Sirius Continues to Decelerate, Karmazin Touts XM Merger


Sirius added 560,000 new subs last quarter, a 53% year-over-year increase.  This represents a continued deceleration in sub growth, despite modest penetration of the overall market:

2Q07     53%
1Q07     61%
4Q06     82%
3Q06     135%

Thanks to modest declines in revenue-per-sub, revenue also increased less than subs: 51% to $226 million. On the positive side, the New York-based satellite radio provider said its cost to acquire a new customer fell to $108, down 18% from $131 a year ago.

In a statement attached to Sirius’ Q2 earnings report, chief Mel Karmazin said he expects his company’s merger with rival XM. which is likely vital to the company’s ability to turn profitable, to be completed by the end of the year. FCC and DOJ hurdles remain, but thanks to Karmazin’s frequent visits to Washington, the argument that the satellites compete with other forms of radio and iTunes may be making some headway.  And it makes sense: Together the companies still only have 15.3 million subscribers.

At the end of June, Sirius had $429 million cash on hand. At a current a burn rate around $80 million per quarter, they can go without a merger or financing for at least a year.

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