A few days ago, I touched on the fact that the much touted 4oo million dollars in synergies was a low ball figure. In an interview on CNBC today, Citi analyst Tony Wible agreed with me that the estimates are in fact conservative.
You may not have noticed it, but Tony makes a good point in the interview. He points out that auto sales have been declining for the last four years, yet Sirius (and Xm) managed to grow over the same period. I am now questioning why it is the street insists on tying satellite radio sales, with auto sales. It’s obviously a failed indicator.
Now that I have that out of my system, I had a thought regarding the synergies. We have all heard of the cost cutting benefits and the improved ad sales that may come. For a moment, I’d like to think outside of the box. After listening to Mel’s interviews today, it seems to me the company is less concerned with what will happen and is much more focused on what can be done immediately to improve its balance sheet.
Sirius Xm has a pool of nearly 20 million potential new subscribers that can be gained in this quarter in the form of former subscribers! At first you may think it impossible. I beg to differ. How many people canceled their XM service when Nascar moved to Sirius? How many GM owners would like Howard or the NFL? How many Ford owners would like Opie & Anthony, or Major League Baseball? With the best of both Sirius and XM coming soon, this is an obvious company resource.
A marketing campaign directed at this immense pool of potential subscribers through advertising, mailings and telemarketing could reap huge rewards. There are so many benefits to the merger that we can only begin to imagine the possibilities. Subscribers could potentially double in a single quarter. Now that won’t happen because Grandma is probably not going to pay for satellite radio for the 35 minutes she spends in the car each week.
Yet the resource exists, and unlike the outer shelf and Anwar, there is nothing stopping us from tapping it. Additional “re-subs” together with increased penetration would knock Wall Street naysayers on their rears, and it it could be implemented right NOW. The road to profitability may prove to be paved, ironically, with years of lost subscribers.
Position: Long Sirius.