August 25, 2005

Sirius To Launch Portable Music Unit With Storage

AP: Sirius Satellite will release its first portable media player this fall...the Sirius S50 can receive and store up to 50 hours of commercial-free radio content, as well as play MP3 and WMA media files while on the go. When attached to a docking station, the S50 provides access to live content and captures scheduled programming.
The unit is scheduled to be available in retail stores in October, and will carry a suggested price of $359.99.
Reuters: The new player, roughly the size of a deck of playing cards, is the company's first device to be used outside the confines of cars and trucks. The automotive market accounts for the vast majority of satellite radio usage. XM has had a portable device on the market since last fall.

"But how much the S50, which has a suggested retail price of $360, narrows the gap with XM is subject to debate. S50 cannot independently receive a satellite signal the way that XM's portable MyFi device can."

A review of the new S50, here in PCMag...

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August 15, 2005

XM Eyeing Wireless Satellite Radio Services

Reuters: XM Satellite Radio is in talks with mobile phone hardware and services companies about how it can enter the wireless industry, CEO Hugh Panero said at an industry conference. Both XM and Sirius are eyeing wireless as a new distribution channel as mobile service providers and phone makers begin to put music players in mobile gadgets.
Panero said he is looking at XM's options including selling radio content to wireless providers or delivering XM directly to cellphones that would have built-in satellite receivers.
Also at the conference, Sirius President of entertainment and sports Scott Greenstein said Sirius would consider more mobile agreements on top of its deal with Sprint, the country's No. 3 U.S. mobile company.

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August 04, 2005

AOL Launches Online Radio With XM

BetaNews: AOL has began testing a version of its radio service that includes XM Satellite Radio content. AOL first announced details of the partnership with XM in mid-April, which also includes the company taking over XM's current online radio offering. AOL is requesting during the beta phase that customers send their feedback.

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August 03, 2005

XM, NYTimes Enter Content Agreement

AP: New York Times and XM Satellite Radio have signed an agreement for the sat radio company to carry content from NYT's recently created radio unit. Financial details and its term were not disclosed.
XM will carry NYT' WQXR music series "Reflections from the Keyboard" on one of its classical music channels and develop other classical programs. XM will also include reports, reviews, and commentaries from Times staffers in several of its talk radio channels, and the companies will develop an hourly newscast for selected XM talk channels.
Some more details in the release.

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August 01, 2005

Ford to Begin Offering Factory-installed Sirius Radio Options

Sirius_logo_2Press Release: Beginning this month, Ford and Lincoln Mercury will offer Sirius Satellite Radio as a factory-installed option in four of its 2006 models (Ford F150, Lincoln Mark LT, Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer), following up an agreement announced last year. Car customers will be offered the system for about $195, which includes a six-month subscription to the Sirius service...

"Satellite radio is the fastest growing consumer electronics product today," said Steve Lyons, Group Vice President, For Marketing, Sales and Service. "With SIRIUS radio, we are providing another way for our customers to personalize their vehicles and driving experience to their tastes. We look forward to growing the relationship and offering SIRIUS in more product lines in the near future."

Under the deal, SIRIUS radios will arrive at dealerships pre-activated, thereby allowing dealer to give in-vehicle actual demonstrations and enabling the customer to immediately access SIRIUS at the time of delivery...Earlier this year, Ford and Lincoln Mercury announced plans to target up to 21 vehicle lines for factory installation of SIRIUS over the 2006 and 2007 model years. Ford also announced that they expect to generate up to one million SIRIUS subscribers over those two model year periods.

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July 26, 2005

Starbucks Partners With XM

businessweek:  XM sure is busy today, announcing another deal with Starbucks to launch a series of CD compilations with the coffee giant's Hear Music unit...The CD deal is apparently a natural extension of the Hear Music XM Channel started last October...Financial terms were not disclosed, but XM shares rose 5 cents to $36.41, while Starbucks shares edged up 4 cents to $50.49 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.

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Samsung Partners With XM On MP3 Player-Radios

Yahoo: Samsung announced today that it has set a strategic alliance with XM Satellite Radio to develop portable MP3 players that will also work as satellite radios - thereby playing both recorded XM programming and MP3 audio files..."Under the terms of the accord, Samsung will begin selling by year-end two miniature flash memory players which will come with a kit allowing them to receive XM satellite radio stations." Newsday also reports that, "The two players won't receive XM programming directly. Instead they will come with home docking stations that receive XM's satellite broadcasts and store them on the players. Users will also be able to transfer digital music files from their computer."

The new players most likely evolved from XM's MyFi, which receives broadcasts directly and stores up to five hours of programming - but does not play MP3 files. The new MP3/Radio Player will come in two different storage capacities and will be available at the end of the year. Names and pricing were not yet announced, but the players will apparently use solid-state "flash" memory, unlike the popular iPod, which uses hard drive storage. Two exciting new features will be the ability to record XM broadcasts (with the recorded content able to be played anywhere, including places where satellite signals are unavailable) and the ability for listeners to identify songs programmed on XM and then easily order them from an online music store - which could be huge if the process is seamless...

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June 28, 2005

U.S. Military Eyes XM Radio

WashingtonPost:  Apparently, XM may be providing our military with a dedicated satellite radio channel for homeland security purposes. Under the proposed agreement, an XM satellite would relay critical information to soldiers during a crisis - who would be able to easily receive the emergency broadcasts on a modified portable radio device. However, XM's reach only covers North America, so its communications system partner Raytheon has signed an agreement with Worldspace to provide satellite radio coverage in Africa, Asia and Europe too...

The Mobile Enhanced Situational Awareness Network (MESA), would get a dedicated channel on XM's satellites that would be accessible only on devices given to emergency personnel. Official assessments of MESA will take months and procurement decisions will likely come next year. But early reviews of MESA were favorable...On the surface, it sounds like a win-win situation....So, does this mean that our soldiers will eventually get their own music station/genre too? (Armybop...Navy-Hop...Lock & Roll))

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June 14, 2005

Sirius In Deal With Sprint

Billboard Radio Monitor: A deal a day, keeps the satcasters stay...Sirius Satellite Radio made a bold move toward cell phone integration with an alliance that will provide some of the satcaster's programming for Sprint PCS Vision customers.
Details are still being ironed out between the two companies, but Sirius announced that Sprint is evaluating various music channels, including new hits, classic rock, hip-hop, country, blues, soul, jazz and Broadway's best music. The new Sprint service will be available nationwide, with more specifics and a pricing structure to come later in the year. Some more details in release...
Reuters: Sirius said the cost of the new channels would be included in the cellphone service package that Sprint sells to its customers, rather than sold separately by Sirius.
Watch for XM to make a similar move with a rival already has the first "wearable" satellite radio called the MyFi.

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June 10, 2005

XM Satellite Radio Issues Stock Offering

Yahoo: XM Satellite Radio issued 9.7 million shares of common stock valued at $300 million yesterday and said it plans to use the money for working capital and general corporate purposes, including the launch of future satellites, payments for third-party programming and repayment of debt...


--XM Could Launch XM-4 Satellite A Year Early: Bear Stearns reiterated an "outperform" rating and $39 target price and concluded that XM's spending to increase market size (and its market share) bodes well for the stock over the long term...

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