Will The Skydock Bring Subscribers To Sirius?
August 27, 2009 at 4:39 AM (PT)
As ALL ACCESS tipped you last week (NET NEWS 8/21), SIRIUS XM SATELLITE RADIO is rolling out a $120 dock that turns iPHONES into satellite radios. The SKYDOCK, as it will be named, will be available in the FALL.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports "the dock plugs in through a car's cigarette lighter and plays through a car's audio system using SIRIUS's new PowerConnect technology. When consumers put their iPHONES in the dock, an interface comes up on the phone's screen that allows them to change channels. Dock users must purchase a satellite-radio subscription, with the basic monthly rate at $12.95. iPOD TOUCHES also work with the dock."
SIRIUS is betting the SKYDOCK will appeal to consumers who don't want to buy satellite radios. About 12 million Americans have iPHONES, says MAJESTIC RESEARCH Analyst RICHARD KLUGMAN, and another 16 million people have iPOD TOUCHES.
SIRIUS did release an iPHONE application this SUMMER that allowed subscribers to an Internet-radio package to listen to about 120 channels -- but not HOWARD STERN. On a recent conference call with analysts, SIRIUS CEO MEL KARMAZIN discussed the SIRIUS iPHONE app as more of a way to hold onto existing subscribers than attract new ones. "You should not consider [iPOD app users] to be a very significant number, related to our number of subscribers," he said. "But it is the right thing for us to do."
The SKYDOCK, however, could bring in more subscribers, said LEV POLINSKY, an analyst at J.P. MORGAN CHASE, who told THE JOURNAL he "believes this device could drive more subscriptions compared with the iPHONE app, because it is able to receive the XM satellite signal rather than relying on an Internet connection and is designed for in-car use. 'It plays to their strengths,' he said."