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Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Telecom & Media Conference in a session that was webcast, he said broadness and diversity of content were the most important thing for subscribers of the satellite radio service. “Second is ease of use,” he said.
“Music is very important, no doubt about it. Howard Stern is very important, no doubt about it,” Frear said about the content on SiriusXM. But Fox News, CNBC and other programming offers are key as well, he emphasized.
The CFO faced a question about whether Stern would extend his relationship with Sirius once his contract expires at the end of the year.
“I’d listen to the show,” Frears said when asked about the state of contract talks, adding that Stern would likely first announce his future on air. “The news comes out there first.”
“He’s an amazing talent,” the Sirius CFO said about Stern. “He has been a great business partner for us.” He added that the past 10 years have been “fantastic” for both Stern and Sirius. “We have seen Howard’s brand change significantly in the course of the 10 years. We have seen the fortunes of satellite radio change significantly in 10 years,” Frear said. “It’s been a great relationship for both sides. At the end of the day, whether he renews or not, is an intensely personal decision.”
Added the Sirius CFO: “There’s one person that is going to make that decision. That’s Howard. He is a fantastic performer. There is nobody like him.” He compared the talk host to a star athlete who chooses when to leave.
Frear on Tuesday also discussed emerging revenue streams. He said advertising sales at SiriusXM now amounted to more than $100 million “with really high incremental margins.” Weather and traffic data sales and Internet subscriptions also fall into the category of such $100 million-plus revenue streams that all add up.
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