XM Satellite Radio
Chairman Gary Parsons told investors Wednesday that business is looking up.
"The negative news events" earlier this year were "problematic for a couple of quarters," the exec said. "But we see that clearing up going forward," Parsons said during a presentation at Goldman Sachs' Communacopia conference in New York Wednesday.
The Washington, D.C., pay-radio executive says troubles with its radios' FM transponders are being fixed. Earlier this year, XM had to stop production of several radios that did not comply with Federal Communications Commission rules.
XM's radio emission woes, along with the presence of Howard Stern at rival
, have helped cut into the company's market share, especially in stores. Parsons said he expected a stronger market share performance in the coming months with the help of more advertising and new radios.
"The FCC is behind us," Parsons said. "We will be in good shape for the holiday buying season."
Investors have taken a beating on satellite radio stocks this year as concerns about cash burn have started to overshadow the industry's rapid subscriber growth. XM has twice cut its year-end subscriber target.
Both Sirius and XM have nearly half their fortunes tied to the auto industry, where satellite radios are starting to appear as factory-installed options or standard equipment.
XM's biggest auto partner,
, has been a cause of worry for Wall Street, as the nation's No. 1 carmaker has seen its business erode. But Parsons says though GM is losing share, increased auto sales by partners like
have been helping to offset the decline.
Parsons shared one cautionary bit of information during the conference's question and answer period.
He said conversion rates for people opting to pay for the subscription service after a free trial period has "bumped down to the 52% level." That compares with about a 54% conversion rate in the prior quarters, and is well below the nearly 60% win rate the company was seeing earlier in its history.
Aside from the monthly subscription price increase 18 months ago, Parsons didn't offer any real explanation for the lower conversions.
XM shares rose 14 cents to $13.45 and Sirius was up 13 cents to $3.99 in premarket trading Wednesday.