The iPhone and iPod Touch application has finally made it to the market, but on a day where satellite radio fans and consumers should be celebrating, we instead see ire and confusion. Sirius XM's app seems cool, but it is missing one of the biggest draws that satellite radio has. The App does not include Howard Stern, and in my opinion, this mistake is huge. How can the "King of All Media" be on the sidelines here?
People are wondering why the absence of Stern. Some seem to think that there is a contractual issue, some think that the company may not have the rights to include Stern, some think Stern wanted more money, and others believe that the company is doing what it can to get additional dollars out of consumers.
In my opinion, there is nothing that should have held back the inclusion of Howard Stern. Stern's show is already available on the Internet feed, and in point of fact, the iPohone and certainly the iPod Touch are basically mini computers. As a consumer, I can buy an AT&T air card, plug it into my computer and stream my Sirius XM Internet subscription that includes Howard Stern. Why shouldn't I be able to do that on an iPhone or iPod Touch?
Sirius XM Radio has squandered a wonderful opportunity by excluding the very content that people are clamoring for. The iPhone and iPod Touch phenomenon is something that Sirius XM needed to embrace, and they needed to do it in a big way. Instead of a wonderful app that gave consumers value in their subscription, Sirius XM's new offering seems to fall short of being a "must have" app. Instead of people talking about all of the great things available on the app, people are focusing on what is not available. That creates a hurdle that makes garnering new subscriptions far more difficult than otherwise would have been the case.
The damage is now done, and it will be hard to recover from. There are already over 200 people who have rated the app with only one star. Overall the app is rated as a two star app. By contrast, Slacker, and Pandora enjoy near perfect consumer ratings on iTunes. People want to know why Howard is not available, and thus far there are no real answers being provided. Consumers may feel slighted because of the missing content, and investors are sure to be angry over this fiasco that they hoped would provide stability to the stock. In the end, as things look at the moment, no one wins.
Long term, the app may provide a boost to the company revenues, and even subscriber numbers, but these results will pale in comparison to what it could have been. It is sad to see such an opportunity squandered. It is sad to see the company make another move that gives the naysayers a stronger voice. Hopefully the company will provide more insight on this, and they will modify the service to include as much of their content as possible. What happens next is anyone guess.
Position - Long Sirius XM, No Position apple, No Position AT&T