SiriusBuzz All Things SiriusXM Satellite Radio Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:20:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SiriusXM and Volvo Make Traffic and Weather Service A 4 Year Deal Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:16:05 +0000 → Read More]]> 12-19 volvoSiriusXM and Volvo Cars of North America have announced that Volvo customers will automatically receive a 4-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and weather information when purchasing any new Model Year 2015.5 vehicle equipped with the latest generation of Volvo Sensus Connect, Volvo’s connected car platform.  The new deal could help SiriusXM in developing services beyond satellite radio.  Terms of the deal, and whether or not SiriusXM receives revenue from Volvo were not disclosed.

SiriusXM has offered these types of additional services for quite some time, though consumer traction has been slow to adopt.  The services have gained much more traction as a “value add” service through car makers.  In terms of the size and scope of this deal, Volvo sold 61,000 vehicles in 2013 and thus far in 2014 has sold 51,000.  Not all Volvo’s will have this system installed.

Volvo offers consumers a 6 month trial subscription in cars equipped with satellite radio.  Stay Tuned!

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Howard Stern Birthday Bash To Air “Director’s Cut” Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:24:04 +0000 → Read More]]> 12-16 birthday bashWhat do you do when you had a birthday bash so big that will likely never be repeated?  Relive it again the next year!  SiriusXM and Howard Stern have announced that  “The Howard Stern Birthday Bash: Director’s Cut” special will air on Howard 100 this Friday, December 19th.  The original bash was held in January of 2014 and featured a robust guest list, performances, and drama.  The bash supplied plenty of content, discussion, and fodder throughout the year.

This Friday, Stern fans will get to hear the top-level comedians, musicians, celebrities and Howard Stern characters once again.  “The Howard Stern Birthday Bash: Director’s Cut” special will feature commentary and behind the scenes stories from many of those performers and celebrities including Robert Downey Jr, Dave Grohl, Joan Rivers, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Levine, Tracy Morgan, Jenny McCarthy, Sarah Silverman and more. The special will also feature an in depth look into the production of the Birthday Bash, from the initial idea, to the rehearsal, to the star studded after party and reflection immediately after the Birthday Bash.

“The Howard Stern Birthday Bash: Director’s Cut” will be paired with concerts from Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash guests, The Black Keys, recorded live in Houston, TX, Foo Fighters from New York City and Train from San Francisco.  Essentially fans get a bit of a holiday surprise from SiriusXM and Stern.

“Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” the live four-hour radio event, was broadcast on both of Howard Stern’s exclusive SiriusXM channels, Howard 100 and Howard 101, on January 31, 2014, from New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The broadcast was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and attracted a top-level lineup of celebrities, stars, and performers for a truly unique night of live comedy, music and entertainment. The celebration featured live music performances by Rob Zombie, The Black Keys, John Mayer, Jon Bon Jovi, Adam Levine, Train, Jewel, John Fogerty, Dave Grohl, Steven Tyler and Slash; a rare sit-down interview with David Letterman; appearances by George Takei, Jeff Probst, Joan Rivers, Jeffrey Ross, Kathy Griffin, Governor Chris Christie, Louis C.K., Katie Couric, Whoopi Goldberg, Bryan Cranston, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman and Natalie Maines, Rosie O’Donnell, John Stamos, Maria Menounos, Heidi Klum and Johnny Knoxville, and an audience of Howard Stern fans ranging from Robert Downey Jr. and Barbara Walters to Howard Stern’s “Wack Pack” members.

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Meet The Press Joins SiriusXM Line-Up Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:11:05 +0000 → Read More]]> 12-16 mtpMeet The Press, the iconic television show watched by millions on Sunday mornings is now available on SiriusXM.  Satellite Radio subscribers can catch the show in their cars and not miss a beat.  SiriusXM POTUS, channel 124, will be the home of the show, and it will air on Sundays at 10:00 am ET.  An afternoon re-broadcast of SiriusXM’s Meet the Press will also be available through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smartphones and other connected devices.

NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd is the backbone of Meet the Press, and the show is the networks flagship Sunday morning public affairs program.  Meet The Press is also longest-running broadcast in television history.   Each week, Todd hosts top political leaders, news-makers, and influential voices to discuss the major issues facing Americans and drive the debate in Washington and beyond.

Meet the Press is an institution for in-depth, robust analysis of politics and issues,” said Dave Gorab, Vice President and General Manager of Talk Programming, SiriusXM.  “We’re pleased that Chuck Todd and his weekly panel of our nation’s top political voices will now be available to SiriusXM listeners at home or on the go.”

Meet the Press has always been more than a TV show — it’s a tremendous brand that we hope is synonymous with the best of political debate on every platform, regardless of where or how you get your fix,” said Chuck Todd. “We’re thrilled to expand our reach and welcome the audience of SiriusXM listeners.”

Meet The Press aired for the first time on satellite radio this past Sunday, and will air each week to the thrill of both Meet The Press and SiriusXM fans.

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Can Old Lawsuit Help SiriusXM in New Lawsuit? Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:55:28 +0000 → Read More]]> 12-8 turtlesAs many readers know, SiriusXM has faced some legal setbacks recently with regard to pre-1972 music recordings.  The Turtles, authors of “Happy Together”, have sued the satellite radio provider in several states over royalties.  The current laws for royalties cover songs after 1972, leaving a loop hole of sorts in what happens with pre-1972 recordings.  The Turtles have had a small string of legal victories against SiriusXM, which have bolstered their case, and couold have implications on other services such as Pandora.

GigaOM’s Jeff John Roberts reports that SiriusXM may have an ace up its sleeve in the form of a decades old legal case involving the same issue.  His article is well wroth reading.  According to Roberts, SiriusXM is pinning  hopes on a case from 1940.  Apparently SiriusXM is asking a New York judge to use this particular case as a basis to reconsider her ruling last month.

Roberts sourced a legal website, Litigation Daily, which came to the opinion that SiriusXM believes that U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon overlooked the significance of the legal battle and decision from nearly 75 years ago.  The 1940 ruling concluded that a radio station did not have to pay an orchestra band leader, in addition to the song composer, each time it played a recording of his performance.  Essentially the opinion was that state law should not let performers, once a phonograph was sold, control how and when it was played.

SiriusXM passes on royalty costs to consumers.  The implications might be that listening to satellite radio might get a bit more expensive.  Taking it a step further, if costs are deemed too high for consumers and business suffers, the company may need to re-think how many channels are dedicated pre-1972 content.  There is still a lot of moving parts in play.  Stay Tuned!

]]> 6 Chris Rock Interviewed On SiriusXM’s Town Hall Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:51:31 +0000 → Read More]]> chris rockSiriusXM will get a visit from legendary comedian and actor Chris Rock.  The writer, director and star of the highly anticipated movie Top Five will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with a select group of satellite radio listeners for the SiriusXM “Town Hall” series today.

  The Town Hall event will be Moderated by Cedric the Entertainer. “SiriusXM’s Town Hall Chris Rock” will hit the air on Thursday, December 11 at 5:00 pm ET on Raw Dog Comedy Hits (channel 99) via satellite and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smartphones and other connected devices. For rebroadcast times, please visit

The Town Hall concept features stars in intimate settings where fans have the opportunity to ask featured stars questions and interact with them. Chris Rock will discuss his career and  promote his upcoming movie Top Five, opening on December 12. Top Five was written and directed Rock.  He also happens to have the starring role.  Some scenes from the movie were filmed at the SiriusXM studios.

]]> 0 SiriusXM Settles Over Automatic Renewal – Pays $3.8 million Fri, 05 Dec 2014 21:39:50 +0000 → Read More]]> gavel-handFile this in the category of “headache gone”.  SiriusXM has agreed to settle an action by several Attorney General’s to refund about $3.8 million dollars to consumers who’s service was automatically renewed but undesired.  As part of the settlement, Sirius XM has also agreed to make several changes to its business, including improving its cancellation process and sending notices before automatic renewals. Sirius XM said Friday in a statement that these changes have already been made.  Customers who may have been unfairly charged between July 28, 2008, and Dec. 4, 2014, can apply for a refund from their state’s attorney general office or from SiriusXM.

From an investment perspective, the news carried a slight impact on stock price upon announcement.  However, I expect that the fundamental business has not been impacted, and the size of the settlement quite small.  further, if the customer service perception improves, it can only be considered as a good thing.  This action will solve one legal headache that has been hovering over the company.  On Monday, the equity should return to more normal ranges, and perhaps even begin to build upon a solid foundation in the mid $3’s.

]]> 2 November 2014 Auto Sales A Mixed Bag, But Good For SiriusXM Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:21:42 +0000 → Read More]]> The reports from the auto sector were a mixed bag of sorts, but overall the numbers will treat SiriusXM just fine.  Auto sales were a mixed bag because some OEM’s saw year over year declines.  Despite this fact, overall auto sales were 55,000 units higher than November of 2013.  November of 2014 saw sales come in just below 1.3 million units with the actual number being 1,297,218.  This was about 20,000 units better than the sales in October.  Sales topped analyst expectations by about 20,000 units and with a SAAR of 17.2 million, it has been the best November pace since 2003.

Market share numbers have not changed much, and the mix of sales has actually been a big positive for SiriusXM.  With 2014 closing out, analysts, as well as SiriusXM, will begin projecting 2015 expectations.  Thus far in 2014 we have seen total sales at 14,970,562 units.  This would imply that sales will indeed eclipse 16 million this year.  A realistic expectation is that December sales will come in at 1.35 million to 1.4 million units.  That would bring a 2014 total to between 16.3 and 16.4 million.  That is just shy of the most bullish estimates of 16.5 million at the beginning of the year.

SiriusXM garners the bulk of its subscribers from installations and free trials in new cars.  Over the last few years, the growth in the auto sector has helped fuel growth in satellite radio.  The hope is that the auto sector can see sales of over 17 million next year and then maintain such levels for a period of time.  A lot of what happens will depend on the overall economy.

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Will Liberty and SiriusXM Merge Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:31:42 +0000 → Read More]]> 11-21 siri 1The question of what Liberty intends to do with its stake in SiriusXM is always not far from the surface of any discussion relative to the satellite radio provider.  With the recent moves and spin-off’s that Liberty Media has made, the concept becomes even more interesting.  With the cable side of Liberty already spun off, the Liberty media entity that is involved with SiriusXM is “cleaner” than it ever has been.  These days Liberty media is a 56% stake in SiriusXM, a 27% stake in Live Nation, the Atlanta Braves, and several small stakes in other companies.  Meanwhile SiriusXM is comprised of itself and full ownership in Agero.

In many ways, a merger could make sense to many that have followed the sector for quite some time.  Outside of a merger, there is always the question of whether or not Liberty simply does another buyout offer.   The reality is that is is more likely a question of when a transaction happens than if it happens.  The structure of such a deal is what would likely be most interesting to SiriusXM investors.  Some long time investors are not a fan of Liberty taking over SiriusXM, but the reality is that this equity has a lid of sorts on it until some sort of move happens.  With Liberty owning 56% of the stock, this company is essentially controlled by Liberty already.

Yes, SiriusXM is generating massive free cash flow.  Yes, SiriusXM is in a great position in terms of its debt leverage.  Yes, SirisusXM is buying back shares in large numbers.  While this would seem to indicate that SiriusXM is deserving of being a stand-alone, we can not avoid the fact that Liberty has 56% of the stock, and that position will only grow with each share bought back.  At some stage Liberty could become a 60% owner simply by sitting back and waiting.

The next move that happens, in my opinion, will be timed to deliver the biggest bang for the buck.  This time I think that the board, the street, and investors will be more in tune with what happens.  The “romance” of seeing SIRI as an ongoing ticker symbol and stand-alone company is now gone.  Over the past year that reality has grown to be more and more accepted.  Investors are releasing the romance in exchange for something that simply makes the most financial sense.  It has been a long time coming, and while it will not be reality until a move is made, it has essentially become accepted.

It is no coincidence that Liberty’s CEO, Greg Maffei, has floated out and discussed such possibilities in 2014.  The most recent discussion was on CNBC last week.  This type of discussion has come up a few times this year.  Often these things happen because the street expresses an interest in the concept, but likely, the concept is floated to test the waters.  In January of 2014 Liberty put an offer on the table to buy out SiriusXM.  The company ultimately withdrew the offer, but maintained that such a deal makes financial sense within a certain price range.  The first pass at a possible deal was met with some cynicism on the part of SiriusXM stake-holders.  Now, after a year of essentially flat equity performance despite massive share buybacks, SiriusXM stakeholders may be more willing to entertain a deal of this type.  Many SiriusXM investors expressed that they did not want to be rolled into a Liberty stock that was heavily into the cable sector.  Liberty removed that objection by spinning out the cable business.   There are possible synergies with Live nation, so that leaves the only real objectionable component as the Atlanta Braves.  Will investors balk at having a Major League Baseball team as a small component of a deal?  In my opinion the merger or takeover waters are much more clear now.  Stay Tuned!

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October Auto Sales Top Expectations Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:51:47 +0000 → Read More]]> October saw auto sales beat expectations as October of 2014 was the best October seen in many years.  Sales came in at an impressive 1.277 million, an improvement over the 1.203 million sold in October of 2013.  The news sets up a good start to the Q4 numbers and should also bode well for SiriusXM Satellite Radio.  The SAAR for October of 2014 was 16.5 million.  This is not the highest SAAR we have seen this year, but it is in the top side of monthly SAAR’s during the year.  Truck sales seemed to lead the way.

Most automakers saw month over month gains.  The year to date total on car sales now stands at 13.67 million with two months of sales left in the year.  Hitting 16 million would seem to be well in hand and challenging 16.5 million an outside possibility.  Historically, November is better than October and December better than November.

For SiriusXM any new car sales help.  The company has different types of deals that relate to when a new car is counted as a subscriber.  In October the companies that count as subscriptions at manufacture accounted for 39.47% of the pool.  The companies that count subscribers at the time of sale accounted for 13.14% of the pool, and the companies that do not count trials as subscriptions accounted for 47.39%.

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SiriusXM Earnings Look Good, But Look Deeper Tue, 28 Oct 2014 22:40:19 +0000 → Read More]]> quarterly resultsSiriusXM reported earnings today, and at first blush it would appear that the company met expectations, and is performing well enough to raise some guidance metrics for the balance of the year.  The company reported record revenue, saw net income increase 117%, had a record $381 million in adjusted EBITDA, has repurchased $2.1 billion in stock, and raised guidance on subscribers, revenue, and free cash flow.  With all of that, what is not to like?  Churn went up to 1.9% quarter over quarter, and conversion rate from trial subscriptions to self paying subscriptions dropped from 42% to 41%.  These two metrics alone are enough to give the great results we saw otherwise some pause.  In particular, the street seems to be thinking about connected cars, more consumer options, and  whether or not the uptick in churn and downtick in conversion are indicators that are hinting toward a shift in what consumers use for audio entertainment.

Now, let’s be clear.  The company is indeed producing good numbers.  The company is still showing growth.  The company is headed in the right direction.  What then is holding this equity back?  One thing that could be holding SiriusXM back is the fact that the majority of SiriusXM stock is held by Liberty Media.  Liberty essentially runs SiriusXM and while they certainly want the company to do well, there may be a side that wants good performance, but not great performance.  With each share bought back, Liberty’s stake in the company increases.  At some stage, Liberty may well make another move, but as investors found out the last time around, that move will not be at a huge premium.  This may frustrate some investors, but an investment in satellite radio may be much better under one roof than split up under partial ownership by a large player like Liberty.

Another thing that investors are looking at is the shift in metrics and how they are accounted for.  The comparisons that seem so good now will become harder in the quarters to come.  The fact of the matter is that while the 2014 guidance is good, the road to impressive gains will be getting more difficult.  Subscriber revenue seems to be reaching a plateau.  Ad revenue is seeming to plateau.  There may not be elasticity in price, and the auto sector may peak next year.  The segments for growth are evaporating and the competitive landscape is evolving as well.  In my opinion the best way to describe SiriusXM at the moment is “stable”.  Stay Tuned!

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