Sirius Radio Counts Cost of US Subscriber Success

28 January 2005

The cost of successfully adding new subscribers has come at a high price for US broadcaster Sirius Satellite Radio.

The company's fourth quarter results show revenue soared to $25.2 million and subscribers numbers rose by nearly 481,000 to a total of 1.24 million for 2004. It predicts that figure will rise to 2.5 million by the end of 2005.

But net losses crept up to $261.9m in the period, bringing the total net loss for 2004 to $712.2m on revenue of $66.9m.

New ceo Mel Karmazin says Sirius, the nation's number two satellite radio operator, will focus on curbing costs and turning round the net loss.

He promises heavy investment in the coming year to build ad revenues. The company's music channels are commercial-free but it plans to sell ads during its sports and talk shows, helped by the arrival of shock jock Howard Stern early in 2006.

Karmazin expects many of Stern's loyal band of advertisers to move with him from rival and US market leader XM Satellite Radio. He also vehemently denies speculation that the two companies are considering a merger.

Karmazin insists: "I have not met with the chairman or ceo so I have no idea where any of this came from."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff