Sirius XM had another strong quarter as 2012 drew to a close, signaling a smooth transition as Liberty Media prepares to take ownership of the satellite broadcaster.
Total revenues increased 14% to $892 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 year-over-year, largely as a result of continuing growth in the number of subscribers.
They increased from 21.9 million at the end of 2011 to 23.9 million at the end of 2012. Of this net addition of 2 million subscribers in 2012, around 535,000 were added in the fourth quarter of the year -- roughly equal with the same period of 2011.
Advertising revenue edged up 11.4% to $22.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 from the previous year.
For the full year, total revenues increased 13% from $3 billion to $3.4 billion. Automobile sales were the main driver of new subscription growth, with 45% of all new-vehicle owners deciding to subscribe after their free trial expires in 2012. That proportion was unchanged from 2011. Full-year ad revenue increased 11.7% from $73.7 million to $82.3 million.
Last month, Liberty Media’s long push to acquire Sirius XM took another step forward with the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to grant regulatory approval for the deal. Liberty currently holds a 48% stake in Sirius XM; in its application Liberty said it would buy enough stock to increase its stake to over 50% within 60 days of receiving permission from the FCC.
Former Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin stepped down in mid-December; he has been replaced on an interim basis by James Meyer, previously the company’s president of sales and operations, while the company’s board of directors searches for a replacement.