SiriusXM beats expectations

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Pay-radio operator SiriusXM added a net 330,000 new subscribers during its Q1 period, and this took its overall subscriber numbers to more than 33 million.  But the company said an international roll-out was unlikely.

Revenue growth matched the expansion in numbers, with revenue up 5 per cent to 1.4 billion, and net income up an impressive 40 per cent to $289 million for the quarter.

SiriusXM told investors that it had bought back 52 million of its own shares for cancellation, at an average price of $5.67 per share. Given that shares are now trading at around $6.20 this was a sensible move.

The business is 71 per cent owned by Liberty Media.

Guidance from the company is to expect net subscriber growth for the year to be about 1 million, with overall revenues of some $5.7 billion. SiriusXm would start transmitting video content shortly, beginning with video content from its star radio announcer, Howard Stern.

CEO James Meyer told analysts that its drive to sign up used car dealers was continuing to grow, and 5000 new distributors were signed up during the past year (to 32,000). “Just like in the new car world, we are working to ensure used car buyers receive a high-quality timely trial from every pre-owned sales channel, and we’re investing heavily to obtain more timely and accurate data on private transactions as well.”

“During the second quarter, we will also launch our new streaming experience with new iOS and Android apps, plus a new web player, each delivering a better experience outside the car with an improved interface, more channels, content on demand, and personalized recommendations.”

As to the possibility of expanding outside North America, Scott Greenstein (SiriusXM’s president/chief content officer) said that having to negotiate individual country-by-country agreements with music rights holders impacted potential profits. “If you can add that product on top of some other business that you have a chance of earning some incremental margin, but you wouldn’t launch it on your own, it’s just not a profitable business.” Meyer said the company would focus on North America where there were some 240 million vehicles on the road.


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