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SiriusXM Earnings Rise, Subscribers Hit 33.5 Million

SiriusXM Studios on June 12, 2015 in New York City.
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM

SiriusXM Studios on June 12, 2015 in New York City. 

SiriusXM on Wednesday reported that its second-quarter earnings rose as the satellite radio firm reached 33.5 million total subscribers.

The company, home of Howard Stern, saw quarterly earnings rise 45 percent to $292 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $202 million, in part thanks to one-time gains from its Pandora investment and tax savings. Earnings per share came in at 6 cents, in line with Wall Street analysts' predictions.

Overall revenue was up 6 percent to $1.43 billion on higher subscriber, advertising and equipment revenues.  SiriusXM added 483,000 self-pay subscribers during the latest quarter, up 4 percent from 466,000 self-pay customers added during the year-ago period. 

"SiriusXM's strong start to 2018 accelerated in the second quarter," said CEO Jim Meyer. "We added 483,000 net new self-pay subscribers in the quarter with an impressive 1.6 percent self-pay churn rate, our best-ever performance." He added: "We never rest in finding, acquiring and developing the best music, talk, entertainment, sports and comedy programming in all of audio."

The satellite radio giant last week unveiled a deal with Netflix that will see the streaming giant create and launch a comedy-focused satellite radio channel, a move that sees Netflix extending its programming foothold beyond its online video roots.

"Comedy is important to us as a differentiator, and we know listeners love it as part of their bundle of diverse programming," Meyer told analysts during a morning call when touting the Netflix partnership. The SiriusXM channel, dubbed Netflix Is a Joke Radio, is expected to launch in January 2019.

With SiriusXM installing its audio systems into most new cars, Meyer on the call also discussed the threat of U.S. tariffs on imported vehicles and auto parts, and what that could mean for the satellite radio giant. He told analysts car makers have called for "modifications" to the trade policy, but there were no signposts on what may follow.

"There's a lot of noise on the trade front, and no one knows how that will work out, and where that will go," Meyer said. On the mergers and acquisitions front, the SiriusXM boss said interest in iHeart Radio "had ceased," and he poured water on market rumors that a merger between live entertainment giant Live Nation and Liberty/SiriusXM was in the works.

"I don't even know where that speculation is coming. It's not coming from SiriusXM," Meyer said.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.