Hear This: Sirius XM Adds 1.7 Million Subscribers '11


Satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM had another big year, adding 1.7 million net new subscribers in 2011, for a total 21.9 million at year’s end, according to CEO Mel Karmazin, who disclosed the preliminary figures this week.

Karmazin noted that this figure for net additions, which exceeded the company’s expectations of 1.6 million net additions, is also about 20% higher than 2010, when the company added approximately 1.4 million new subscribers. He added the gains demonstrate the demand "for our unmatched audio content.”

The announcement follows a number of strategic moves from Sirius XM.

On Dec. 30, the company revealed the Lynx, a new satellite radio set equipped with an Android-based receiver capable of streaming digital music via Wi-Fi. It has a large memory storage for on-demand playback, as well as home, car and portable docking systems.



While Sirius XM was criticized by some investors for missing the 2011 holiday shopping season, others praised the Lynx, with its multifunctional capabilities, as a bulwark against potential competition from online radio services like Pandora, which offer many of the same features as satellite radio for a lower price.

Sirius XM also recently revealed Sirius XM Latino, which provides an array of Spanish-language programming as part of “Sirius XM 2.0,” the company’s push to expand programming options, including commercial-free music, sports and comedy content.

The move to more multicultural offerings comes as the satcaster also faces new competition from traditional radio broadcasters in the digital audio arena.

In September 2011, Clear Channel Radio revealed that it is adding Spanish-language content from Univision Radio to the New iHeartRadio platform. The content partnership -- the first third-party distribution relationship for the digital platform -- includes music, sports and talk formats, as well as leading AM and FM Spanish-language radio personalities.

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