5. Another Dog of a Press Release
Now, let's say you saw a press release entitled "Sirius Satellite Radio Announces Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2003 Financial and Operating Results" -- the title of a press release that Sirius indeed released this week.
Wouldn't you expect to read something in there about the company's financial results?
Well, so would we. But you have to dig pretty deep into the press release to find it. You have to read past the part about subscriber numbers. You have to read past the part about the retail aftermarket channel. You have to make it past the "four feature-laden transportable Plug-&-Play receivers," the boating and trucking partnerships, the agreement with Penske Automotive Group, the National Football League deal, the backwards-compatible traffic solution, the Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound and the small translator module. In fact, you've got to read past 17 paragraphs until you get to the real story: That the company, which has a market capitalization approaching $3 billion, reported $5 million in revenue last quarter. $5 million! In revenue! The net loss, of course, was much more impressive: $148 million. That's what we at the lab refer to, sports metaphorwise, as an air ball.