Satellite Radio Companies

There are three, major Satellite Radio Companies in the world, and they are XM, Sirius and 1worldspace. Of these XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio merged on 19th February 2007, and formed a new holding company which is called Sirius XM Radio, Inc. On the date of merger their combined subscriber list totalled to 18.5 million subscribers.

So now actually there are only, two Satellite Radio companies in the world, although in Canada XM and Sirius have not merged. 1Worldspace provides satellite radio coverage in Eastern and Southern Africa, the Middle East and most of Asia. Although it covers such a vast area it subscriber base is very small and has only 170,000 subscribers, out of which 96% are from India. This company has run into financial trouble and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 17th October 2008. This bankruptcy filing does not include, the company's wholly owned Indian affiliate. Before this filing, two of the top executives Greg Armstrong and Alexander Brown gave their resignations. The company is trying several promotional strategies to get a bigger subscriber base. They have been giving advertisements since 2006, in Washington DC radio stations. The noted Indian composer A.R.Rahman is the brand ambassador for this company, and has started an integrated marketing communication campaign, with the print and visual media, featuring an exclusive signature tune composed by him. 1Worldspace offered its IPO on 4th August 2005, on NASDAQ Sock Exchange. At the end of the first day of trading, the share of the company was at $22.36. The following months saw a steady decline of the shares, and the company was hounded by many controversies. The stock hit the lowest on 17th October 2008 with a price of $0.18. This satellite radio company broadcasts 62 channels comprising of news, sports, music and educational programs. This is the only satellite radio company supposed to be having the rights to the world's globally allocated spectrum for digital satellite radio.

Among all the Satellite Radio companies, XM and Sirius have done reasonable well, although they too had their financial difficulties. After the merger Sirius XM Radio, Inc. seems to be in a stronger position, although many have objected to the merger. The main opposition is from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), as they feel that the merged entity might become a monopoly, and their increased power might harm consumers. Others feel that there are advantages from this merger as the major cost of licensing will reduce. Also the staff required now will also be less, and there can be a better coverage with the power of combined satellites of the two companies. The subscribers of both the services will get better programming if the companies keep all the non-duplicate channels. There is also an increased potential of developing new technologies and products.

From the start both, XM and Sirius have been providing excellent programming content, with each having more than 130 channels comprising of music, news/talk, sports and entertainment. Now the combination of channels from the merger seems to be even more promising.