Monday, February 19, 2007

Sirius Growth

Congrats to our friends at Sirius Satellite Radio's "The Catholic Channel," whose potential audience will soon grow... by about 8 million.

Capping months of speculation, Sirius and rival pay-radio provider XM have announced that they will merge. The move ends a war between the two companies over subscribers and content which has drained revenue from both.

Once the deal closes after a steeplechase of regulatory scrutiny, the combined 14.5 million subscribers of the merged entity will enjoy a lineup that combines the marquee talents of both outlets, from XM's pickups of Bob Dylan, Oprah Winfrey, ACC Basketball and Major League Baseball to Sirius' stable of Sinatra, Stern, NPR, NASCAR, the Metropolitan Opera -- and Lino Rulli & Co., of course.

In its preliminary announcement, the companies said that the likely route going forward would result in customers choosing their own lineups "on a more a la carte basis," as opposed to the universal cost and content menu currently offered by both.

Sirius is also the exclusive sat-rad provider of EWTN, although the company's 300,000-member Canadian outpost dropped it from its lineup amid a programming change last week. XM offers three Christian music channels, while Sirius hosts two religious music channels and three talk streams.

Launched in early December in conjunction with the archdiocese of New York, the Catholic Channel was recently added to Sirius' online-listening service, a free three-day preview of which can be obtained here.

(Full disclosure: a very satisfied Sirius subscriber since September 2005, the author is a frequent contributor to the Catholic Channel.)