Thursday, March 19, 2009

Greg Maffei confirms free Sirius XM radio in the future

Okay, I’m browsing and see this link to an interview on CNBC with Greg Maffei (formerly CFO of Microsoft, now with Liberty Media). He says in this interview that “a certain amount of satellite radio free for all not necessarily premium.” Well, blow me down, someone is thinking outside the box! I would take this as confirmation that a free version of Sirius XM radio is in the works. IMHO, they cannot do this soon enough.

Cadillac CTS adds WiFi - Sirius XM weeps

Well, hot on the heals of my post on Sirius XM comes the announcement that Cadillac is now offering a $499 dealer installed option for in car WiFi for the CTS model. Since I own a 2008 CTS, this is a very interesting story. Apparently, it will cost $29 per month for 800Kbps service. This will make it very simple to access internet radio from an iPhone, iPod Touch, or other WiFi connected device and listen to any internet radio stream. Undoubtedly, this is a harbinger of the future and will probably become standard on all cars in the distant future.

Further proof that Sirius XM needs to change their business model now. I think they should go with commercials immediately and turn on the 60% of their radios that are currently dark in cars. Of course, they never will. They’re doomed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

55.8% of Sirius XM Radios Dark!

While reading this article in the Wall Street Journal today, I was struck by the fact that after the free trial for their pre-installed Sirius XM radio expired only 44.2% actually continued to subscribe.

As someone who recently elected to cancel my XM radio subscription, I was amazed but not surprised by this figure. I had long been skeptical of the value proposition of this service. When I did purchase a new car last year with XM, I did give it a listen and found little to hold my interest. As a lark, I did subscribe for a full year to give it a bit more time. I did find one channel, Fine Tuning, that piqued my interest. Unfortunately, when the great merger of XM and Sirius finally was culminated things changed for the worse. XM Radio customers clearly got the short end of the stick. My main area of music interests centers around Progressive, Jazz, Modern Classical, Celtic, Folk, and a host of other categories. With the elimination of Fine Tuning and Beyond Jazz as well, the value of XM really went off a cliff for me. Thus, I decided not to renew this month when my subscription expired.

Given Sirius XM's well documented revenue/debt problems, I am surprised at how unimaginative their business model is. There is still no iPhone app, despite there being dozens of internet radio apps already available for the iPhone. Their own internet radio stream has been a poor step child and poorly marketed. And now they are raising the price to compete better with all the free streams available (irony intended)!

Back to the 55.8% dark issue. I would suggest that Sirius XM implement a free commercial sponsored service of say 5 to 10 channels that featured a cross section of the full service and allow all currently dark radios to listen for free (albeit with commercial interruptions). It seems ludicrous to be so stubborn to have nearly 60% of your potential user base deaf to your service. With this service, I would suspect they would attract large advertisers and could generate a sizeable revenue stream. In effect, they could claim a 100% listener base rather than the almost 60% absent listeners they now have. I would think setting up such a service would add little expense to their existing operation. I have not seen such an idea suggested before and would strongly urge Sirius XM to consider it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Domain renewal

Today, I renewed my domain and hosting for this blog. My blogging has been dormant for many months now but one day I may return to it? Even still, I consider my small little plot in cyberspace an essential requirement for life in the 21st century.