Sirius XM sticks it to subscribers

Wasn't the Sirius XM merger supposed to lower costs and benefit subscribers? It doesn't seem to be working out that way.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read

How's the Sirius XM satellite radio monopoly working out for subscribers? Not so well. Now that Sirius XM is the only game in town, it's nudging up fees for subscribers. Nice!

The one and only satellite radio company's boasts of its ever-increasing subscriber base are gone now, and the decline is significant. The number floating around the Internet is a loss of 400,000 subscribers. That still leaves 18.6 million, but there's no way of knowing how many of that number are full-price-paying subscribers.

Could the subscriber losses be attributed to recent price hikes? The family plan package went from $6.99 to $8.99 a month and there's a monthly $2.99 fee to receive Sirius XM stations over the Internet. That service was previously free.

Back in March of last year I asked who was going to pay for the merger, and now we know. We've lost favorite channels and pay more for the service. So please explain why the merger was such a swell idea?

And what about Howard Stern? His megabucks contract is nearing its end; can Sirius XM hang on to the former terrestrial radio god now that he's faded into near oblivion? Hunkered down on satellite radio, Stern's visibility ain't what it used to be.

But if the 2 million Stern fans paid an extra $2 a month for the privilege of hearing his semi-daily genius, would that help Sirius XM show its first-ever profit?

Over the past year or so, Sirius' signal quality has worsened. Again, the post-merger performance woes are widespread. My Sirius signals have improved somewhat in the last two months, but I still experience signal dropouts lasting a few seconds several times a day.

How about you?

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