Some are wondering what the big fuss was all about back when NAB was launching a major effort to keep XM and Sirius from merging. A reporter in Seattle sees competition for radio, but doesn’t think its going to be coming from a satellite. Bill Virgin of the Post-Intelligencer notes that both media face competition from personal listening devices and the internet.
But when it comes to in-vehicle listening, Virgin says that either the satellite programming is formatically similar to what’s available from terrestrial radio for free, or it can be better programmed by the listener via the CD player, also for no additional charge that what one already paid for the CD. He notes that the satellite subscriber total has been inflated by buyers of new automobiles who were plugged in for a free one-year trial, producing a retention rate of less than 50%.
One person Virgin spoke with predicted that Sirius XM will fall prey to the internet as soon as it is established in-vehicle; meanwhile, radio will still be a factor if it can exploit its local roots.
RBR/TVBR observation: There it is again: another plug for localism. It’s time to differentiate from satellite radio, not emulate it.