SiriusXM Adds Subscribers, Touts "Significant Progress" in Howard Stern Talks

SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer

SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer

The audio entertainment giant and home of Howard Stern reports its third-quarter results.

Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM, the home of Howard Stern, on Thursday said it added 169,000 self-pay subscribers in its satellite radio and 105,000 in its Pandora unit during the third quarter.

The company, controlled by John Malone's Liberty Media, said that at SiriusXM total net subscriber additions were 186,000, resulting in 34.4 million total users at the end of September. "Paid promotional subscribers increased due to higher shipments from automakers offering paid trial subscriptions with the purchase or lease of a vehicle," it said.

The firm's music streaming service Pandora had added 33,000 self-pay subs in the year-ago period. It ended September with nearly 6.4 million total such users.

During the third quarter, SiriusXM saw net income rise 11 percent to $272 million, against a year-earlier $246 million, on overall revenue rising 1 percent to $2.027 billion. SiriusXM subscriber revenue was up 1 percent to $1.59 billion, which offset a slight decline in advertising revenue to $345 million, against $366 million in 2019.

At the same time, SiriusXM pointed to resilience in advertising amid the pandemic, with a 34 percent ad revenue decline in the second quarter being followed by a third quarter decline of only 6 percent. SiriusXM subscriber revenue rose 3 percent to $1.46 billion during the latest quarter, while Pandora subscriber revenue was unchanged at $132 million.

SiriusXM, led by CEO Jim Meyer, also gave an update on the future of Stern. "We are making significant progress in extending our relationship with Howard Stern," Meyer said in a statement that accompanied his latest financial results.

Meyer expanded on those contract renewal talks during a morning analyst call: "Howard tells me he's never been happier. And our relationship with Howard is very strong. He is producing fantastic content. And his show has never been better. We've had very productive conversations regarding a long term agreement. From my perspective, we are far along, but it's never done until it's done. I am very confident we will have an agreement soon to announce."

Meyer would not be drawn on expected deal points during the call, but did indicate the contract extension negotiations had produced "economics" that satisfied both parties and that a "long term relationship" would likely emerge from the talks.

On the talent side,  SiriusXM also struck a new content supply agreement with Kevin Hart and with LeBron James and Maverick Carter launched UNINTERRUPTED Radio from the NBA bubble on Pandora. And SiriusXM and Pandora have partnered with rapper Drake on an eventual radio station dedicated to his popular music, likely to launch in tandem with a future album rollout.

The audio entertainment giant also returned to broadcasts of live sports across Major League Baseball, the NBA and NFL amid the pandemic.

Oct. 22, 6 a.m. Updated with analyst call comments by SiriusXM executives.