Thursday, March 17, 2005

When Customers Talk About Satellite Radio

Please let us know your comment about the 3/17/05 release on Satellite Radio.

To view the release, below click on the link below:


At 7:58 AM, Blogger Stuart Crane said...

Interesting study, but it doesn't mention the critical fact that the majority of satellite radio usage (particularly XM) has come about because of the purchase of a new vehicle that had the radio ALREADY INSTALLED in the car. I don't know the exact number, but I've heard that well over 50% of satellite radio usage was a result of someone buying a car from a company that happened to have a "deal" with XM or Sirius; they offered 3 MONTHS of free usage and then the purchaser could sign up or stop getting the signal. This is the way my car is (XM) and the way my wife's car is (Sirius), and we purchased the satellite radio service for both of them. But we really had NO CHOICE between XM and Sirius. (Kind of makes your numbers moot). That may change -- Infiniti is offering either XM or Sirius (if you don't buy a model already on the lot).

So, what needs to be looked in an accurate study of XM vs. Sirius is the automotive companies' deals with the satellite radio companies -- which models they are offering the radios on, what age groups buy these types of cars, etc. And then you can almost predict what the adoption rate would be for XM vs. Sirius, at least for CAR-based satellite radios.

There is also a coming "boom" that very few people know about but that has the potential to make satellite radio 10 times as big as what it is now. That is the introduction of PORTABLE satellite radios. XM has a great one already (Delphi MyFi XM2GO) that even has hard-disk storage so it works somewhat like a Tivo/DVR.

What this means is that the whole "iPod" and MP3 craze that took over a few years ago is going to shift to Satellite Radio. Everyone with iPods and MP3 players that download all these songs and then listen to them with their headphones are getting sick of hearing the same songs over and over again and will buy these portable radios in droves once they hear the variety of music offered on satellite radio, AND the fact that these portable radios RECORD to a hard disk for playing when you don't have a signal. I'm sure there will eventually be combo satellite radio, MP3/iPod, etc. -- maybe even built into cell phones and PDA's.

So look at the demographics for which people use iPods and MP3's and there's your prediction for portable satellite radio usage!

At 12:46 PM, Blogger BIGresearch said...

Your point is only partially well taken. Since only about 10% of adults are even considering the purchase of a car in the next 6 months and the majority of any purchases will be used vehicles which means no satellite radio. Furthermore, most new car satellite deals are for 3 or 6 so additional erosion in subs can be expected after the trial offer ends.
New car sales although important for satellite radio growth is not primary for success. Real success willcome from free will purchases at retailers like Best Buy Circuit City and the like.
Satellite radio like it's ancestor FM radio will need to demonstrate value to the general public not just certain new car buyers. FM radio did this far in advance of significant penetration in new cars by marketing FM converters for the used car market and by being a part of in home listening via clock radios and stereos.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Stuart Crane said...

In November, Automotive News ran an article titled: "Car dealers Hold Fate of Satellite Radio." It could have been biased since it was written by the automotive press, but maybe you should consider doing your research on finding out who's right.

Your study should have asked whether the consumer has a pre-installed car satellite radio, an "add-on" car satellite radio, a "boom box" satellite radio, a portable satellite radio, or "Other" -- and, where they purchased it! (Of course you'll need one of those obligatory "Intend to Purchase" questions too -- just ditch the provider and substitute the TYPE of satellite radio). Seems like an obvious and pretty important question if you're Mr. Satellite Radio executive looking at data like this. People don't know the difference between XM and Sirius (other than maybe Howard Stern is on one and MLB is on the other). I have them both and there really is not much difference.

If the success factor is not "deals" with the automotive companies, then it will be the iPod and MP3 fans that go to Circuit City (or wherever) to buy satellite radios because they're getting sick of hearing the same tracks on their hard-disk/memory music players and then having to rip/burn and/or download more songs to listen to over and over again.

Regarding the comparison of FM to satellite, FM is "free" other than the purchase of whatever radio you get, satellite costs money every month/year for the privilege of "no" commercials (it's actually "less" commercials because there ARE commercials on satellite radio -- even the supposedly commercial-free music channels have them. The commercials just happen to be advertisements for MORE satellite radio services!).

So who knows if it will ever be adopted like FM was. I have yet to see an AM/FM radio/stereo incorporate satellite into it, and vice-versa, I have not seen any satellite radios that you can also tune in AM or FM... maybe they're out there though?

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Stuart Crane said...

Good article that shows XM is trying to reverse their reliance on the automotive industry:

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