Can Sirius Provide A Big Enough Crown For ‘King of Satellite’ Stern?Apr 20th, 2009 | By Elisabeth Lewin | Category: Making Money with Podcasts, Podcasting, The New Media Update
Chris Bulger of web analytics concern Compete has compiled some interesting statistics on most-listened-to stations on Sirius Internet Radio. Compete tracks two million media consumers’ overall Internet behavior; Bulger examined the listening habits of those who listen to the satellite network’s online offerings.
With hundreds of different channels to choose from, I would have thought that there would be a broad distribution of listeners among many stations and genres. I was wrong, though.
Bulger’s (maybe not so surprising) findings: “shock jock” Howard Stern, crowned “king” by Bulger, is far and away the most-listened-to “station” on Sirius’ satellite network. Howard Sterns’ two Sirius channels, Howard 100 and Howard 101, garner 28.4% and 16.1% of unique listeners, respectively. The next runner-up, pop station Sirius Hits 1, garners 10% of unique listeners, and the rest of the Top 20 channels on Bulger’s list score 5.7% of the unique listeners or less.
Stern commands a huge proportion of Sirius’ Internet Radio listeners. One can’t help but wonder, as Bulger does, what will happen next year, when Sterns’ bazillion-dollar contract with Sirius comes to a close? Even with a big-name draw like Stern, Sirius (now merged with former rival XM), is losing money hand over fist (an estimated $245 million fourth-quarter loss on revenue of $644 million).Â Can they continue to lose money, *and* bankroll Howard Stern?
Can they afford not to?
Some have said that Stern would be wise to kiss satellite goodbye next year, and perhaps start his own podcast. If he is the primary draw for Sirius subscribers, he can presumably do like he did when he left terrestrial radio — jump to another platform, and take many (most) of his listeners with him.
Another syndicated radio personality, Adam Carolla, launched a podcast earlier this year, and had, within the first few days, a quarter of a million listeners. Carolla did this under less-than-favorable circumstances. What could Stern do with the time and resources for a planned launch?
Or will satellite radio be able to cook up an attractive big-money contract to keep Stern on Sirius?