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Howard Stern, the “King of All Media,” will continue to make satellite radio giant SiriusXM his home, extending his long-running deal with the company for his flagship show by five years.
The deal, unveiled Tuesday, also covers the Stern archive for seven additional years. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
Stern, 66, is currently working under a five-year deal with Sirius, estimated to be worth as much as $100 million a year, that expires at the end of this year. Recent chatter had focused on the new deal being for up to $120 million per year.
The news was first announced by Stern live during his show Tuesday morning. “Fifteen years ago, I joined SiriusXM, a fledgling group of broadcasters. I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio,” Stern said. “And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me. I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike.”
He added: “And despite the naysayers and the ridicule, we have persevered and are thriving. I’ve been proven right about satellite radio over and over again. With this contract renewal, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be right about. Certainly, I have a lot more to say about Metamucil crackers and stepmom porn. Plus, now that I can work from home, I simply don’t have an excuse to quit.”
And the star said: “I would like to thank my incredible crew that I work with every morning and of course the talented Robin Quivers. Robin, we make a great team. Like Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tennille, Charles Manson and Squeaky Fromme, we continue our great friendship. I look forward to more laughs and good times. As a proud member of Bachelor Nation, I say … Robin, will you accept my rose and dare I say, should you forgo your individual room, will you join me in the fantasy suite?”
Stern also called SiriusXM “the greatest content provider in media today,” adding: “SiriusXM, I love you, and I’m thrilled to continue our journey together.”
SiriusXM’s Jim Meyer, who is leaving the post of CEO at the end of this year to focus on the vice chairman role, has in recent months repeatedly said that a Stern deal renewal was a key focus for him, and he was hoping for news on that around the company’s third-quarter earnings call Oct. 20.
Meyer said that he has been “really clear” that “I want Howard Stern to be on SiriusXM for as long as Howard wants to work,” lauding their “tremendous relationship” that has “never been better.” In July, the executive said talks had picked up steam, adding, “we’ll keep working and we’ll get there, I hope. At the end of the day, it will come down to what Howard wants to do.” Meyer also told a recent investor conference that the deals with Stern have made financial sense. “We have had Howard for 15 years and I am sure that every penny we paid Howard, our shareholders have benefited [from],” he said.
Music streaming giant Spotify had been seen as the main alternative for Stern given its growing podcasting business. But B. Riley analyst Zack Silver in a recent report highlighted that SiriusXM has rights to Stern’s back catalog through 2027, which “helps lower the risk of Stern joining a rival service.”
He also wondered if Stern was “really still worth $100 million-plus a year?” Silver’s response: “Our recent survey work suggests that only a low-single-digit percentage of respondents subscribe to SiriusXM solely because of Howard Stern. That said, we do believe marquee exclusives like Stern help support SiriusXM’s premium price point, as well as differentiate the service from other subscription audio platforms. And for investors, we believe that a potential renewal with Stern serves as a proof point that SiriusXM can continue to retain and attract top talent to its service.”
Credit Suisse analyst Brian Russo in a recent report estimated that 15 percent of Stern listeners could cancel their SiriusXM subscriptions if he left the company, “implying a potential subscriber loss of 2.7 million.”
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