Editor's note: This is a bonus story from James Cramer, whose commentary usually appears only on
. We're offering it today to
readers. To read Jim's commentary every day, please click here for information about a free trial to
You do have to suspend a lot of judgment when you are looking for big wins. You need to overlook losses and focus on other metrics like subscriber rates or churn. You have to be willing to look through red ink. That's why I am
laughing at the rally in
It is true that when you build a business, you have to be willing to lose a lot of money. We know that
didn't make a lot of money to start. We know that AOL lost fortunes before it turned positive, if it ever did, and in the meantime, you made a lot of money. We recognize that we can find ways to measure growth that can lead us to model profitability. We can overlook the market's lapses in valuation, like the one that took Sirius to $12 billion in market cap when it was losing money faster than most people can count it.
I even embrace speculation. In my new book,
Jim Cramer's Real Money
, I suggest -- unlike every other adviser in the world -- that speculation is not only
evil, but it can be a good thing because it keeps you in the game.
No, the issue I have is how much a subscriber is worth in the end. Sirius is guiding up to almost 3 million in subscribers. Dyn-o-mite. At this valuation, you are paying almost the same amount per subscriber that you are paying for owning
. I just don't think that a customer who pays $12 a month is worth the same as someone who pays $40 a month, especially when the cable subscriber gets Internet and phone service thrown in.
It's the relative value of a subscriber that worries me here.
Maybe it's because I listened to both calls at the same time, but I keep thinking that Sirius has to compete with
, and will have to compete with HD radio. Comcast is a virtual monopoly, given that the dish can't do Internet and the phone companies can't sink fiber fast enough. How much can Sirius run through its box to make subscription fees go up? How elastic is it?
Yes, if you view Sirius in the vacuum of Sirius vs. XM, I can see why you might want to make the bet. Mel Karmazin's the best. The team is solid. The churn is low. The take-up is huge. You want to buy things early.
But in the end, there's a finite nature to satellite radio. Understand that I accept that Sirius could have 3 million subs. Or 4 million. Or 5 million.
I just don't want to pay as much as I am now for those numbers when I can buy Comcast for about the same price.
At the time of publication, Cramer was long Yahoo! and Comcast.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for
Action Alerts PLUS. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click
here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click
here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click
here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click
here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict."