Is Sat Radio going to die soon?

Discussion in 'SiriusXM Soundwave Cafe' started by dougm0, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. TimTimSalabim

    TimTimSalabim Active Member

    IMO satrad is dying because it every decision seems to be aimed at making it more 'commercial', and against keeping the kind of programming which makes it unique.
  2. Davis

    Davis Member

    You first.
  3. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    I think if Sat radio was nothing but a bunch of unique niche programming that the number of subs today wouldn't be what it is. Sat Radio is being produced to satisfy the masses not just a select few that want niche programming.

    I didn't get sat radio because there would be stuff on there that I couldn't get elsewhere, though that turned out to be the case and still is today. Especially being able to get almost any genre of music, talk, entertainment and sports that I can listen to at home or across the country. The commercial free music is what caught my eye and keeps me here today. Not to mention variety on many fronts.

    It is my opinion that if Sirius XM doesn't program to satisfy the bulk of subscribers, then their churn rates will go sky high and the number of new subscribers will go to nothing. Since it is radio it has to seem familiar and comfortable to new subscribers.
  4. TimTimSalabim

    TimTimSalabim Active Member

    I disagree, if you provide enough 'niches' (which is the advantage of having 100+ channels) you can satisfy the masses. Look at cable/satellite TV vs over-the-air network programming. Network programming tries to appeal to everyone, and that's why it mostly sucks. Whereas cable has channels like HBO which don't have to draw huge numbers of viewers and thus are able to develop really high quality, unique programming. And over the long run, cable is winning.
  5. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    I think this has been proven to be false by subscription based business over and over again. If you don't get the masses there simply isn't enough that want niche to make you successful. Now where I could agree and maybe this is what you are saying is that a subscription based service like Sirius XM could still continue to have some niche programming, but I still think they have to appeal to the masses with the majority of their programming or they won't get subscribers and they won't be able to keep them once they do subscribe. Niche programming is nice, but it isn't what drives the masses to subscribe.

    When you look at most cable systems and I only happen to know this because I have a good buddy that manages the local Suddenlink office. Out of a 100,000 plus subscribers about 13% have HBO or other premiums. He told me that they don't make much off these channels when viewers subscribe. There is also another break down but I can't remember the numbers that many cable subscribers only subscribe to the basic channels which generally are those stations you can get over the air, but it still makes money for them. If they had to rely on those that want niche programming, they'd go out of business.
  6. TimTimSalabim

    TimTimSalabim Active Member

    That's sort of my whole point, is that HBO, or any other channel, by itself couldn't sustain cable TV. Cable TV survives and thrives because it provides 100s of niche channels, none of which would survive if they were commercial channels, but the subscription model makes it all work. People subscribe and then watch the handful of channels that they like out of the hundreds, but for everyone it's a different subset. And ultimately a massive number of people subscribe to cable/satellite TV, without having a single channel that appeals to the 'masses' by itself.
  7. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    I disgree, I think while having that niche programming for many is a plus it is because of those channels that appeal the masses that people subscribe to begin with. I think that is has clearly been proven time and time again. I just don't think you can back up what you are saying.
  8. IdRatherBeSkiing

    IdRatherBeSkiing This space for rent

    HBO is not a niche channel.

    Cable TV survives because it provides 100 of mainsteam channels. If a channel don't pull in the viewers, it gets dumped for one that does. In some cases the provider gets paid to carry the channel which negates the viewership requirement.
  9. SISO

    SISO Member

    Is satellite radio dying? No.

    Are the companies, or I guess now company, dying? Perhaps. They do face a troubled road ahead, if the economy gets REALLY bad satellite radio will be one of the first things people dump. The thing is though, almost everyone has heard of satellite radio now, it is in the mainstream so to speak. So now is their time to shine. This holiday season will be a big tell.

    It really completely depends on how this company is run here on out, I could see it succeeding but I could equally see it failing.

    Although, if it comes down to it I'm sure one of the media conglomerates would love to buy SiriusXM for dirt cheap.
  10. TimTimSalabim

    TimTimSalabim Active Member

    You're playing a definition game with what is niche and what is mainstream.

    My point is, a subscription service has to offer what isn't available for free. HBO and CNN and Discovery are unique channels that you can't get anything like over the air.
  11. Sandlapper

    Sandlapper New Member

    How are there 20 million subs, but 50 million listeners?? :confused:
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  12. Sandlapper

    Sandlapper New Member

    Also, I don't think SATRAD is going anywhere. It's just that a lot of the noob questions we had when we first started aren't needed to be asked anymore. Second, I stopped going over to SBS because it was so SLOOOOOW... I plan on visiting here more often though.
  13. TimTimSalabim

    TimTimSalabim Active Member

    Well he did say probably, in other words he made it up. Along with the 20 million.

    Edit: Did some digging and found this article from 2005 that predicts 55 million subscribers by 2010:

    Pretty amusing.

    Bottom line is, satrad's in trouble. They figured to have 30 or 40 million subs by now, instead it's still under 20. And with the economy in the tank, it might even decline from here.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  14. AZJoe

    AZJoe Member

    Because for every sub they (the people in the know- Sirius/XM- Arbitron) have they say there are 2.5 listeners. 2.5x 20 million is 50,000,000. Just as with every AM/FM radio out there , there is more than one listener per unit.:) As of Oct 2007 Sirius/XM had 19.5 million combined subscribers, expected to hit 20,000,000 by years end.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  15. MadisonRadio1

    MadisonRadio1 MadisonRadio

    Is Sat Radio going to die soon?

    I sure hope not. XM is great. Sirius is great too. I have always been a radio guy since the WABC/WLS eras. I guess I always will be. Sat radio is an advancement in radio entertainment technology. To lose it would be a disappointing step backward.
  16. roscoryan

    roscoryan DRC Graphics Guru

    Satellite Radio will survive.

    (unless Evil Ernie plans to unleash his hellish beast on it)
  17. Supafly

    Supafly Member

    Today the share price is .38. The government won't subsidize satellite radio. The only choice may be more advertising, but the problem is low subscriber numbers. The main market, auto sales is dwindling.

    Walk into Walmart, you'll find 20 FM radios and one unattractive XM/Sirius radio. Radioshack has a couple. But the whole buying process is convuluted. I had to send written instructions for my 56 yr old mom on how to buy a cheap home unit. You can't just buy a $25 radio. She had to buy a sub, antenna, boom box. $150 is too much for equipment for a service that is consistently under some sort of revamp.

    The a la carte is promising with it's low fee. If they can get the radios out in time and if retailers will sell them. :help:
  18. GreenHornet99

    GreenHornet99 Member

    I'm sure Satellite Radio will survive in some format. Right now Sirius-XM has 20 million subscribers paying say $10 a month. That is 200 Million revenue before advertising on talk channels not to shabby. If Sirius-XM does not make it someone will buy them.:bigthumbup:
  19. syphix

    syphix Member

    This holiday season is CRUCIAL to SIRIUS XM's future. They know this, and are making the appropriate steps (quickly this week, with almost/over 80 losing their jobs). As much as these firings upset many of us longtime SatRad subscribers, the lower overhead will help them in the very short-term. They need to show investors that they're serious about tightening the purse strings and turning a real profit...this is step #1 -- of many, hopefully.

    And believe it or not, the "hits" oriented playlists will probably attract more subs than deeper, unfamiliar playlists. When I was in radio, the old adage was "expected experience": when someone tunes in, they are tuning in for a reason -- they EXPECT a certain type of experience. If you fail to give it to them, they'll tune out. That doesn't mean that there shouldn't be "deeper" channels...I think they should have a 75/25 approach: 75% of music channels are "hits" based, which can still play a few deep tracks, 25% are purely deeper tracks.

    Still, if SIRIUS XM fails, it's not due to lack of passion from the subscribers. And if they DO fail, someone else will come in and snap them up for cheap. In terrestrial radio, very rarely does a radio station go off the air...they just get bought out.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  20. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    That is the point exactly, you worded it better than I could. The fact is that it is those channels and the programming that appeal to the masses that will bring in new subs, not niche programming. I agree that there certainly needs to be some niche programming and some channels with deeper playlist. If you reach a balance in all these areas, then you'll not only gain new subscribers, but you'll keep them once you get them.

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