Sirius XM Foolishly Counting On Twitter For Growth


Today is Sirius XM’s (SIRI) annual shareholder meeting, and CEO Mel Karmazin’s PowerPoint is up on the SEC’s Web site. Major point: The company is focusing on cash flow going forward, and less on rapidly growing subscribership.

But Sirius XM will have to keep signing up new subscribers. And with the car industry in the toilet, one potential “subscriber growth and interaction” driver is… social media sites like Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook, according to Mel’s PowerPoint.

We wish we had the audio (or script) that goes along with this slide, but it seems that like most companies, Sirius is hoping social media will help boost buzz because it’s popular, public, and free. That is, anything you say on Twitter or Facebook about Howard Stern costs Sirius $0 and is there for all of your friends or followers to see.

So we get the interaction part. But subscriber growth?

In theory, nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising. But anything but modest subscriber growth from social media seems a stretch. If you hear a good song or game on the radio, you’re going to say, “Zappa rules.” Or, “Cubs win!” Not, “BUY SIRIUS XM NOW!”

And anyway, have you ever bought something major like a Sirius subscription because of something someone said on MySpace or Twitter?

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