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Sirius Defends Higher Pricing

By | September 27, 2004

      Sirius Satellite Radio [SIRI], the higher priced of two U.S.-based satellite radio services, took the unusual step of issuing a press release last week to put a positive spin on why consumers should believe its subscription price is worth an additional $3 per month more than what is being charged by rival XM Satellite Radio [XMSR].

      Without identifying XM, Sirius took a poke at its market-leading competitor by noting that the $12.95/month price it charges is a flat fee. In contrast, XM charges a premium for certain channels as well as $9.99 a month.

      For example, Sirius’ sports programming, including all the NFL games, is part of its standard monthly subscription price. At no additional cost, Sirius subscribers also can listen online, via any PC or Mac, to Sirius’ 65 channels. To entice new subscribers, Sirius is offering a free three-day online trial.

      Left unsaid in the release is that XM recently began to offer its service on the Web but it will charge its existing subscribers an additional $3.99 a month to hear it. Those who want to subscribe to XM Radio Online but who do not already do so can become Web- only customers at a price of $7.99 a month.

      Sirius says it is “proud” to be the only satellite radio company to make its lineup of commercial-free music channels available online at no additional charge to its subscribers, said its CEO Joseph P. Clayton. Instead of a subscriber needing to pay nearly $20 a month to receive programming, upgrades and add-ons, “as others in satellite radio may charge,” Sirius subscribers can receive the service provider’s entire lineup of commercial-free music channels, college sports, the NFL and Internet streaming of its 65-music channels for $12.95 a month, Clayton said.

      (Jim Collins, Sirius Satellite Radio, 212/901-6422; Chance Patterson, XM Satellite Radio, 202/380-4318)

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