SiriusXM subscriber growth begins to slow down

SiriusXM and streaming service Pandora both reported drops in subscribers and listeners.
(Logo: SiriusXM/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

SiriusXM Pandora says its annual revenue rose by 6 percent despite a slowdown in the number of new customers being added to its traditional radio service.

Last week, the company said it earned more than $1.71 billion in subscriber revenue, an increase from $1.61 billion reported around the same time in 2021.

Advertising revenue on SiriusXM talk radio channels and its ad-supported Pandora and Stitcher services earned $383 million, up from $354 million the prior year.

Total revenue was $2.19 billion, an increase of about $100 million in year-over-year revenue.

In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SiriusXM Pandora said its flagship radio and streaming service had 34 million subscribers. The figure includes around 2 million subscribers who are receiving a paid promotional discount, which SiriusXM offers to new customers, as well as a retention benefit to some existing customers.

Pandora saw a steeper drop in listeners: The company logged just over 50 million monthly active users by the end of March, a year-over-year dip of 5 million users. Of those listeners, around 6 million pay for premium Pandora packages that offer certain perks like advertisement-free streams and on-demand music.

SiriusXM Pandora said its business faced several challenges, including supply chain disruptions and the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic. Further challenges might be experienced if it loses a satellite, if demand for new or used cars slows or if price-conscious consumers decide to switch to another service, the company said in SEC filings.

The dip could explain why SiriusXM Pandora has been investing heavily in other forms of media: Over the last few years, the company has spent billions acquiring or investing in on-demand audio services, including music-friendly SoundCloud and the podcast platform Stitcher.

The company’s advertising product, SXM Media, “currently represents three of the top 15 podcasts in the country,” the company said, basing its information on data provided by Edison Research.

We are making substantial investments to grow our advertising platform through new podcast agreements and to grow SiriusXM digital with enhanced brand and performance marketing,” Jennifer Witz, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.

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