Howard Stern Boosts Sirius Site Traffic - InformationWeek

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Howard Stern Boosts Sirius Site Traffic

Sirius traffic surpassed competitor XM Satellite Radio for the first time.

The debut of shock jock Howard Stern on Sirius Satellite Radio in January caused traffic to soar on the company's Web site to where it surpassed that of competitor XM Satellite Radio for the first time, a Web metrics firm said Wednesday.

Sirius's traffic soared to 2.3 million unique visitors in January, compared to XM's 1.6 million, Nielsen/NetRatings said. Sirius managed to outpace XM for the next two months. In March, the company had 1.9 million visitors, a 188 percent increase over the 666,000 visitors reported the same month a year ago.

XM, however, also posted strong year-to-year growth in March, when it attracted 1.7 million visitors, a 47 percent increase over the 1.2 million a year ago.

Sirius and XM are battling hard in the growing market for digital radio. Both companies have reported quarterly subscriber growth, but XM remains the leader with nearly 6 million subscribers as of the end of last year. Sirius had 3.3 million.

“While Sirius has seen significant growth specifically due to Howard Stern's programming, both services benefit from individuals going to their site, not just to sign up for service, but also to listen to content while they are without their players,” Jon Gibs, senior director of media at Nielsen/NetRatings, said in a statement.

In addition, both radio sites saw an increase in the number of subscribers revisiting to listen to streaming audio, the market researcher said. The return visitation rates placed the two Web sites on par with other popular streaming audio sites, including Rhapsody from RealNetworks, Clear Channel Music Radio Network and Microsoft's MSN Radio.

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