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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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Sirius and XM satellite radio formally merged in 2008 and, three years later, a remapping of their channel lineup has made the two networks finally appear as one.
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SiriusXM's new schedule starts Wednesday with most channels moving to new numbers and a few exceptions. For example, Howard Stern's two stations, Howard 100 and Howard 101, are still on channels 100 and 101, respectively.

Top-40 station SiriusXM Hits 1, which was previously on XM 1 and Sirius 2, is now just on channel 2. Martha Stewart Living Radio, Oprah Radio, Hair Nation, Pearl Jam Radio, Playboy Radio, Shade 45, Radio Disney and more than a hundred other stations also have new, unified dial positions now.

For the stations that have moved, SiriusXM says that presets "should automatically 'follow' any channels that you’ve preset to their new locations." If you still can't find the channels you want, the company has posted a guide to their new channel lineup.

Stern, who signed a new five-year contract in December, is expected to start a new reduced schedule this week. According to Digital Spy, Stern told his listeners last Thursday that he would begin alternating between three-day and four-day work weeks beginning in May. The infamous radio shock jock, who has remained on the air since suing SiriusXM in March for withheld stock awards, said his contract allows the lighter workload.
Things are looking up all over. Sirius just reported that they had a great quarter thanks to new car sales. They are up 118% new subscribers from Q1 2010 and hit 20 million subscribers, up 2 million from the same period last year.

    Subscriber growth accelerates. Strong auto sales drove net subscriber additions in the first quarter of 2011 to 373,064, up 118% from 171,441 in the first quarter of 2010. Ending subscribers as of March 31, 2011 were 20,564,028, up 9% from the 18,944,199 subscribers reported as of March 31, 2010.

Clearly the small uptick in buying is improving the outlook for cars and the radios inside them alike.
SiriusXM announced Tuesday that its first quarter profits had gone up 88 percent, thanks to improved auto sales driving subscriber growth. The satellite radio served posted a revenue of $724 million for the quarter, which Forbes says fell just short of expectations of $736.3 million. Still, the company's first quarter revenue improved 9 percent from a year earlier.

The Wall Street Journal reports SiriusXM ended the quarter with 20.6 million subscribers, up from 18.9 million a year earlier. "Churn," also known as subscriber turnover, was unchanged at 2 percent while acquisition costs went down 3.4 percent. Average revenue per subscriber had gone up 0.3 percent.
The net subscriber growth of 373,064 puts the New York-based satellite radio operator over 20.5 million subscribers (20,564,028) for the first time. That figure is up 9% from the 18.9 million subs of a year ago. The company also reveals that its "SAC", or subscriber acquisition cost, continues to drop, from $59 to $57, and the churn is stable, at around 2%. CEO Mel Karmazin says "we operate in a highly competitive audio environment, yet consumers continue to choose SiriusXM."
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Free cash flow improved from a negative $127 million last year to a negative $17 million, partly driven by lower costs related to satellites. Net income nearly doubled, from $42 million last year to $78 million for the quarter that ended March 31. That's equal to 1 cent per share. CFO David Frear says "we ended the first quarter with $434 million of cash and cash equivalents" after using $135 million to buy back debt. The leverage (net debt to adjusted EBITDA) improved from 6.6 times a year ago to 4.1 times. SiriusXM sticks with its guidance of achieving $3 billion in total revenue this year and adjusted EBITDA of about  $715 million. Subscriber-wise, it believes it can add a total of 1.4 million subs in 2011, and should generate a better-than-expected $350 million or in free cash flow. 
SiriusXM said it expects to grow by another 1.4 million subscribers this year.


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