Sirius XM CEO 'Committed to Keeping' Howard Stern, NFL Content

Howard Stern
Howard Stern
 

Sirius XM Radio is "committed to keeping" Howard Stern and NFL content when their current deals with the satellite radio firm expire at the end of 2015, CEO Jim Meyer told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference on Thursday.

In a session that was webcast, he said the satellite radio firm would like to continue its relationship with Stern as long as the radio host wants to work. No conversations worth mentioning with Stern and the NFL are currently taking place, "but we're committed to keeping those," Meyer said. "We care very, very much about" the two content partnerships, he added.

Stern earlier this year said that he is planning to leave Sirius XM at the end of his contract that runs through 2015. The comment came after he failed to revive a $300 million lawsuit based on a contract dispute with Sirius.

"As long as Howard Stern wants to work, as long as Howard Stern is as motivated as he is today and makes his show as good as it is, we want him on Sirius XM Radio," Meyer said.

But asked if he would extend Stern's contract on a non-exclusive basis, Meyer said on Thursday "absolutely not." He explained: "We pay an aweful lot of money for Howard. And every penny is worth that...We want to protect that exclusivity." That said, he said he loves that Stern is doing America's Got Talent as it helps the Stern and Sirius brand.

He also said the firm can afford all content it wants, but wants to pay affordable prices, and has nothing missing. John Malone's Liberty Media owns a majority stake in Sirius XM.

Meyer on Thursday also explained why the company recently struck a deal with Hispanic radio star Piolin after he abruptly left Univision Radio. "We're underrepresented in the Hispanic demo" and saw an opportunity to further expand content for the demo, the CEO said. He said the deal was struck within a week.

In mid-October, Sirius is launching a channel update that will ensure that the vast majority of subscribers can get Hispanic content. The company will then offer a bundle of about 10 Spanish-language channels, including Piolin's new one and some other stations for $5.99 per month instead of its regular $14.49 monthly package. Meyer reiterated Thursday that this pricing should allow the company to avoid cannibalizing its overall user base.

And he said that there are other audience segments that could get similar targeted bundle offers.

For example, recently launched channel Rural Radio that offers programming for and about rural American life, the Western lifestyle and agribusiness interests. "Those people listen to that content. They may not want all of our other content," Meyer said.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai


 

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