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Oprah's Deal With XM Ups The Satellite Radio Ante

  • NY Times, Friday, February 10, 2006 10:47 AM
Oprah Winfrey's $55 million, three-year deal with XM Satellite Radio, announced yesterday, assures that the talk diva will remain among the wealthiest, best-known personalities in America--and all for 30 minutes of work a week, 39 weeks a year.  Clearly, it's a great deal for Winfrey. Is it equally so for XM?  Too soon to know, of course.  The move, called "the latest escalation in the satellite radio arms race" by The New York Times, pits XM's Oprah against Sirius' Howard.  The new XM program, "Oprah & Friends," will appeal chiefly to women. It is hoped that her arrival on satellite radio in the fall will ignite sales of specialty satellite receivers in the way Howard Stern's deal did in 2005.  The Times reports that the XM agreement is an all-cash deal that calls for a 50-50 split of advertising revenue between XM and Winfrey's Harpo Productions. One imponderable in the new XM-Winfrey tie-up:  Will Oprah's ubiquity on TV increase or decrease her value as a paid-sub satellite personality? Stern, you'll recall, essentially disappeared as a TV presence at the same time he switched over to Sirius as his main outlet.



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