Sirius iPhone App: Too Little, Too Late?

Mar 12th, 2009 | By | Category: iPods & Portable Media Players, Podcasting

Sirius announced plans today for an application to stream its satellite radio service to the Apple iPhone and iPod touch.

Sirius XM CFO David Frear made the comments on its earnings conference call, which covered Sirius’ fourth quarter results. The company reported a fourth quarter net loss of $245.8 million on revenue of $644 million.

Back in 2006, we asked if satellite radio could survive the onslaught of iPods and podcasting, noting:

Pods and podcasting threaten the future of satellite radio.

A large portion of both companies subscribers has come from people that purchase cars with pre-installed satellite radio. More and more cars have iPod support, which cuts into XM and Sirius subscriber growth. Internet audio in the form of podcasts and streaming audio also offers a free alternative to the services.

Satellite radio’s value was based on its coverage and its range of content.

At this point, people are overwhelmed by the range of content that’s available on the Internet. Devices like the iPhone can bring podcasts and Internet radio to you wherever you take your phone.

Is the Sirius iPhone app too little, too late?

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16 Responses to “Sirius iPhone App: Too Little, Too Late?”

  1. Mike Wills says:

    Really?!? I think it is too little, too late. Between podcasts, Pandora, and bit of streaming radio. I have all of the entertainment I need on my iPod Touch.

    They need to change their business model if they hope to survive.

  2. […] Sirius iPhone App: Too Little, Too Late? (via Podcasting News) […]

  3. Stick a couple of nails in the lid and get the shovels ready.

    The feedback TO THE ADVERTISERS is MUCH better on the web.

    Its so much easier to deliver an IMC campaign on the web and we can deliver so many more stats to the advertiser that buys into the concept that its hopeless for the other media.

    Before, there were heaps of previously underserved markets because of the structure of a transmitter based broadcast media or of a printing press based media. (Liebling said “The power of the press belongs to those who own one.” But on the internet, ANYBODY and EVERYBODY can own a virtual one.)

    If you didn’t have $100.000.000 (that’s right a hundred million dollars,) to pony up on an ad campaign, you were shut out and shut up..

    Now you can have a reasonable ROR (RateOfReturn) on a much more focused CPM expenditure.

    Instead of having to spend a hundred million for a topographic ad campaign through all of the old media, you can spend a tenth of a percent part of that to get a topologic media campaign.

    Its like you suddenly found the right magazine in the right demographic focus group to advertise in and they had global distribution.

    The only barrier that still makes sense is linguistic.

  4. James Lewin says:

    Charles – love your comment “The only barrier that still makes sense is linguistic!”

  5. Paul Brummett says:

    As an avid satellite radio fan of which the other comment authors clearly are not, this is great!
    I also own an i pod and I phone. Although handy, you need to load everything you may want to listen to for a given span of time. Nice if you have a ton of free time, but how many times do you end up listening to the i pod over and over because you forgot to change to content?
    Streaming pandora? Nice if you like listening through a tin can.
    Satellite radio is a cross country companion that offers fantastic diversity of content with out having to change frequently the album/podcasts when it is complete.
    Although Sirius/XM may fail due to debt loads, it will not fail because there are not enough listeners.
    Do not fool yourselves, Satellite radio is not going away. Sirius/XM is the pioneer in this field and frequently the pioneers do not succeed.

  6. Ben Ball says:

    Finally! Now I can listen to Howard at work! Or NFL Network… or music… Can’t wait!

  7. Rob says:

    Never too late… this will enable me to take Howard Stern with me wherever i go, instead of just in my car and home…. thanks SIRIUS!

  8. I think Karmizon has it under control. The app only brings the world real entertainment to those lucky enough to afford a subscription to sat. radio as well as an iPhone or ipod touch. So quit yer whining and buy the app. Tune into Stern and laugh till ya pee yourself…

  9. Shawn says:

    No one knows the long term fate of satellite radio. I have an iPhone and I’ve listened to Pandora and I have a bunch of my own downloads on there but like Paul (above) said, Pandora has its drawbacks and an itunes library is limited.
    I got Sirius, like most people, for Howard Stern and if he leaves I would probably cancel one of my two subscriptions but I’d keep the unit I have in the car. Weather, traffic, comedy and a ton of diverse music content, its worth the small subscription fee.
    An app for the iPhone for Sirius would be amazing. The biggest problem I find with satellite is the signal, this app eliminates the biggest problem as far as I’m concerned.
    I agree that satellite radio will be around for a long time.
    And… “BaBaBooey to y’all!”

  10. Ryan says:

    Forget the talent and content discussion., what few have seen coming is the royalties that will soon be imposed on companies like Pandora and Slacker that will not survive without a subscription model and SiriusXM is lightyears ahead.

  11. Mitur Binesderti says:

    The problem is they killed Starplayr and shut them down without having the alternative ready. On top of that they are now going to charge more for internet listening.

    Worst of all Stern is back to 10 and 15 min commercial breaks. Two days in a row I’ve gotten into my car and totally missed the show because of the commercials. The only way I really listened was online but charging extra is just the final straw.

    Karmazin is one of the idiots that ruined old fashioned radio, now he’s ruined Sat radio too.
    Play lists suck now.
    Stern only works 100 days a year if that.
    They can’t seem to understand to play the wrap up show every time.
    10 min commercials.

  12. JR says:

    I may be way off the mark here – but doesn’t the existence of a nationwide 3G network (and the inevitable improved networks to come) make satellite technology unnecessary? If Stern can broadcast to the net via his own pay service, why go through a middleman like Sirius/XM? He could not only control access by selling his own subscriptions, but couldn’t he take that info to potential advertisers with a much clearer picture of who the audience is? I’d like to think it would mean an end to the Cash4Gold promos. Is he just waiting for his contract to run out before seriously exploring the possibilities available to an independent producer, or is he not convinced that everything is going to be web based (or maybe “cloud based” is a better term) sooner rather than later? I mean, the guy is still using LotusNotes and a Treo.

    It seems like the way things are going, car makers are going to eventually ditch satellite radio in favor of some in-dash tech that functions essentially the same way as an iPhone for maps, music, info, etc. Of course, this all requires a stable signal, which at the time is still only possible via satellite, but it seems like only a matter of time that the wireless grid will have the same coverage as terrestrial radio – admittedly with the nationwide installation of some much different tech infrastructure due to the obvious differences between the digital spectrum vs radio waves. But for the price it takes to launch a satellite, couldn’t you build dozens of towers?

    Of course, this may all be moot, as being able to get phone, music, tv, and video from one source isn’t what everybody wants, at least not as long as TimeWarner is able to sell me internet, cable tv, albums, movie tickets, books, and rentals separately and the cell companies are happy to fight over the scraps.

  13. Mark H says:

    I only recently purchased my first vehicle with a Sirius receiver and love some of the unique channels they offer. However, as an Iphone owner, I can see how applications like WunderRadio which let you listen to any internet radio station from around the world give Satellite programming a run for the money. Using WunderRadio yesterday I listened to a news Broadcast from New Zealand, my favorite Local Chicago morning show and even tuned in a kids music station for my toddlers. Some of the stations, which broadcast at 128k have better sound quality than I hear on Sirius. The drawback is that 3G coverage isn’t as wide spread as satellite and sometimes reception is poor on a lower speed connection. I really do hope that Sirius/XM makes it, if for no other reason than I just paid for my next 12 months in advance. But unless they find a way to co-exist, and eek out a profit at the same time, I wonder if they will??

  14. a versatile media software running on Mac to convert mpeg files to some common popular videos.

  15. E-swens says:

    I can’t wait for the Sirius iPhone app… yes, it is incredibly late, but Sirius has great programming. Part of why radio has had it’s success and hasn’t died yet is because it’s comforting to know there is a “personality” on the other end. Jam On station is an awesome station and I hate that I hate that I can only listen to it when I’m next to my radio.

  16. Matt says:

    People are going to be way upset with the iPhone app. The iPhone doesn’t multitask, and this app will reveal this HUGE insufficiency in the iPhone o/s. In other words, you cannot read the NYT or an email and listen at the same time. The iPhone o/s is stupider than Ba Ba Booey.

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