A substantial posting from one of our readers on the merits of Sirius vs. XM. Go to the comments section for my thoughts.
"Some of the XM investigations that surfaced today will probably also apply to Sirius when they announce their financials next week. Also, the FCC investigation is a joke and the worst that could happen is a recall for some receivers, which aren't even manufactured by XM, but rather Delphi.
As for counting subscribers, both seem to be a bit shady. XM's controversy comes from how they account for promotional subscribers and for how many months of the promotional period is paid for by the auto manufacturers. The baseball promotions that you speak of are completely paid for by MLB, so they are not part of the investigation. Sirius counts subscribers in cars that are unsold. So once a Chrysler, or a car from any other auto partner, rolls off the assembly line, Sirius counts it as one more subscriber. Both questionable if you ask me.
Also, Sirius may never get the chance to catch up to XM because of the magnitude of their spending. For example, the metric SAC, subscriper acquisition cost, was $64 for XM for all of 2005, while Sirius' SAC was $139 for all of 2005. So Sirius was spending over twice as much to acquire each subscriber. XM quickly reduced this metric years ago, but Sirius is having a difficult time. Also, Sirius' losses are widening, and that was before they started paying Howard his $100+ million. Sure, Howard has saved Sirius up to this point, but you have to question at what price?
Speaking of Howard, I think the migration is practically complete. Out of sight, out of mind. He no longer makes headlines and is almost forgotten. Especially now that a respectable replacement has been made with Opie & Anthony. I'm not saying that O&A are better than Howard, but they are an adequate substitute for those casual Howard listeners.
And speaking of Opie & Anthony, XM made a wise choice by syndicating the show. XM learned with O&A, that after 18 months on satellite, it is hard to attract new subscribers. So, now they have a tremendously large audience to which they can promote XM. Not to mention the financial aspect. I wouldn't be surprised if CBS is paying XM a large sum for syndication, but there is also the possibility of splitting advertising revenue from FM. Very few O&A fans, if any, will cancel their XM because of the deal.
I'm sorry if this seems long and drawn out, but it frustrates me to see inaccuracies and a bunch of fanboy BS for Sirius because "they have Howard.""