Here’s a shocker. Merger-hungry satellite services XM and Sirius conducted a poll on a la carte menu offerings and darned if the results weren’t favorable. Various pluralities agreed that certain packages the pair contemplate offering if the merger goes through would be "good for consumers."
Respondents saying "good" to various packages ran from 77% to 62%. When it came to family-friendly menus, XM/Sirius cited 2-to-1 approval, with 56% calling it good against 29% calling it bad. A similar plurality said these packages make the merger a good rather than bad idea to the tune of 57% to 28%. Pollster Robert Autry, partner of Public Opinion Strategies, LLC, which conducted the survey, said, "These numbers are even more impressive when you consider that recent public opinion studies have shown the American public to be skeptical about the impact mergers will have on consumers and the country."
However, NAB was interested in the questions that weren’t asked. NAB EVP Dennis Wharton said, "Here’s what XM and Sirius conveniently did not ask poll participants: Do you like monopolies? Does competition restrain a monopolist’s price-gouging? Should government reward two companies that routinely violate FCC rules with a monopoly? Did you know you will have to buy a new radio that costs 200 or more to get the alleged benefits of a la carte programming? Did you know that Howard Stern and other ‘talent’ will cost consumers more – not less – under a la carte? Did you know that under a la carte, the per-channel price of a merged XM-Sirius will rise by 40 percent to 188 percent? Today’s poll signals the lengths to which XM and Sirius will game the system in order to achieve monopoly status."