XM Satellite Radio reported on April 1 greater-than-expected subscriber gains in the first quarter of 2004 in what many analysts believe is a critical year for building consumer acceptance of the satellite radio industry, according to a report from Reuters. XM Radio reported 320,000 net new subscribers in the fourth quarter on April 1, up 230 percent from the same period last year, bringing the company's total subscriber rolls to 1.68 million. The company said it expects 2.8 million subscribers by the end of 2004. Analysts had expected additions of 259,000 in the quarter, which is typically strong due to activations of new radios given as holiday gifts. XM Radio also announced on April 1 that it has launched a 24-hour channel devoted to Boston traffic and weather, the latest addition to its Instant Traffic & Weather channels for major metropolitan areas nationwide. The XM Instant Traffic & Weather channel for Boston provides:
  • In-depth traffic and weather reports for the Boston metropolitan area, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Continuously-updated information from a broad array of sources, including advanced roadside sensors, local eyewitness reports, the latest updates from state and local police fire departments, and other sources on the ground in Boston.
  • Actual travel times and average speeds for major roadways.
  • A single, dedicated channel for Boston traffic and weather, offering comprehensive, round-the-clock reporting.
  • Coverage of a broader set of roads and geography than traditionally reported on traffic radio.
  • Amber Alerts and other important public safety alerts on the air and printed on the XM radio display. For XM Radio, Boston is the latest in a national rollout of 21 Instant Traffic & Weather channels. XM debuted its Washington, D.C. channel on February 28. Fourteen additional channels were launched on March 1 for New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Channels for the five remaining markets (Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle and San Diego) will be introduced later in 2004. XM Instant Traffic & Weather channels are part of XM's programming lineup, which offers more than 120 digital radio channels of commercial-free music and news, talk, sports, and entertainment for $9.99 a month. XM's smaller competitor Sirius Satellite Radio said it plans to report first-quarter subscriber numbers with its first-quarter earnings, as is company policy. It expects to have 1 million subscribers by the end of the year.
  • Originally posted on Fleet Financials