Carmel Group revisits XM/Sirius


Research firm Carmel Group has been retained by the NAB to study the proposed merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. They note the same problems with the merger that other antitrust experts have testified to before Congress. "The competition between Sirius and XM is a critical matter for artists, performers, agents and technicians who work for and with these two entities. Many will lose their jobs in a merger. Perhaps more important, continued competition is critical to consumers." That’s because the competitive action between the two has been extensive, as Carmel documents in its "Ping-Pong" chart. Going back to 2001, it notes an improvement made by one and the subsequent competitive answer from the other. The categories include everything from program offerings, receiver qualities, factory-installation deals with auto makers and even use of geostationary satellites. Merge the two, and the need for this competition goes away.

Further, there is no was for a land-based radio station to compete with the DARS services’ massive channel capacity and national mobility. "Put shortly, if you can’t obtain huge swaths of channels and programming anywhere else, how can AM, FM, HD radio, Internet radio, music-to-cell phones and MP3 devices be labeled competitive to satellite radio?"