SiriusXM Raises Subscriber Forecast Again

SiriusXM Radio CEO Jim Meyer

The satellite radio giant, controlled by John Malone's Liberty Media, posted third-quarter earnings in line with expectations.

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM Radio, controlled by John Malone's Liberty Media, on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected subscriber growth in its third quarter and raised its full-year subscriber guidance.

Quarterly net subscriber additions came in at 525,000, compared with 433,000 net new subs in the year-ago quarter, up 21 percent. Total paid subscribers reached 28.96 million at the end of September.

Quarterly earnings hit $167 million, up 22 percent compared with $136 million in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at $447 million, up 17 percent and marking "a quarterly record high," the company said.

Revenue increased 11 percent to $1.17 billion, a third-quarter record for the company.

SiriusXM now targets total net subscriber additions of approximately 2 million for the full year. It had previously predicted a 2015 gain of about 1.8 million subscribers, which was already up from 1.4 million and 1.2 million at the start of the year.

Said SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer: "With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company's history. We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue and adjusted EBITDA."

On an earnings conference call, the CEO said people regularly ask him if Howard Stern will extend his SiriusXM deal, which comes to an end at the end of the year. "We certainly hope so," Meyer said.

He said that people would likely agree that "his show has never been bigger and better," adding that the two sides talk regularly. The best way to get any news on Stern's future is to "turn into Howard’s show every morning," Meyer said. "That’s what I do."

Asked about Apple Music's paying subscribers of more than 6.5 million, he called it "not a trivial number." But he argued that streaming is "a technology, not a competitor." He said SiriusXM sees streaming as one part of its offers and business.

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