Monday, February 2, 2004

Satellite radio soars: "Whatever it is, satellite radio has taken off. Over the holidays, an unprecedented number of subscribers signed with XM and Sirius, the Coke and Pepsi of orbital radio, for programming that plays through special car or indoor receivers and can be heard coast-to-coast. The services have entered into partnerships with NASCAR, NPR, Fox, … and others to create content that has regular broadcasters feeling earthbound.

"It is a moment like the arrival of cable television, a novelty 30 years ago, and now a drain on traditional broadcasters' audience and ad revenue."

"XM signed up 23,000 people on Christmas Day alone, and ended the year with 1.4 million subscribers. Sirius had its biggest month ever in December, nearly matching the 75,000 subscribers it signed in the entire first half of last year. It ended 2003 with 261,000 customers."

"It took four years to sell a million VCRs, and three years to sell that many CD players. DVD caught on faster—a million units sold in just over two years.

"Satellite radio has beaten them all, signing a million subscribers within 23 months. Only small satellite dishes reached critical mass faster, says [Sirius CEO Joe] Clayton, former head of DirecTV. He estimates the market for satellite radio to be 31/2 times larger, considering all the cars, trucks and boats out there."

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