Channel changes create all kinds of reactions. Over the past month or so Sirius XM has made channel changes and subscribers have either loved or hated the result. Among the most vocal of subscribers have been those that dislike the direction the company has taken with any particular genre or content.
More often than not there is a huge outcry of dislike immediately after the change is made, but as time passes, the outcry diminishes, and eventually simply fades away. Sure, passionate fans will continue to complain, but typically the numbers are not large enough to generate a reaction from the company. After all, and as foolish as this may sound, satellite radio, with well over 100 channels, can not make all of the people happy all of the time.
At the end of 2008, XM subscribers lost Fox Business as part of their channel line-up. Interestingly, to this day, that article is still getting regular comments from subscribers indicating how big a part of their listening day Fox Business actually is. Unlike some other comments relating to content line-up changes, the response on the Fox Business article has had a majority of comments that are well thought out and well reasoned. In most cases, the stark difference between Fox Business and rivals such as CNBC and Bloomberg seems to be in the nature of the delivery of the shows. People like Fox Business because they say it is not dry and boring, and the show gives a fresh new flavor to what many times has been a boring subject.
Cathy stated, “I am terribly disappointed that Fox Business News has been dropped. There really is nothing else like it or as good in my opinion. I listen to xm primarily for news and this channel was one of the main reasons I have an xm subscription. Please bring it back!!!”
For his Part Peter said, “I also am extremely disappointed in this move. I have been a XM sub for well… just about since it started and ever since FBN started it is/was my wake up in the morning, my drive to work, my drive home, and any other time that I was not in reach of FBN on TV. I agree with numerous other posters here that they have a great and lively group of anchors in comparison to the alternative. Find a way to bring it back!”
What we seem to have here is a network that was more popular than many realized, and something that Sirius XM should give some consideration to. I don’t know the details of what Murdoch was seeking to make the channel become a fixture on the Sirius XM dial, but clearly there are listeners to this network. When I wrote the piece, I honestly did not expect the reaction I got. Perhaps part of my surprise is the fact that as a Sirius subscriber I did not receive Fox Business, so logically can not miss something that I never had.
Understanding that all of these comments come from the XM side of the subscriber-ship demonstrates to me that the potential for double the backlash would have been heard if Sirius subscribers had had this content all along. Perhaps the Sirius side of the subscriber spectrum, who have never had a chance to compare, were missing out on something compelling that the merger could have delivered, but because of a business decision never had a chance to hear.
This story has two distinct issues. First is that it would appear that some compelling content is no longer available to listeners. Second is that we have no idea what the details of keeping Fox Business in the line-up would cost. Clearly, there are passionate fans who are looking for an answer and in hopes that Fox Business can find its way back to the line-up. Hopefully the company can offer some explanation that will allow subscribers to better understand the decision.
Position – Long Sirius XM