Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM, the home of Howard Stern, said on Wednesday that it added self-paying subscribers in its satellite radio unit during the first quarter, but its user count dropped due to a decline in promotional customers.
The company added 113,000 net self-pay subscribers in its Pandora music streaming business, ending the first quarter with 6.4 million total users, compared with nearly 6.3 million as of the end of 2020.
The audio giant, controlled by John Malone’s Liberty Media, said that at its core SiriusXM business self-pay subscriber net additions came to 126,000 in the opening quarter of 2021, compared with 69,000 in the year-ago period. It lost 341,000 paid promotional subs. The firm’s total SiriusXM users at the end of March stood at 34.5 million, including 31.0 million self-pay customers.
First-quarter advertising revenue at Pandora rose 29 percent to $312 million, with the company citing “strong monetization” and the acquisition of Stitcher.
First-quarter total revenue of $2.06 billion was up 5 percent from the year-ago period, with adjusted earnings before interest interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization up 7 percent to $682 million. Net income of $219 million fell from $293 million though.
“I am pleased to announce SiriusXM has started the year impressively,” said Jennifer Witz, who recently succeeded Jim Meyer as CEO of SiriusXM. “These strong results reflect the value we bring to our listeners through the breadth and depth of our content.”
Witz earlier this year told Wall Street analysts that Pandora was busy drumming up new content, including podcasts, to improve audience engagement across connected devices and in cars. “We’re clearly focused on a decline in listenership,” she said. “It has been harder than we expected. But the monetization has been very strong at Pandora.”