reports want to see some of the redacted data in the CRA report. Specifically, they are looking for information from some exhibits in the CRA report. The data sought relates to exhibit B of the report which can be found starting at page 130.
To simplify things for readers, the exhibits outline a comparison of satellite radio penetration in specific markets as compared to the number of terrestrial radio stations in those same markets.
Now, in looking at the sources for the data, the only item that C3SR's consultants would not have access to for their own reports is the subscriber data numbers (which they can estimate with relative ease given SEC filings), and the zip codes of those subscribers. This leads to obvious questions:
1. If these C3SR Consultants never had such data, how did they arrive at an opinion (with any real accuracy) regarding the competitive landscape?
2. If terrestrial radio is not competing with satellite radio, as the NAB has argued, why would they go through such efforts (fund surveys through an organization that many see as a "front", and then request competitive data through that organization) to garner subscriber information specific to various markets?
3. If the data submitted by CRA is accurate (there is no reason to believe that it is not, as it is verifiable for the FCC), and it directly contradicts the opinions (based on incomplete data) of C3SR consultants, how can any faith be placed in the rest of what C3SR's consultants had to say?
4. If C3SR had a strong following, wouldn't at least part of the data being sought be available to C3SR and their consultants to at least extrapolate from? After all, the do ask for and address and zip code as required fields in their "Join Today" section of the C3SR website?
Herein lies one of the advantages Sirius and XM have in the merger process. Sirius and XM have very specific information about their subscribers, inclusive of where each subscriber lives. The NAB and their funded organizations such as C3SR have only assumptions which, unlike hard numbers, can be pulled out of thin air. Simply stated, Bad assumptions will equate to bad data.
C3SR has their opinion. Some feel that that opinion was bought and paid for by NAB funding. C3SR acknowledges that the NAB funded studies. The connections between C3SR and the NAB have been made public.
If C3SR wants to information to make an informed analysis, perhaps they themselves should step up to the plate to answer some questions.
1. How can C3SR claim to be an advocate for satellite radio consumers when they already had an opinion formed on the merger when C3SR came into being? Doesn't advocating on behalf of a group involve getting the collective opinion of that group?
2. How many satellite radio subscribers are members of C3SR? Non subscribers?
3. Has C3SR ever polled satellite radio subscribers for their opinions on the merger? If so, why is no such poll available on the website?
4. How much funding of C3SR operations on a percentage basis comes from the NAB or terrestrial radio stations?
5. Is C3SR a non-profit organization? How does C3SR account for money?
6. Regardless of the decision on the merger, does C3SR plan to continue as a satellite advocacy group after the decision?
Position - Long Sirius, Long XM