Sirius XM adds over 1 million subscribers in '10

The satellite radio service's new subscriber figures are in sharp contrast to the first three quarters of 2009 when it suffered a net loss of 488,000.

Sirius XM is savoring a strong 2010, with a net gain of more than 334,000 subscribers in the third quarter and more than 1 million so far this year.

By contrast, the satellite radio company said today, it added 102,000 net subscribers in the third quarter of 2009 and suffered a net loss of 488,000 in the first three quarters last year.

Sirius XM now has 19.8 million subscribers.

A big chunk of Sirius XM's growth is coming through its Sirius operation. The company said that over 620,000 of its net subscribers this year joined Sirius. Just over 469,000 net subscribers have signed up for XM. Sirius is still smaller than XM in overall subscribers, though. The company said XM currently has 10.2 million subscribers, while Sirius has 9.6 million subscribers.

Sirius XM's resurgence has been dramatic. In 2008, the company lost $5.3 billion. In 2009, it lost nearly $529 million. The company has been profitable so far this year, generating a $41 million profit in its first quarter and a $15 million profit in its second quarter.

However, there is still a wild card out there: Howard Stern. The radio show host is at the end of his five-year contract, which was valued at $500 million. Stern has said on his show that he and Sirius XM have yet to ink a deal and that time is running out. Considering he played an integral role in bringing Sirius to the mass market, his potential departure at year's end could have a negative impact on Sirius XM. Speculation abounds over how much influence Stern really has on satellite radio and how many listeners will actually jump ship if he leaves.

Regardless, Sirius XM expects to see its subscriber base grow through the rest of the year. It is predicting 20.1 million subscribers by the start of 2011.

 

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