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Surprise: SiriusXM Is Ready To Move Outside The Vehicle.

Jim Meyer is ready to move your SiriusXM subscription out of the vehicle. During the satellite company’s fourth-quarter 2017 investor call, the CEO offered that stunning statement – quite a revelation for a company whose entire business model has largely been behind the wheel.

“We have prioritized deepening household penetration and increasing engagement outside of the car,” Meyer said during the Wednesday morning call. “Achieving a greater household penetration naturally comes from more radios per household as the enabled fleet expands. But it also comes from a focus on new packaging and an expanded streaming offering, which ducktails nicely with increasing our goal of out of car engagement.”

Meyer added, “Outside of the car, it is never been easier to enjoy SiriusXM, on the go or at home, be it on your phone with your smart speaker or your SmartTV.” The company is currently beta testing a redesigned SiriusXM app for iOS and Android for launch next quarter, which he said “provides a faster, cleaner interface with a high degree of personalized suggestions.”

 
 

In addition, with its  $480 million investment in Pandora last fall , Meyer said, “Now that we’ve invested more in streaming products, there is no reason we can’t begin to acquire larger numbers of streaming-only subscribers.” He called this a “growing priority” over the next few years.

This comes even as SiriusXM continues to grow its vehicle subscriber base. During fourth quarter, the company reported nearly 570,000 net additions, 527,000 of which were self-pay, which Meyer said was its best quarter of self-pay additions in five years. For the year, the self-pay gain of 1.56 million subscribers was 20% above its original guidance.

During the fourth-quarter call, Meyer also discussed the company’s upcoming launch of the long-awaited  360L interface , which it debuted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month in the new 2019 Fiat Chrysler Ram 1500 truck, ready for consumer deliver in Q2 2018. “Let me be clear, this is a big deal. The new interface is a game changer,” he said. “This implementation marries our ubiquitous satellite network with the benefits of two-way wireless connectivity.”

 
 

Meyer explained that 360L is designed to offer a more personalized experience with content recommendations, based upon listening preferences to make channel and artist discovery more intuitive. And again, he referred to listening outside the car, saying that the 360 degree listening experience “will synch across devices outside of the car, allowing the subscriber’s mobile phone or Alexa device to access favorites and pick up listening where they left off in the car.”

For the first time, a timeline was offered for the initiative. He explained, “As with any in new car feature, 360L has been a long-term project, but it is now on the march. Later this year, you’ll hear more from us about OEM rollouts for delivery next year. The deployment of 360L over the next five years accelerates quickly and ducktails nicely with a growing presence of embedded modems in cars.”

And addressing SiriusXM’s promise to add Howard Stern video to its offerings, Meyer told investors, “With the new app in the marketplace, our plan is to launch video, first with Howard Stern in the second quarter and then follow-up later in 2018 with additional short-form content from around the SiriusXM bundle.” He also stressed, “Let me be clear, we are wading into the video pool, not diving headfirst. Our approach to video is just one part of our non-stop effort to add value to the SiriusXM experience, and that always starts with our content.”

Asked to elaborate during the call’s Q&A portion, he added, “I don’t see why we wouldn’t try to drive that channel as another way to acquire subscribers to essentially the same content. I know our Howard customers, absolutely are going to want Howard video. Howard customers want one thing: more Howard. And we’re going to give more Howard. But I think our approach to video right now is around how do we improve our value preposition and more importantly, how do we improve the customer experience to their attachment to our content?”

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