SiriusXM, Pandora Add Self-Pay Subscribers, Advertising Falls Amid Pandemic

SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Courtesy of SiriusXM


Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM, the home of Howard Stern, on Thursday said it added self-pay subscribers in its satellite radio and Pandora businesses for the second quarter, the first one that was fully affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, controlled by John Malone's Liberty Media, said its satellite radio subscribers fell when including promotional subs, just like had been the case in the first quarter. In the year-ago period, it had added a total of 174,000 net users.

In the latest period, SiriusXM added 264,000 self-pay customers, but lost 768,000 promotional subs to end June with 30.3 million self-pay and 34.3 million total users, down 516,000. "Paid promotional subscribers decreased due to declines in shipments from automakers offering paid trial subscriptions with the purchase or lease of a vehicle," the company said.

For the full year 2020, the company on Thursday forecast it would add about 500,000 net SiriusXM self-pay subscribers.

Meanwhile, music streaming service Pandora added 40,000 net self-pay subscribers in the second quarter, compared with 64,000 in the year-ago period, to end June with more than 6.3 million total such users. Monthly active users at Pandora came in at 59.6 million in the second quarter, down from 64.9 million in the prior-year period.

Advertising revenue at Pandora fell 31 percent to $211 million in the latest quarter. "Numerous categories of advertisers canceled or paused orders during the second quarter in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic," said SiriusXM. At the same time, revenue declines were most marked earlier in the quarter, and eased into May and June.

SiriusXM on Thursday reported total second-quarter revenue of $1.9 billion, down 5 percent from the same period in 2019. Earnings of $243 million fell 7.6 percent from $263 million.

CEO Jim Meyer told analysts during a morning call that SiriusXM's business model had been resilient during the pandemic, with improving results and visibility into the remainder of the year. "We are poised for a strong finish to the year, despite the uncertain economic outlook and rising COVID-19 cases in parts of the country," he said.

Restoring SiriusXM's full-year 2020 guidance, Meyer predicted the company would add around 500,000 self-pay net subscribers and reach total revenue of $7.7 billion.

CFO David Frear told analysts that SiriusXM remained intent on acquiring and investing in complementary businesses, after putting $428 million of capital into acquiring Simplecast and Stitcher and for a minority investment in Soundcloud.

Meyer touted the latest acquisitions for advancing SiriusXM's position in podcasting, as it added to its leadership in audio entertainment. "Simplecast, a leading platform for podcast creators, strengthens our capabilities in content management and analytics, as well as provides leading ad technology tools for publishers and advertisers," he told analysts.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.


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