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Satellite Industry Now Claims 18 Million Subscribers

That’s 25% growth in a year.

Sirius and XM’s combined subscriber total is just under 18 million now. That compares to 14.4 million at this time a year ago.

The companies together reported revenue in the first quarter of $578.4 million.

The two want to merge, of course, but as of now they continue to report separate financial results, which they did this week.

XM’s first-quarter losses grew despite increased penetration via car sales.

XM reported first-quarter revenue of $308 million, an increase of about 17 percent over the first quarter of 2007. Yet its net losses increased more than 5% to $129 million.

Its first-quarter adjusted operating loss was $30.7 million, compared to a loss of $27 million in first quarter 2007. The adjusted operating loss includes $3.5 million of merger-related expenses, compared to $9.2 million in first quarter 2007.

XM ended the quarter with 9.33 million subscribers, an 18 percent increase, compared to 7.91 million subscribers a year ago. The satcaster said a 49 percent year-over-year increase in the number of gross additions through its automotive channel drove that growth. It said its OEM partners produced 1 million new XM-equipped vehicles in the first quarter alone; OEM gross additions were 802,000, compared to 537,000 in first quarter 2007.

President/CEO Nate Davis said the company marked its fourth consecutive quarter of record OEM gross additions. First-quarter 2008 churn was 1.77 percent, compared to first quarter 2007 churn of 1.78 percent.

At Sirius, total revenue for the quarter increased to $270.4 million, up 33% from the quarter a year ago. The satcaster reported a first-quarter net loss of $104.1 million, an improvement of 28% over first quarter 2007 net loss of $144.7 million.

Sirius ended first quarter 2008 with about 8.6 million subscribers, up 31% from 6.5 million. The bulk of the increase came from OEM sales, with those subscriptions increasing 72% to 3.9 million, the company said.

First quarter 2008 average customer churn was 2.7%.