January 23, 2013
As Internet access is becoming almost a necessity for everyone, newcomer internet radio company, Pandora Media, Inc. (NYSE: P) [
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, emerges as a serious competitor for satellite radio company, Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) [
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Sirius XM, the largest radio broadcaster in the world based on revenue, has its biggest selling point in the auto industry, as many car makers are producing vehicles with factory-installed Sirius XM receivers. But with the booming online invasion, most vehicles today are also installed with Internet connection, allowing Pandora, which is relatively new to the industry, to catch up.
As one of the major Internet radio providers, Pandora is tapping into the automobile radio market, now available on more than 1,000 integrations, including vehicles and handheld devices. Establishing itself in the automotive market, Pandora challenges Sirius XM's biggest selling point.
70 percent of new vehicles have Sirius XM receivers, the company relies on this 70 percent to earn a major part of its revenue, and only a fraction from advertising, as Sirius XM is known to offer commercial-free music. Pandora, on the other hand, relies on advertising for revenues, as well as on its growing subscriber base.
Watch out for the Fairness Bill
Based on revenue, Sirius XM leads with more than
in annual revenue, while Pandora only has 1 million paid subscribers, expecting to generate
in revenue in 2013. But when it comes to audience size, Pandora has 60 million subscribers, while Sirius XM only has 24 million subscribers. The yet to be approved Internet Radio Fairness Act can help Pandora increase its profits. 16 percent of its revenues go to paying royalties, while Sirius XM only pays 8 percent. If royalty rates are lowered, thanks to the Internet Radio Fairness Act, Sirius XM will be facing greater challenges from Pandora.
As an emerging company with already 60 million subscribers, Pandora has a bright future. The migration of music audiences to mobile devices and online vehicle radios threaten to overturn the market that Sirius dominates today. As the online invasion becomes inevitable, more innovations will be introduced, specifically innovations that involve the convenience of Internet use.