Sirius should buy XM and the Govt. should let them

I still am baffled that Sirius stock is now less than $4 per share, but I’m cool with it since I’m in it for the long haul and at $4 a share I can buy a lot of stock for a little money.. in the future I know that it will pay off..

Even though XM has been taking a serious tumble and is just in a downward spiral from all perspectives, they still have some advantages over Sirius in terms of programming (I have both so I know) on their music channels and on some of their talk channels as well.

But Sirius is ultimately going to win the battle and if XM goes bankrupt or is bought by anyone other than Sirius, then everyone will suffer in the long term. Here is what I mean…

XM and Sirius are (at the heart) two streams of entertainment programming. Sure they have a number of channels, but they are kind of like having the HBO family of channels and comparing it to the Showtime family of channels. There is no theoretical reason why we can’t have them both available on the same receivers. I’ve talked before about how fighting for these receivers is killing the business on the whole. In a perfect world, all receivers in all cars would be able to get terrestrial radio and all channels from all satellite providers.

If XM gets bought by CBS (as postulated in a great piece here), the chances of that happening remain the same as they are now.. low. If XM is absorbed by Sirius then the chances will be very high that competition in the future will occur.

What the govt. should do in this case is encourage Sirius to buy XM with the one caveat that they should open source their transmission technology to the market and allow other providers to play content on their radios. Remember, the ultimate goal here is for there to be one receiver in the cars that is capable of receiving content from multiple providers. Kind of like Cable TV has multiple channels.. essentially everyone is free to compete by starting their own channel.

The more we have these receiver battles, the less we move forward to acceptance of satellite radio. In my world, competition is a good thing from the perspective of the market and the consumer, but if the companies refuse to compete on an equal playing field (like XM and Sirius are doing) then everyone looses. By Sirius buying XM in this way, we get a situation where the field is finally flattened out and made fair.

In the short term this will work really well because the new Sirius will now have 12M subscribers. Car companies will then install the receivers by default and then the choice of weather we want satellite or not will then lie in the hands of the consumer. This could never happen if we have competing standards and that would be the case if this XM/Sirius battle continues along its present trajectory.

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