Sirius to Launch Live In-Car TV Service by 2008

04 December 2006

NEW YORK: The launch of a live nationwide satellite TV service beamed to moving cars might trigger thoughts among US auto insurers of leaping from the nearest tall building.

However, given that the service will be viewable only by back-seat passengers, insurers can relax - as can parents with a carload of kids rehearsing World War III.

It might also provide a long awaited boost for Sirius Satellite Radio and its martyred shareholders. Announcement that the project is near to finalizing three content deals added 11 cents to the company's share price which closed last week at $4.26 (€3.20; £2.15).

Speaking at Reuters Media Summit in New York on Thursday, Sirius ceo Mel Karmzin revealed the imminent deals: "I don't know if they will be done by CES [the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January] but that is what we are shooting for. We will have video in the rear seat of the car up and running."

Sirius subscribers, who pay $13 monthly for the radio service, will be charged extra for the TV facility, although Karmazin declined to quantify the price or name the cars in which it may be offered as an optional built-in extra.

The project, likely to launch in 2008, could have significant value-added benefits for Sirius. Said Karmazin: "The [infrastructural] investment is already made . . . You want to get more subscribers and increase your average revenue per user and … one of the ways is with some other services, and video is one of them."

Rival XM Satellite Radio is leery about in-car TV. Although it has voiced interest in a similar venture, it says it awaits evidence of a worthwhile market before following suit.

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff