Advanced Television

SiriusXM sees modest sub growth

April 29, 2020

By Chris Forrester

Pay-radio broadcaster SiriusXM (now including numbers from Pandora) showed only modest quarter-on-quarter growth of some 69,000 net new subscribers during Q1 this year. It also emerged that ‘shock jock’ Howard Stern is considering his options as his contract with SiriusXM comes to an end.

Revenue grew 5 per cent (YoY), but virus uncertainty means that SiriusXM has withdrawn its 2020 guidance. EBITDA for the quarter was $639 million (up 13 per cent).

“Since the start of the global pandemic, our top priorities have been ensuring our employees’ safety and well-being, and continuing to support our subscribers and listeners by providing them the best entertainment, news, and information in the audio space.  On both fronts, I’m pleased by our response.  We are streaming SiriusXM for free, and we have been in overdrive introducing new shows, channels and special virtual moments.  In conjunction with NYU Langone Health, we’ve launched a 24/7 Covid-19 focused channel and hotline, an important complement to our Doctor Radio channel,” stated Jim Meyer, CEO/SiriusXM.

“This challenging period has in fact inspired enormous creativity from our programming teams at SiriusXM and Pandora, but creativity and adaptability has not just been limited to our programming teams. Global stay-at-home orders swiftly and materially altered the way we work.  We’ve navigated the material disruption of call centre staffing by migrating thousands of team members to work-from-home in mere days, retooled marketing campaigns, worked quickly to support our automakers, and more.  In short, we immediately took steps to ensure that our audio entertainment service would be uninterrupted, to provide the best possible customer service, and to continue to operate our business with the level of excellence you have come to expect from SiriusXM,” Mayer said.

“Just as it was a little over a decade ago during the global financial crisis, SiriusXM’s subscriber-based business model is resilient.  We do not know what the shape of a recovery from this current crisis will look like, however, we are confident that our business will continue to generate substantial positive free cash flow.  Once we have a better view of how and when the economy will restart, we plan to resume providing guidance,” added Meyer.

During the three-month period SiriusXM returned approximately $300 million of capital to shareholders   It repurchased approximately $243 million of our common stock and paid approximately $59 million in dividends to stockholders.

“Last week, we announced our regularly quarterly dividend.  We expect to continue this quarterly dividend in 2020 and beyond,” Mayer told analysts.

On the question of Stern, Meyer added that he was not concerned that SiriusXM won’t find a way together. I hope to have more to say when we do our third-quarter call.”

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