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Latest Satellite News Discussion, New Sirius-XM suffers: recession or confusion? at General Satellite News forum; Sirius-XM suffers: recession or confusion? Chris Forrester Sirius-XM lost 2% of its subscribers in Q1, leaving it with 18.6m paid-up ...

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New Sirius-XM suffers: recession or confusion? - 11-May-2009, 11:30

Sirius-XM suffers: recession or confusion?

Chris Forrester

Sirius-XM lost 2% of its subscribers in Q1, leaving it with 18.6m paid-up subs. CEO Mel Karmazin blamed the lower figures on the recession and the state of the US auto-industry where depressed sales have led to slower take-up. Most new cars have satellite radio built in, and a free subscription for the first years ownership.

Karmazin told analysts that: Sirius- XM is a cash flow growth story. We posted our second consecutive quarter of positive adjusted EBITDA and this will continue, he said. Indeed, the pay-radio broadcaster has gone further and raised its projection for 2009 cash flow now predicting at least $350 million, up from the previous projection of $300m. We really like our subscription-driven revenue model, Karmazin stated unequivocally.

This phrase was seen as something of a dig at fellow director Greg Maffei, representing John Malones Liberty Media, who had seemingly suggested that there could be a non-subscription future for Sirius-XM. Maffeis theory is not without logic, after all, a 200 channel coast-to-coast advertising-supported radio system would give current broadcasters something to be worried about. But neither the FCC nor the NAB would stand for such a change in Sirius-XMs operating license.

The broadcasters Q1 pro forma revenues rose 5% to $605.5 million. Now that Sirius and XM are now a single company the cash-flow improvements and operating expense savings are beginning to kick in. Operating costs for the merged company decreased 23% year-over-year.


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