XM and Sirius Merger

Although I have heard rumors, this is confirmation of a planned merger between XM and Sirius.
http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/19/news/companies/xm_sirius/index.htm?postversion=2007021914

Interesting. Hopefully the giant company that results won't blow off very small sources of revenue such as WX WORX. I am sure a large amount of crummy top 40 could fit on the bandwith for WX WORX. If the merger gets by the FTC, they could reduce offerings and raise prices. It could be the "Clear Channel" of satellite radio.

Bill Hark
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With extensive aviation coverage of WXWorx, and monthly fees MUCH higher than for regular users, there is no reason to believe they would drop the service.
 
Interesting indeed. The good thing, for me at least, is that the choice I had to make regarding entertainment---better outside musical genres and MLB on XM, SEC football on Sirius (I can live forever without Stern) will now be potentially resolved.

I would think that the Baron sector, which would be a niche market for the proposed merger, would be well worth keeping. My only fear is that once the two are joined, on/off month-by-month subscriptions may become a thing of the past with annual subscriptions required--a first step in stabilizing cashflow.
 
Sirius has a marine-based weather data delivery system (see http://www.sirius.com/siriusweather ), but they don't have a laptop-based hardware system yet. With the news of the merger, I would think that development of the Sirius system will be dropped in favor of the already-established WxWorx system(s).

Regardless, I'm not sure this will be able to pass the FCC/FTC/Justice Dept. The FCC has said in the past that, under current rules, such a merger would not be legal (though he also stressed "under current rules"). Neither company is very healthy financially, so it may make sense. Afterall, is one large-but-operating company better than two smaller-but-bankrupt companies?

I'd just like the FCC to give them more bandwidth... I got Sirius radio in late December. While I love the variety and choice, the audio quality is quite poor (just a little better than AM and noticeably worse than FM), an observation, I assume, that is a byproduct of having many channels with limited bandwidth.
 
As a shareholder of Sirius this sounds great. As a subscriber to Sirius I'm a little weary, I certainly don't want to pay higher prices since I am very happy with the service right now.

After listening to satellite radio, regular FM is pretty much unbearable. The content, lack of ads, and freedom of playlists are just the start. I have no need to bring cd's or my mp3 player in the car. I'm just never bored with what's on.

Jeff...what is your complaint about audio quality? I'm no fidelity expert, but I think it sounds fine. Certainly the internet streams are low quality, but everything going to the receiver is pure digital. When listening in the car its impossible for mine to be better than FM, since it goes from my receiver to the stereo via FM signals.

Dave...thanks for the extra tidbit about Stern. I can live forever without the Catholic station, and about a million other stations but that has nothing to do with the merger.
 
Bill,

Even using a direct connection, I think many channels sound rather "tinny", like a 64kbps MP3. When I compare broadcast FM to the sound from my Sirius radio, there's a noticeable drop in quality with the satellite radio. Some stations certainly sound better than others, and some stations seem to have variable quality (though I've heard all stations are constant bitrate...?) with time. I can bear the quality of my Sirius rig, but broadcast FM definately sounds better to me.

That said, I, like you, find regular FM now unbearable. I'm in the car 90 minutes each day (45 min to/from OU), and I certainly appreciate the variety and lack of commercials (a few channels have commercials, but I think all of those are simulcast TV feeds, like CNN Money and CNN Headline News). I'm very happy with it, but I wish the sound quality were better. At any rate, I don't want to drag this topic away from the XM - Sirius Merger talk, so I'll stop here.
 
thanks for the extra tidbit about Stern. I can live forever without the Catholic station, and about a million other stations but that has nothing to do with the merger.

Yes---I guess if CB&G is off-topic, then my tidbit is meso-off-topic.

However, Stern's bottom line may have much to do with this being a merger rather than some other form of leveraged combining.

Being a public radio producer/host, I certainly agree regarding radio commercials and ultra-repetitive playlists.
 
Email I recieved as a XM customer.

-----------------------------------------------------

February 20, 2007


Dear XM Radio Subscriber:

We want to share with you some exciting news: Yesterday, in Washington DC, we
announced XM Radio will be merging with Sirius Satellite Radio to form the
premier digital audio service.

The merger will create a satellite radio company that will provide consumers
across the country with more and better premium radio programming. The combined
company will be able to compete better in what has become a very complex and
dynamic entertainment market.

Where today our exclusive contracts mean you had to choose between baseball and
football or Oprah and Martha Stewart, the new company will seek to ensure that
in the future, you will be able to access both companies' programming. And,
once we are fully integrated, those of you who have factory-installed satellite
radio will no longer be limited to the programming provided by the exclusive
satellite radio service chosen by their car manufacturer.

This merger should be completed in late 2007 or early in 2008. Throughout the
year, we will provide updates on how the merger is progressing and information
will be available at our website, www.xmradio.com.

Between today and the merger date, as well as during the period immediately
after the merger date, all of your services will remain the same. The channel
lineup, the customer service number, the great music technology, and the XM
Radio web site will all remain unchanged and there will be no disruption to
service. But, if you have questions, information will be available and
maintained on our website, and you can contact our Listener Care team at
800-XMRADIO, with questions and concerns.

XM Radio continues to be committed to providing you the highest quality audio
entertainment and customer service available today. After the merger, our new
company will be able to offer you the most exciting listening experience in
radio.

Sincerely,

Hugh Panero
CEO, XM Satellite Radio
 
I was just thinking to myself that this merger has some serious hurdles. Getting regulatory approval may be difficult as there would be a monopoly in satellite radio.

Then it hit me...there still is competition. Satellite radio has to compete with free radio. It doesn't get more difficult than that, and that is the factor that will keep satellite radio prices down.

Currently, my biggest complaint isn't the ads on CNN, or CNBC since they have to fill the dead space with something. It's the quality of the ads. Some of the companies are really scammy, the kind that send you spam. I just wish they had some higher quality companies on there.
 
It's past 5 years now so it will get approved. I wonder what kind of space it will free up for WSI Sirus weather service and Baron's wxworx.

Could be a win win for us storm chasers
 
It's past 5 years now so it will get approved. I wonder what kind of space it will free up for WSI Sirus weather service and Baron's wxworx.

Could be a win win for us storm chasers

The government just said a few weeks ago that they wouldn't approve... I'm not sure it would free up any space for additional weather products, there still will be the same number of channels in the same bandwidth.
 
The key is that the 5 years has past . The FCC said they wouldn't approve it before 5 years was up and it wasn't when they said that they wouldn't approve it now it's a new ball game
 
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