Karmazin Blames Doom & Gloom

Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius XM Satellite Radio blames a “doom and gloom” fourth quarter for the company’s lackluster results. Satcaster investors were saddled with analyst reports, during the quarter, that it might be unable to meet its debt obligations. Finally, Liberty Media Corp. lent Sirius XM over $500 million while taking a 40% stake in the company to cover upcoming payments. Karmazin’s concerns which included the economy and the Circuit City bankruptcy, can be seen in the disappointing subscriber numbers announced this past week. Subs grew by a scant 83,000 in the fourth quarter compared with a combination of 1.1 million in the same period a year ago for Sirius and XM.

On tap for the second quarter of 2009 is a new iPhone application which would offer an option to subscribe to the service without having to buy a new satellite-enabled radio. Analysts cite a plethora of issues that mostly negatively affect the growth and development of Sirius XM. For example, shrinking car sales which lowers the number of new sat-ready radios put into the marketplace. Also discussed is the growing sense that streamed Internet will make its way into the driver-livingroom and sites music discovery outlets like Pandora will provide competitive options that might limit future satellite subscriber growth.


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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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