Sirius XM Radio Earnings Call INSIGHTS: Web Content Strategy, CRB Process

On Tuesday, Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Web Content Strategy

Jason Bazinet – Citi: I just have a strategic question for Mr. Karmazin. The FCC is out there talking about spectrum shortages for the wireless players and there was a move by Verizon to acquire Hughes Telematics a few months ago. I was just wondering if you could elaborate a bit on how the world might evolve in terms of telcos getting maybe more interested in services in the car, and is that an opportunity for you to partner? Do you view it as threat at all?

A Closer Look: Sirius Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Mel Karmazin – CEO: So, obviously, all of our competitors and there are a lots of competitors out there in a lot of different places, are interested in getting web content to consumers wherever the consumers want it and that includes the cars. So, obviously, with Internet penetrated the home with mobile phones that the next logical place for people to start thinking about is how do they get their content into the car, and the people who are certainly positioned to be able to do that are the telcos. You should assume that we have had a great deal over good period of time on comments and conversations with the various people who are potential partners for us. We have also said to you the actions we’re delivering (NASDAQ:BITS) into the car that, we also have data that we deliver into the car and the idea of expanding in the Telematics area is an efficient way for us to consider doing things as well. Having said all of that, we really like our core business you know – I know you’re talking strategy, so I want to make sure that it’s clear that we have no urgent need to acquire anything. We were obviously, aware that Hughes Telematics was potentially available and we did not express an interest in acquiring it. Normally wouldn’t talk about that before a transaction, but since the transaction is already made that is something that we did not feel that we needed to acquire. So we have an interest in particularly anything involving the vehicle and reaching consumers in the vehicle. We know that it’s going to take many, many years for these wired cars to rollout with any sort of mass amount. I have mentioned to you that we’re in, not going to be in, but we are in two-thirds of all of the vehicles manufactured today. There is a relatively small number of vehicles that are being manufactured today, that are enabling consumers to have a good user experience with IP. You can, obviously, bring your smartphone into the car and make phone calls, but the user experience for other content is not there. It will be a factor, a greater factor in the years to come. We think we’re really well-positioned to either provide that kind of content or to be able to partner with others and do it together.

CRB Process

Benjamin Swinburne – Morgan Stanley: Now, one of the things you listed that you did not list in your concerns was you talked about fiscal cliffs, and a situation in Washington was just the somewhat Washington related rights. The situation was (down exchanged). Just wondering if you could update us there at least on timing and maybe why you’re not worried about it, I think, investors are focused on. David, if you gave this in your prepared remarks, I apologize, but it sounds like you’ve got a good sense of how much the used car market is driving subscriber growth, either on the gross level or net level. If that’s true, I don’t know if you are willing to share some more statistics, either sort of year-to-date in the quarter, how much that’s starting to factor in. I know it has been tougher in the past to isolate those subs, but it sounds like you got more visibility there.

Mel Karmazin – CEO: So let me just give you an opening statement on the first part of your comment. I worry about everything. Let’s just make it clear about that, but what I was looking at is that there was really nothing out there that was going to dramatically change our business model based on anything we know but those macroeconomic. Sure, every single contract that comes up, we are making sure that we’re doing what’s in our shareholders’ best interest. So far as dealing with it, I know on the Copyright Royalty Board that too is a contract that we are – or an agreement that we are concerned about. But let me let David update you on where we are.

David J. Frear – EVP and CFO: So the CRB process, it’s effectively just like a trial, where we went through a direct phase in June. The rebuttal phase of the trial continues in actually next week. Then I believe, it’s early October that counsel will provide what amounts to closing arguments to the panel of judges who will render a decision in December. We don’t really have any great insight into what the outcome of that will be other than just what the timing is. So we like our case, we like our case better than their case and so we will work through litigation and see where it comes out. On the used cars,, nothing has really changed on it, Ben, that you know we do track it that I still don’t think that it’s really kind of fit for separate reporting. I think part of what we have in terms of second owner volumes come from what we call hand-raisers. People who pick up a phone and call us, and it’s not always clear when a hand-raiser is calling us whether or not that’s actually a new owner of the car or whether or not the name is just configured differently on the account. So it is a robustly growing segment of the business. It is, as Mel said, the increases, significant increases in new car (incorporation. We’ve really gone) underway about five, six years ago and since average first car ownership is about six years long, we’re beginning to see those turnover now. So the best way to sort of get a sense of what the used car opportunity is going forward is to look back at what we have publicly reported as gross additions from the past since we’ve talked about new car penetration rates and your know what the SAAR was. You get a pretty good estimate of what our installs were historically and then you can kind of use that as a guideline for what the turnover is going to look like in the next few years.

Mel Karmazin – CEO: We’re clearly expanding internally our resources in the second owner market. Obviously, the size of that market though we haven’t tapped away to get to all of it, is larger than what the SAAR number is, right, as far as new cars are concerned. So this is something that’s real. This is something that we are generating subscribers, contributing toward out extraordinary growth in the second quarter was the second owner and is something that’s going to continue for many years to come.