Mel Karmazin Discusses His, SiriusXM's Future At Reuters Media Summit
November 30, 2011 at 3:53 AM (PT)
If LIBERTY MEDIA increases its stake in SIRIUSXM RADIO -- which has been rumored for some time now -- current SIRIUSXM CEO MEL KARMAZIN says he'd like to make sure his role is defined by LIBERTY. KARMAZIN was speaking in NEW YORK at the REUTERS GLOBAL MEDIA SUMMIT. admits that he doesn't like playing second fiddle, which could pose a problem in 2012 if LIBERTY MEDIA increases its stake in the satellite radio operator.
LIBERTY currently holds a 40% stake in the satcaster, after lending the company $530 million two years ago, in order for SIRIUS to avoid bankruptcy. LIBERTY Chairman JOHN MALONE and CEO GREG MAFFEI have the option to increase LIBERTY's share above 49.9% after MARCH 2012, and it's expected they will do just that.
At the summit, KARMAZIN, commenting on LIBERTY's increased stake, said "They could call me and say 'MEL, I love the company so much, I want to buy the whole company. They haven't called and I don't suspect they will."
Perhaps that because KARMAZIN isn't comfortable being a #2. Referring to his time at VIACOM, working for Chairman SUMNER REDSTONE, "I'm not really good at working for somebody, I just could not be a #2," KARMAZIN said. "I don't blame SUMNER at all. I'm just not good at that."
Karmazin Comments On Competition
REUTERS reports, "KARMAZIN believes that SIRIUS' subscription-based business model is stronger from both a consumer and investor perspective than that of its competitors, which range from terrestrial radio players like CBS and CLEAR CHANNEL to online radio companies such as PANDORA MEDIA and SPOTIFY. SIRIUS' advantage is that it's not dependent on advertising revenue like its rivals, he said."
"The advertising business today is not as good of a business as it used to be. The main reason is the Internet has made so much content available and so much supply available it's difficult to have pricing power," said KARMAZIN.
"KARMAZIN believes consumers will pay up for SIRIUS rather than flee for its free competitors because of it has better content offerings," adds REUTERS, "including HOWARD STERN."
"HOWARD brought an awful lot of credibility to the medium," said KARMAZIN. "I don't know of another radio talent in the history of radio that has been as extraordinary performer."