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A monopoly in satellite radio is a big no says FCC

According to several reports, FCC chairman Kevin Martin said that it is very unlikely the FCC will allow Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. to merge. Both companies represent the two leading satellite radio entities currently in business in the U.S. and unfortunately, a merger in the eyes of the FCC is an obvious road to anti-competitive grounds.

Both Sirius and XM have been battling it out for the last several years, and in 2006 both companies saw their revenues drop as well as subscriber numbers drop. This peaked a notion in the industry that it was very possible that the two companies were in negotiations to go through a merger.

Share prices from both companies had dropped significantly in 2006, with Sirius shares dropping roughly 38-percent and XM shares dropping a whopping 46-percent of their value. Despite the shares dropping, the two companies continue to operate on speculation of a merger, which was also fueled by remarks made by XM CEO Mel Karmazin and chairman Gary Parsons. With their remarks, shares of both companies jumped last month but have since declined.

It is very unlikely, less than 50-percent chance, that Sirius and XM will receive FCC approval for merger, according to Martin.  Even so, both companies will have to pass anti-trust regulations and audits. "There is a prohibition on one entity owning both of these businesses," said Martin.


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RE: Missing the Point from Geosynchronis Orbit
By alifbaa on 1/23/2007 11:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with everything you say except for your assumptions about consumers' interests in signal quality. I don't think (and I believe the sales numbers bear me out on this) that there are nearly enough people making routine long-distance trips that are willing to spend the money on satellite radio, especially if it includes "promotionals." This is especially the case when you consider the (free) low cost of owning music these days. When you consider all this, the homogeneous advantage you described begins to look less and less significant -- and yet this was one of the biggest things XM used to attract investors when it got started. On top of all that, I'm no audiophile, and yet whenever I've listened to XM, I've been quickly fatigued by the lack of quality in the sound. I think it's much more comparable to listening to one of those wacko country stations you find on AM in the middle of Arkansas. It wasn't just bad, it made me want to turn it off. As a result, I've never really considered getting a subscription to XM.


By Pete Moss on 1/24/2007 3:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think that you missed my line about the long distance trips. I said that that benefit alone was not necessarily worth the $13 a month, but that all in, the features of satellite make it worth it.

I listen to lots of talk on XM and Sirius.....NPR, CNN, Howard, BTLS, etc, so I am easy on the concerns over streaming quality. Since the music I listen to goes through my PC and into my home audio, I can monkey with it to improve the audio. Going direct from the receiver into my audio stack is even better, so I really can live with what both XM and Sirius crank out. Does it match my digital IPOD or ZEN or my hard drive, maybe not, but it gets me more choice faster........

I also stated that terrestrial radio has more to fear from the IPOD than they do from XM or Sirius........take a look at how the 12-34 demographic consumes music......it aint via XM or Sirius.......but since the FCC doesnt regulate your IPOD, the whining exec's at the major radio companies run to the skirts of the FCC to complain about the easiest target to distract the industry from the fact that terrestrial radio content has been in free fall for some time and it is now becoming impossible to hide.......


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