Under current projections, analysts say it shouldn’t be hard for Stern to pay for himself.
“I think it will turn out to be a very astute investment by Sirius,” said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. “The value of what (Sirius has) already gotten from him in promotional appearances alone is worth tens of millions of dollars in free advertising.”
In a recent research note, Friedman Billings Ramsey stock analyst Maurice McKenzie said he expected Stern to draw about 1.5 million new subscribers for Sirius, weighted heavily toward the last quarter of this year, and the first quarter of next, when the buzz around the shock jock’s defection is peaking.
I think Sirius is a solid investment today (it’s down two percent on the day at this writing) and up to $7.75 a share, as this will be a huge quarter because of Christmas and Howard Stern’s defection to satellite. Stern’s got some kind of talent that I don’t particularly get much of the time, but my wife loves it (and, so, two more years of Sirius is her Christmas present this year). The question I have is, will the titillation of listening to Stern, the wondering what he’ll get away with saying next, be diminished by the fact satellite radio is unregulated?
I’d say the best thing that will happen to Sirius and XM next year would be an FCC campaign to “clean up” satellite radio—it would fail, I believe and hope for the sake of free speech—because the thrill of listening to uncensored Stern would be reinforced, again. In addition to all the free Stern appearances, Sirius has clearly benefited from all the FCC attention paid to Stern.
The other problem I have with satellite is that it still exists on the broadcasters’ schedule and not mine. Podcasting, iTunes music and Audible audiobooks and subscriptions provide far more flexibility in my listening than 130 channels of music, news, sports and Stern.