Sirius, XM Hit New Subscriber Records

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Sirius Satellite Radio said it has achieved its goal of signing up 1 million subscribers by the end of 2004, while rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings announced that its customer numbers recently topped 3.1 million.

New York-based Sirius and Washington, DC-based XM are the two main players in the emerging U.S. satellite radio business.

Holiday Sales

Sirius says in a statement that strong holiday sales helped to increase its subscription figures.

Other factors include aggressive marketing, advertising and an increase in consumer awareness, the company says.

Sirius recently signed shock jock Howard Stern under a five-year contract and hired Viacom veteran Mel Karmazin as its chief executive.

XM Ahead

Like Sirius, XM attributed its growth in subscriber numbers to strong holiday sales.

"Holiday shoppers bought XM radios in record numbers," Hugh Panero, president and CEO of XM Satellite Radio, says in a statement, adding that XM achieved its sales target for the end of the year.

XM did not specify when it hit the 3.1 million subscriber level. "We reached this figure during the last weekend," XM spokesperson Chance Patterson told NewsFactor. "Sirius is our main competitor, but we started 2004 with a 1 million lead on Sirius and now we have a 2 million customer lead on it."

Toyota Deal

During 2004, XM signed an agreement to factory-install its satellite radio receivers in Toyota vehicles in the U.S. The company also has factory-installation agreements with General Motors and Honda.

"We expect to see the Toyota factory program start in 2006," Patterson said. Toyota already offers XM as a dealership option.