Report: FCC's Martin Questions XM-Sirius Merger
March 7, 2007 at 5:43 AM (PT)
Is FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN signaling opposition to the XM-SIRIUS merger? The NEW YORK TIMES is reporting that MARTIN, in separate conversations with two people, questioned MEL KARMAZIN's testimony that subscribers will pay the same monthly rate for more programming post-merger.
MARTIN reportedly said that subscribers may end up having to pay premiums above the monthly rate to get certain programming like NFL football or MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, and told the TIMES that KARMAZIN's testimony had not made that clear. "The commission will need to determine the benefits to consumers of this deal, and in doing that, we will need to carefully look at what price will be frozen and what consumers will be getting for that price," said MARTIN. "When they talk about freezing rates and lowering rates, are they talking about it in terms of the current rate of $12.95 for each service, or are they referring to the combined rate of $25.90?"
KARMAZIN told the paper that he meant to say that subscribers wishing to keep their present service would not see their rates rise and that listeners wanting "the best of both services" will pay less than the combined subscription rate for the two services.