Amazon Forces Sirius to Get Serious

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There's never a dull moment in SIRI-Land. With rumors swirling that Amazon (AMZN) plans to enter the realm of music streaming, I've begun to field questions about its potential impact to satellite radio giant Sirius XM (SIRI).

After spending most of 2013 at or near 52-week highs, shares of Sirius have been muted for most of this year. In fact, since reaching of high of $4.18, the stock has been down by as much as 20%. But that's a far cry from the depths this company has reached.

After a near-death experience in 2008 sent the company to the brink of bankruptcy, Sirius has been a model of execution. It wasn't long ago that Pandora (P) was said to be the death-knell of Sirius. Then it was Spotify.

Last year, even amid music streaming entries by Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), Sirius stock soared more than 30%. Now today, because of Amazon rumors, bears are lining up with shovels in hand ready for yet another Sirius burial.

But here's the thing: aside from Netflix (NFLX), I don't believe there's another subscription model that can match Sirius' subscriber growth over the past couple of years. This has occurred even amid all these past threats.

Admittedly, Amazon isn't just another company.

Without knowing details about how Amazon plans to monetize this service -- assuming it does happen -- it's premature to quantify any near-term or long-term threats to Sirius. Besides, even with Amazon's dominance, Amazon's Prime service has posed no threat to Netflix. And likewise, Redbox kiosks are still alive and kicking.

The point being, there's nothing new to this story. Some services have tried to overcharge and others have taken the undercut route. Despite all of that, Sirius has taken everyone's best punch and has grown. Now, if Amazon can bundle its music with movies and its shipping plans, I can see some concerns for Sirius.

Sirius has some extremely loyal subscribers. They have proven devoted to their satellite radio. But consumers have not been as committed lately when it comes to saving money. It will be a matter of how much Sirius can differentiate itself from Amazon in terms on content.

Along those lines, the constant mantra has been that content is king. But just like on a chessboard, kings can be captured. At this point, it's hard to be against any tactic used by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

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