John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Sirius Subscriber Losses Getting Serious

fleeGood thing Sirius XM Radio resolved the debt issues that threatened to drag it into bankruptcy earlier this year; the company’s clearly got other things to worry about. Like fleeing subscribers (see table below; click to enlarge). Reporting a first-quarter net loss of $236.6 million this morning, Sirius (SIRI) said that anemic car sales had led to its first-ever decline in net subscriber additions.

And it was a nasty decline.

The company ended the quarter with 18.6 million subscribers–up 3.5 percent from a year earlier but down 404,000 subscribers from the preceding quarter. Sirius added 1,338,961 new customers. But it lost 1,743,383.


Given that and the state of the auto industry on which the company is so dependent for new subscribers, how will it ever attain CEO Mel Karmazin’s goal of 20.6 million subscribers by end of ’09? Hard to say, especially when Sirius expects to see another “noticeable hit” to its subscribers in its next quarter. That didn’t stop the company from raising its 2009 forecast to $350 million, adjusted from more than $300 million. Karmazin said that “satellite radio is now a cash flow growth story.”

Tell that to your subscribers.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald