Some in Washington are not happy with XM-Sirius merger, with the FCC all but certain to approve the deal (Republican majority… hello?) Some politicians are angry with the Department of Justice’s decision, while others think it is good deal.
Here is a Think Tank I wrote last year regarding the approval of the deal, and my support of it at the time. However, yours truly admits the Think tank was more of an anti-NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) piece than anything else. While some satellite radio fans support the merger, are they willing to possibly pay higher prices for their product and support advertising, particularly in an economy that’s continuing to sink? The deal was approved with no conditions, which could mean the new company may not lower prices or offer a la carte service like they proposed to do if this merger happened.
Many listeners have also complained about Sirius’ lackluster programming (outside of Howard Stern) and excessive DJ talk and XM’s music channels, not to mention XM’s Internet streams, which are not known for its quality.
Is the FCC willing this approve the deal for the sake of approving mergers? The FCC under the Bush administration has been known as anti-consumer and pro-corporate.
And if XM and Sirius are allowed to merge, who else? CBS and Clear Channel? Entercom and Cumulus? Direct TV and Dish Network? Comcast and RCN? In the media business, the days of a rivalry have long passed, especially when the bottom line is involved. The NAB and other groups will likely demand what remains of any government rules regarding media properties be thrown out. And if McClain gets into the White House, it is almost a certainty.
So, is the merger a good idea? We’ll have to wait and see. If the new service becomes anything like terrestrial radio, then you know what the answer is. And if Mel Karmazin (one of those who helped destroy terrestrial radio) ends up running this combined company, then the answer will come sooner than we think.
And the Think Tank I wrote? Well, there’s that “delete” button…