Sirius Satellite Radio Gaining On Rival XM - InformationWeek

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Sirius Satellite Radio Gaining On Rival XM

Sirius ended the third quarter with 5.1 million subscribers, a 135% increase over the same period a year ago.

Sirius Satellite Radio on Wednesday said it added 441,101 subscribers in the third quarter, narrowing the lead of rival XM.

The New York-based Sirius, which broadcasts the show of popular shock jock Howard Stern and NFL football games, ended the quarter with 5.1 million subscribers, a 135 percent increase over the 2.2 million reported for the same period a year ago. The company reiterated its forecast of 6.3 million subscribers by the end of the year.

Washington, D.C.-based XM, on the other hand, reported Wednesday that it added 285,000 subscribers to end the third quarter with 7.2 million customers. XM, which broadcasts programming from TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Major League Baseball, restated its forecast of between 7.7 million and 8.2 million subscribers by the end of the year. XM has reduced its end-of-year forecasts twice over the last five months.

The global market for satellite radio is growing rapidly. Combined shipments of digital satellite and terrestrial digital radio, which is popular in the United Kingdom, is expected to reach 22 million units in 2009 from 5 million shipments in 2004, according to In-Stat. The primary drivers are expected to be content, data services, falling prices for radios and partnerships between broadcasters and new car manufacturers.

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