This Week in Sirius XM Radio

This Week in Sirius XM Radio

Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider, even if shares of Sirius XM Radio went nowhere this week, closing unchanged at $3.70. The media darling's lazy ways make it seem like a slacker against the Nasdaq's 1.5% advance on the week.

Sirius XM also announced a new plan called Service Lane to activate dormant receivers. It renewed its deal with Major League Baseball. General Motors announced that it will offer wireless charging mats in some of its cars next year. And Pandora also slipped after posting disappointing quarterly results and putting an end to its listening cap for free mobile users.

Let's take a closer look.

Life in the fast lane
More than half of the 50 million satellite-radio receivers out there are dormant, and Sirius XM wants to do something about it. The company this week announced Service Lane, a program in which participating dealers give drivers servicing their cars with dormant radios two-month trial subscriptions to the premium radio service. It's similar to the program in place for buyers of used cars to get free trials, with the one big difference being that folks getting work done on their cars have probably already tried the service or decided against it.

Still, this is worth a shot. Every inactive receiver out there is an opportunity for incremental business.

Play ball
Sirius XM announced on Monday that it had extended its deal with Major League Baseball on XM through 2021. This one wasn't a surprise. What was baseball going to do?

Terms weren't disclosed, but one has to wonder whether Sirius XM got better terms because Sirius didn't have to be pitted against XM to drive up a rival offer. Then again, given the substantially larger audience being served these days, it's also possible that the contracted sum moved higher.

What we do know is that the stock closed lower the day the deal was announced, and even a bullish Lazard Capital analyst note praising the new baseball deal couldn't get the stock to first base.

All charged up
GM confirmed an announcement by Powermat earlier in the week that it will be the first automaker to begin adding Powermat's wireless charging systems to many of its cars next year.

This is probably a bigger issue for Sirius XM shareholders than one may think, since bleeding smartphone batteries to stream Pandora, Spotify, or even iTunes in the car is often a selling point for satellite radio. Now drivers can just lay their phones over a mat and they'll charge without the need to fumble around for USB cables.

Panned aura
The leading Internet radio provider stumbled after posting quarterly results this week. An important nugget for Sirius XM investors is that Pandora will be eliminating the 40-hour monthly cap it was placing on its free mobile users. That's a bit of a surprise, since it signals that Pandora is back to pandering to the users it was supposedly trying to transform into premium subscribers.

Pandora's usage per listener and share of the radio listening market were starting to slip since the cap was introduced in February, but it's still a surprising move, when Pandora is trying to position itself as a platform worth paying for -- like Sirius XM, Spotify, and others.

A Sirius future
It was an interesting week for Sirius XM. The new week isn't likely to be dull.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors and Pandora Media. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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