The struggling Sirius XM satellite radio service is now looking to find news ways to generate revenue, and the upcoming iPhone App is one of them.
Sirius XM, once two rival satellite radio services until their "merger" back in July 2008, has faced hard decisions over the last few months. Even though its subscription base rate increased ten percent over last year's numbers, currently at 19 million subscribers, the company struggles to stay on air as its best source of income--new car purchases--dwindles away as the economy continues to plummet. With a looming $1 billion in debt due this year that could neither be repaid or refinanced, the company looked for help in keeping the service on air.
Eventually Sirius XM escaped bankruptcy, as DirecTV's controlling shareholder Liberty Media Corp stepped in with a nice chunk of change: a $530 million investment. With the lights still on and the digital DJs still yacking, Sirius XM is now looking for ways to bring in the revenue lost by declining car sales. One method involves bundling Sirius XM satellite radio with TV packages from DirecTV. However, come this April, Sirius XM will release a long-awaited application for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch that will stream the digital satellite radio service straight to the device.
"This is a large and interesting opportunity that will maintain our subscription-based economics while providing customers easier access to our content through means other than our traditional satellite-based platform," said Sirius President of Operations and Sales Jim Meyer.
Sirius XM said that the new application would be available to its current subscribers, Apple iPhone subscribers, and owners of the iPod Touch via a Wi-Fi connection. Sirius XM currently offers 130 channels, most of which are 100 percent commercial-free. It's diverse library includes a multitude of sports channels, talk radio channels featuring Howard Stern Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, various classical offerings, mainstream music spanning more than five decades and more. For the price, starting at $6.99 per month, Sirius XM is definitely worth the fee.
Unfortunately, Sirius XM did not offer any clues as to the pricing of the actual iPhone App, nor did it cough up other details regarding iPhone-related subscriptions or channel availability. Still, many Sirius XM subscribers should be thrilled with the new App, now able to listen to their favorite stations without the need for a satellite radio receiver or an Internet Radio account. With that said, it's highly likely that current subscribers will have to pay an additional fee in the same manner as the Internet Radio subscription, shelling out $3 per month as long as the main account stays active.
"We've been testing a number of initiatives to make the Sirius XM content and experience more ubiquitous," Meyer said
Hopefully, Sirius XM will use this as a platform for other mobile devices that allow application installations including many BlackBerry models.