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October 27, 2005

XM Satellite Radio Doubles Subscribers, Ups Losses

Courtesy of TechWeb News

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. on Thursday said it doubled the number of subscribers in the third quarter, as losses widened.

The Washington, D.C., digital-radio service provider said losses in the quarter ended Sept. 30 increased to $131.9 million, or 60 cents a share, from $118 million, or 59 cents a share, the same period last year. Revenues, however, increased 134 percent to $153 million from $65.4 million a year ago.

Revenues were boosted by a doubling of subscribers in the quarter to 5.04 million from 2.52 million last year. The company reported a 48 percent increase in net subscribers. As a result of the strong performance, XM reaffirmed its guidance of exceeding 6 million subscribers by the end of the year.

To drive subscriber growth XM, and its rival Sirius Satellite Radio, have spent heavily on programming. This year was XM's inaugural season of exclusive Major League Baseball coverage. Under a 10-year agreement, the company becomes the exclusive satellite radio network for the National Hockey League, beginning with the 2007-2008 season.

In addition, both companies have pushed hard to have automakers factory-install radios supporting their services. General Motors plans to make 1.55 million vehicles with XM radios next year, and Honda has announced plans to manufacture 550,000 vehicles next year with the radios, XM said Thursday. Toyota and Hyundai are expected to factory-install XM radios in the 2007 model year.

Along with partnerships with automakers, Sirius hopes to continue driving growth with new programming that includes Martha Stewart Living Radio later this year and shock jock Howard Stern in January. Nascar coverage is scheduled to start in 2007.

The New York company said this month that the number of subscribers increased to more than 2.17 million in the third quarter. It expects to end the year with 3 million subscribers.

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