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Satellite Vendors Jockey at CES

Satellite Vendors Jockey at CES

Sirius and XM continue to try to differentiate their products to the public. Sirius President/CEO Joe Clayton called XM’s gradual launch a “shotgun approach.
The product category of satellite radio is too new to know what consumers want, he said.
XM countered by saying it has a nine-month lead over its competitor in terms of getting receivers into the marketplace. President/CEO Hugh Panero said, “A year ago, we were supposedly a year behind our competitor. We have arrived.”
XM, he said, has created the “car potato,” with people listening while driving, or “sitting in their driveway glued to the head unit.”
XM’s partners had more than 100,000 radios in stores by Dec. 1. By the end of the first quarter, it expects to have product in more than 6,000 outlets.
In a launch update at CES, XM played clips of various CEOs of consumer electronic chains saying satellite radio is a great new product category. Clips from satisfied customers also were played. One customer said he didn’t mind being in traffic jams any more because of the service.
Company officials say the product rollout hasn’t been entirely smooth. An XM executive told RW Online that Sony underestimated the demand for the home adapter for its Plug and Play unit. There were also some initial shortages in trucking antennas.
Both Sirius and XM say they need 3 million to 4 million subscribers to reach a break-even point and expect to achieve positive cash flow in 2004.