Since launching last week, Sirius XM’s (SIRI) iPhone app has maintained an impressive status as the no. 2 most-downloaded app in Apple’s (AAPL) App Store. But not everyone downloading the app is happy.
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The good news first: It’s likely that hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded the app. Many of them have likely signed up for 7-day trials to Sirius XM’s “premium online” streaming service, which is required to use the app. (We’ve asked Sirius for stats, and will update if we hear back.)
Best-case scenario: Many of those people convert to $13/month subscribers, or tack on a $3/month streaming surcharge to their satellite radio subscriptions. Sirius, which lost customers last quarter, needs all the help it can get signing up new subs and boosting their spend, and the company has high hopes for the iPhone.
The bad news: Many Sirius subscribers are downloading the app — and then using the App Store as a soapbox to complain that the Sirius app doesn’t include its biggest star, Howard Stern.
That has affected the app’s ratings. Of the 19,792 reviews for the app, 70% are 1-star ratings. The majority of those we looked at were short reviews complaining that there’s no Stern, or MLB, or other premium channels. But mostly Howard Stern.
Sirius, reached for last week, wouldn’t comment on why the app didn’t include Stern’s channels. But rights seem the most likely reason — as in Sirius doesn’t (yet?) have mobile streaming rights for Howard’s channels. Maybe Howard (or Sirius) is saving them for another app, maybe the deal is still in the works, or maybe Sirius is just waiting to see if the app will become even a modest hit before it proceeds.
Update: Indeed, it’s a rights issue.
AOL’s DailyFinance blog: “It was a rights thing, a contractual rights thing,” Stern told listeners on his radio show today. “It was a rights issue and a whole entanglement thing. So, we’re not on it. Maybe one day we will be.”