XM-Sirius Announce a la Carte Pricing

M

M Sparks

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 15, 2005
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The press release says the a la carte option will only be available to subscribers who purchase NEW radios, which will be developed following approval of the merger. So for the current subscribers like myself with two radios, in order to get the best of both services, my cost will INCREASE to $16.99.

Sounds like this is only a ploy to attract new subscribers.

The more I read, the stupider this gets.

Why would you need new radios? I mean, if they were truly going to offer a joint service for $16.99, then it would make sense. But it sounds like they're just going to squeeze 10 XM channels onto Sirius and 10 Sirius channels onto XM. So why new radios? You can already opt in and out of "explicit" channels. I guess maybe those channels just have a flag on them and it's all-on or all-off.

I guess that new XMX channel or whatever it's called is part of this plan. They'll put all the Artist Confidentals and Bob Dylan and all that on one channel, so they can deliver it to Sirius more easily.

The good news is, this won't affect my XM bill or service at all.

The bad news is, this won't affect my XM bill or service at all.
 
M

M Sparks

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 15, 2005
1,946
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Can I choose XM only stations if I have Sirius hardware? I hate those incrdibly annoying Sirius DJ's and station promos. It'll be sweet to finally be rid of them.

As confusing as the press release is, you should actually TRY to read it. :)

Short answer- No.

And I bet it's going to get worse. If they are going to offer two separate services, they're going to have to differentiate them even more. Sirius has like 50-100 celebrity DJs. XM has, what, 3? Most XM channels have NO announcers.

I'm betting Sirius gets MORE chatty, and XM gets MORE like an ipod.

Regarding current service...basically, not much is going to change. You MIGHT have the option of getting both Stern and O&A, but since their audiences are nearly mutually exclusive, what's the point? Oprah + Martha might be a better pairing...
 
M

M Sparks

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 15, 2005
1,946
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I just read it AGAIN...a-la-carte requires new radios, but the other packages don't. So the current radios must have some sort of channel selectivity, but not enough to turn individual channels on and off.

They would need to have at least a few different blocks. one for Music, one for News/Talk, and one for the 10 or so channels from the opposite service. Then they need another flag for "explicit" channels. If they can't do a two-tier flag thing, they need twice as many blocks..."family" music, "explicit" music, "family" talk...ect.
 
digiblur

digiblur

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Jun 8, 2005
14,190
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just give me Bubba and Octane and I will be happy. I used to listen to Howard but found Bubba's show to be 10 times better.
 
vinnyv07

vinnyv07

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Mar 14, 2004
1,156
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Well it does kind of stink that you will have to buy a new radio if you want to hear both providers. I have purchased the lifetime Sirius package and it is good news to me that my current ch's won't change at all. But I would like to add the NHL since Sirius lost the package to XM. I'm sure that some XM subs want the football package. Not to mention that baseball is currently on XM only. I just feel that it is going to add up to spending more cash. Not a savings.....but more $$$$.
 
M

M Sparks

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 15, 2005
1,946
1
Well it does kind of stink that you will have to buy a new radio if you want to hear both providers.

NO NO NO! Man this is a terrible press release. Nobody gets it!

The new radios are just for the a-la-carte packages. And nowhere is there any indication of a radio that gets ALL XM and ALL Sirius channels.

All they are really doing is adding 10 XM channels to Sirius, and 10 Sirius channels to XM. You don't need new radios, just more cash. The 10 channels will obviously be the original programming channels- Virus, Howard 100, Oprah & Friends, ect.

When you take O&A vs Stern , Oprah vs Martha, and a few other channels out of the mix, the differences between Sirius and XM comes down to the style of the music channels. If you make O&A and Oprah available on Sirius (for a $4 charge) and make Stern and Martha available on XM (for a $4 charge), there's nothing to differentiate between them except music channel style.

That's why I said they will have to differentiate more. But that doesn't really make sense either. The only reason to operate 2 different services is so you don't have to replace half of your radios.

Now, I'm thinking they're going to have to start to make the music channels the same. Notice, the press release says you will continue to have "similar" service at the same price, if you wish. In other words, you might not have "Fred" or "First Wave", but you'll have some sort of early new wave channel. Most of those channels aren't live anyway. It would be very easy to begin to incorporate some Richard Blade intros on "Fred" and start to play some more obscure music on "First Wave." You consolidate the programming staff. Eventually, you make it the same on both services.

There's another side to this thats a good thing...the "exclusive" programming doesn't have to stay exclusive. They may only be adding 10 ADDITIONAL channels to each side, but Sirius should be able to put all of XMs racing talk shows on their Nascar channel, and XM should get actual races back. XMPR should now be able to program NPR programming (right now, they only have PRI), and Sirius should put Bob Edwards on one of their public radio channels.

And of course, all the sports should be available on both sides (but I don't know the contract issues with that.) Basically, each service has X amount of bandwidth dedicated to sports packages. If XM has college football, and Sirius has pro football, there's no bandwidth reason you can't have both on both, because they games aren't on at the same time.

I see two scenarios- a slow one and a quick one...The slow version: radios from here on out will have chipsets for both services. From what I understand, the main differences are in the antennas. Perhaps even a dual antenna. They'll phase out one side or the other based on which side has more radios left to replace, or which satellite fails first.

The quick, radical (but most logical) version: Consolidate the music channels ASAP. Once that's done, there really won't be a difference between the services. Pick one tech system to sell (probably XM, since they've always been ahead on technology, though Sirius is catching up.) Pick one name or the other, and advertise "Howard is now on XM!" or "Oprah is now on Sirius!"They will NOT make "XM Everything" or "Sirius Everything" an option on new accounts. New customers can get the REAL everything package for $16.99, or pick one of the a-la-carte packages.

Assuming they go with the XM name and tech, XM customers wouldn't see any difference, other than new channel options, and differences in the music programming. Sirius customers would see the same differences, but eventually they'd get replacement radios- once the cost of operating two systems exceeds the cost of replacing the remaining Sirius radios. (Or, it could be the reverse, but I doubt it.)

Unfortunately, after (over)thinking about it, I think XM customers will see the biggest changes. I bet XM technology will become the standard, but Sirius has all the (in my opinion pointless) celebrity DJs. It makes more sense to move them onto both services. So I think I was wrong before...XM is on it's way to less rock, more talk. :(
 
mwgiii

mwgiii

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Sep 8, 2003
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Whackbag.com has the FCC filing. It is even more confusing than the PDF I linked earlier.

http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6519560252

From what I can tell, if you keep Sirius Everything or XM Everything (current $12.95/month plans) nothing changes.

If you get a new radio and go ala cart with the XM or Sirius Pick 50 package for $6.99/month, some major channels become premiums with additional monthly charges such as:

Sirius
Howard Stern package - $6.00
Sirius Sports package (NFL, NASCAR & College) - $5.00

$.25 EACH
Shade 45
Faction
Hip Hop Nation
Back Spin
Siriusly Sinatra
COSMO
Playboy
Out Q
Foxxhole
Blue Collar Comedy
NBA play by play
Martha Stewart

XM
Virus (O&A) - $3.00
Oprah - $3.00
XM Sports (MLB, NHL, PGA & College) - $6.00

$.25 EACH
XMX
Willie’s Place
Highway 16
20 on 20
Boneyard
Liquid Metal
Squizz
Fungus
Rhyme
Raw
XM Comedy
Laugh Attack
Take Five
Fox News
America Right
Air America

If you get a new radio and go with either the Sirius or XM Pick 100 package for $14.99/month you can pick from any channels on their respective service, not both. If you go with Sirius, you can also pick from 11 selected XM channels. If you go with XM, you can also pick from 11 selected Sirius channels, none of which are listed.

As mentioned above: THERE IS NO PACKAGE TO GET FULL SERVICE FROM BOTH XM AND SIRIUS.

I really don't understand what is going on. It doesn't look like they are merging at all. The most channels you could receive from the other service is 11 selected channels.
 
Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

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If the companies are merging, I dont see why they each have exclusives since they will both be the same company!

I say KILL THE MERGER NOW.
 
Bobby

Bobby

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Sep 7, 2003
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All I really want is the music, lose the DJs on both services, and I a happy camper.....

I don't mind a little "you're tuned to satellite radio" things but I love to listen to the 50s and 60s channels and I don't want to relive the radio age.
 
CWS_kahuna

CWS_kahuna

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Supporting Founder
Jul 21, 2004
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Wow this is WAY different than I thought this would be. I guess i just figured they would blend their channels together in a fashion that makes sense and play the same stations on both services.

I'm really interested in seeing what channels are going to be offered on the $16.99 packages. I'd have to imagine they will be the channels like Howard and maybe some of the sports channels (I'd love to get the NFL on my XM), I'd think music channel wise both services are probably covered.
 
MergaTroy6

MergaTroy6

SatelliteGuys Guru
Oct 18, 2004
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Long Island, NY
I hate Mel Karmazin and everything he does.

If they want to make this a real merger, they need to kill off the duplicate channels and offer one service. There is no need for Ethel (XM) and say Octane (Sirius). Pick one and delete the other.

If they want tiered packages, go ahead. Offer every channel for a certain rate. If you don't want everything, then they can create a muic only or a news only package.

If this merger goes through using their cockamamey pricing plan, the only people who lose, will be the customer.
 
D

David_Levin

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Oct 13, 2003
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Denver, Co
I just don't see how this merger makes sense if they still must maintain two sets of sats.

I think they are just trying to blow away competition. Here in Denver we had two newspapers. The subscription price war was nuts. I usually got my 1 yr sub for $3.99.

Both papers were losing money and going down. They were allow to merge. Yearly price for 7-day is now around $60.

I doubt the merger will be allowed unless it's believed that the companies will not survive without it. I don't see how this is much different then the D*/E* merger.
 
jegrant

jegrant

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Aug 5, 2005
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Realistically, unless there is a hidden capability in millions of XM and/or Sirius receivers, they have no option but to maintain the two sets of satellites, at least until they get a large portion of customers transitioned to receivers that are either interoperable or otherwise capable of using the entire combined bandwidth. Otherwise, they would have to shut off one set of customers, immediately after the merger, and there's no clear path to doing so. I doubt Sirius would want to shut off their customer base, even if they were able to make select programming immediately available on XM, and it doesn't make sense to shut off XM, because they have more subs (and more radios) than Sirius.
 
P

pez2002

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Sep 8, 2003
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0
If they merge i just want 2 channels from sirius

shade45 and Howard 100

all other stuff is xm :)
 
BobMurdoch

BobMurdoch

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Sep 12, 2003
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Nothing will happen unless a merger is approved. They dangled that carrot to get the FCC to remove opposition. FCC head Kevin Murphy has a hard on for a la carte, and it was meant to sway him towards the approval side (or at least away from the opposition side)...

The Whole Foods merger that the Justice Dept. tried to block, was allowed by the courts to continue after Justice was overruled since the two natural foods chains were grouped in with the supermarket, um, market, and not just the natual foods market. Many widely read this to mean that the courts would similarly view XM and Sirius in the larger picture that included terrestrial radio, Ipods, and every other car based system fighting for "ear-share".

I especially like one of Mel's comebacks...... After the NAB screamed bloody murder about the "monopoly" it would create, Mel shot back that IF that were the case, then they shouldn't care as a monopoly has no competitors (and WHY are you fighting so hard to weaken your, um, NON competitors). If terrestrial radio is competing with satellite radio, then they just proved Mel's point, that no monopoly would exist.

Meanwhile, Wall Street is starting to sense that this thing might come off after all..... Jim Cramer (yeah, the screaming stock picking guy), just made Sirius a "buy" after being down on the stock for 6 months.....
 

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